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Donor Profile: Patrick Phillips

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Patrick Phillips, formerly the Global CEO of the Urban Land Institute, has been a longtime supporter of the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF). Though his career curved more toward economic and policy concerns, Patrick has continually worked with and admired landscape architects. Patrick has served on LAF’s Board of Directors twice, first in 1998 and again from 2009-2013. Through his engagements, Patrick watched LAF grow in capacity and impact and remains excited about the Foundation’s future. Recently, he made a significant contribution to that future by making a large donation to LAF’s scholarships and leadership programs.

As a graduate of the SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry Master of Landscape Architecture program, Patrick was drawn to the principles of inclusive design. He sees inclusive design as an extension of the values held by landscape architects who consider not only how environments function, but also to who is able to access spaces and resources. Patrick hopes to see more direct discussion of equity and inclusion in design. While the design professions may be seen as catering to the elite, Patrick aligns with LAF in advocating that landscape architecture is for everyone, and everyone should have the opportunity to explore the profession.

It was specifically LAF’s history and success with scholarships that led Patrick to choose the foundation for his major gift contribution. Patrick identifies education as the principal means by which people advance, grow, and contribute to society. He places special importance on scholarships as a means to expand access to education. It was through scholarships that Patrick was able to attend college. By providing additional funding to LAF’s scholarships program, Patrick hopes to expose new people to landscape architecture and make sure they have the resources to pursue careers in the profession. More so, Patrick wants to see a new generation of designers all actively pursuing inclusive design in their projects and hopes his gift will help to shepherd this goal from vision to reality.

Patrick also sees the potential of professionals already engaged in the field to push landscape architecture in exciting new directions. The work of the 2018-2019 cohort of the LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership inspired and excited Patrick. He recognizes that their ground-breaking ideas have the potential to impact the profession in profound ways and that the Fellowship provides resources participants may not otherwise have access to: time, money, and structured feedback. Reflecting on the leadership aspect of the program, Patrick was excited by the intellectual adventurism and willingness to take risks and push boundaries that he saw in the Fellows. Their energy and enthusiasm inspired hope that their projects will bring about new ways of understanding and enacting landscape architecture.

Through the Foundation’s many programs and initiatives, Patrick sees LAF as not only a resource for the profession but also as a thought leader within the profession. He points to LAF’s Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future in 2016 and the resulting New Landscape Declaration as an example of this, challenging landscape architects to design projects that address the defining issues of our time. Patrick was also motivated by publications from LAF’s Landscape Performance Series with their research and metrics about how design elements can contribute to resilience, well-being, and various other indicators. LAF is thankful for Patrick’s generosity, and the generosity of all of our donors, that enable us to maintain and expand our programs and leadership for landscape architecture.

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