Pat Traynor lives and breathes the mission of the Impact Foundation. He is the Executive Director of this Fargo-based foundation that works to see people collaborate to improve the quality of life by sharing their time, talents and money. The Impact Foundation is strategically focused on serving non-profits and small businesses with training and coaching so that they can reach their full potential and have the greatest impact.
In 2000, Pat became the President of the Dakota Medical Foundation, which partnered with the Alex Stern Family Foundation to launch a new foundation in 2005 that could have a wider geographical range and increase the quality of life for a greater number of people.
Pat explains that the start of Impact Foundation would not have been possible without the “collaborative spirit among these two foundations and the entrepreneurial boards that oversaw them.” As Traynor served on the Dakota Medical Foundation’s board, he was given the task to spearhead the naming of this new foundation as the new Executive Director.
The name “Impact” was ultimately selected by its new board in 2004 reflecting the mission it wanted to accomplish. In choosing this name, Pat was drawn to a belief he often shares, “Everyday we have a choice to be as impactful as possible…and we can choose to make a lasting impact together.”
Since 2005, the Impact Foundation has assisted non-profits and small businesses through the Impact Institute, grant writing assistance, Giving Hearts Day, and the PTAC program (a program connecting small businesses to government contracts). Over the last ten years, Traynor and his team worked with non-profits to understand the difference between the “scarcity model and the abundance model of fundraising.” To provide tangible evidence to the abundance model, the Impact Foundation published a research project in 2007 on the transfer of wealth that will take place in the current living generation. Traynor explained that this research reveals “over 95 billion dollars will be given in donations by individuals that live in North Dakota during this generation.” Giving Hearts Day, a 24-hour online give-a-thon, is an example of this abundance model in action. Since 2008, this event has raised more than $30 million. In 2015 alone, Giving Hearts Day saw $8.3 million dollars given through more than 37,000 donations.
In 2014, Pat received the L.B. Hartz Professional Achievement Award from the College of Business and Innovation at Minnesota State University Moorhead for his efforts in economic innovation, entrepreneurship and community service. The Impact Foundation was also recognized for efforts assisting non-profits and small businesses in the region by the Bush Foundation. Impact earned a Bush Innovation Prize in 2015 for elevating charity results and building a collaborative network of nonprofits. Although Pat considers himself a “voracious reader and active learner,” he credits the progress of Impact Foundation to “the active collaboration with Dakota Medical and Alex Stern foundations, the extraordinarily passionate and talented board and team members, nonprofit partners and generous donors.”
Learn more about Pat Traynor and the Impact Foundation as he speaks at 1 Million Cups Fargo on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017at 9:15 a.m. at NDSU’s Richard Barry Hall.