20 Questions with Patrick Morgan of the Knight Foundation

Patrick Morgan is the Director of the Philadelphia chapter of the Knight Foundation. Prior to joining Knight, Patrick held leadership positions in Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s administration. He has helped to develop innovative public initiatives, as well as advance workforce development, digital literacy and community engagement. We get to know him in 20 questions!


1. What’s the first thing you read in the morning?

Philly.com, PlanPhilly, past few weeks (months) Real Clear Politics (RCP) latest polls.


2. What was your first job?

Server at two different places: a retirement home in the afternoon and a catering hall (mostly weddings) at night.


3. Who has influenced your career? 

Many experiences and people. A few shout-outs – Lee Ann DeGroat, Michael Nutter, Joan Reilly and Mike DiBerardinis, Erica Atwood, Prema Gupta, former/current public servants who are the “League of Extraordinary Bureaucrats”. A lot of philanthropy wisdom from Stacy Holland, Shawn McCaney as well as great Knight colleagues and partners.


4. If you weren’t a  _____ what would you be?

High school history/civics teacher.


5. 3 qualities that have helped you in your career?

Curiosity, kindness, determination.


6. Favorite perk of the job?

Being a part of causing good, causing impact, helping to create a more informed and engaged Philly through public spaces.


7. Worst part of the job?

We have to be really selective about what we invest in. A lot of times, that means not being able to support many good ideas from good people.


8. Change you’d like to see in your industry?

Unpacking the power dynamic and better coordination/collaboration among funders.


9. How do you unwind after a bad day?

Picking up our 3 kids at pre-K. They are young enough to be excited to see me. They melt any bad day away.


10. When do you feel the freest?

Spending time with my family and friends on a boat and being outside in nature would probably be the freest for me.


11. How much risk do you like taking?

About the same amount of risk as when Han tells C-3PO “never tell me the odds” in The Empire Strikes Back.


12. Who’d you invite to a fantasy dinner party? Anyone dead or alive.

Abigail Adams, Neil de Grasse Tyson, Ramon Estevez (Martin Sheen), Harriet Tubman, Jane Jacobs all at Reading Terminal Market.


13. When do you get nervous?

When I’m unprepared and in elevators. Being unprepared in an elevator would be a crisis.


14. What do you think about Love?

It is why we are here.


15. What are you most grateful for, right now, in this moment?

A loving wife/partner and family.


16. I am proud to have _____

An opportunity to live and work in this city.


17. What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Don’t rush. Listen more, read more, tell your family, friends thank you and you love them. Get another tape of “Illadelph Halflife” b/c you will lose it driving to Mexico City two years later.


18. What would you like to leave behind once you’re gone?

Spaces that bring people together, spur involvement, and make us proud.


19. What’s something that makes you hopeful?

The countless people working every day to make this city better.


20. What was a defining moment in your career?

In 2005, the week of City Council holiday recess when then Councilman Michael Nutter took a meeting with me.