"All experience is an arch to build upon." – Henry Adams
During my undergraduate and graduate days, I thoroughly enjoyed learning in the classroom. However, some of my favorite and deepest learning experiences came from my practical work as an intern. Internships helped build my skills and reminded me how much I enjoy working in places where I'm passionate about the work that I'm doing alongside teams of equally passionate colleagues.
So when Pamela Clark, Director of Student Services and Admissions at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (LFSOP), approached Dr. Joni Steinberg, initiative lead for Advancing Philanthropic Leadership, with another collaborative endeavor to link the school and The Patterson Foundation (TPF) by providing internships to students, I was all ears.
Through a myriad of conversations, we decided together that the best way to offer these internships was for TPF to support internship stipends for students who matched with a select nonprofit in TPF's 4-county region. Nonprofits chosen for this pilot project had already participated in TPF's Nonprofit Thrivability initiative.
After participating in an information session with Pamela, it was up to the nonprofits to decide if and when they would like to host an intern. Then, they could put together a description, we would review it and send it to Pamela, who would then pass it on to students. If a student wanted to apply, they would do so directly through the nonprofit. If a match was made, then the student would begin interning (virtually), with TPF and the school acting as resources if need be.
Conversations developed quickly into action, and before we knew it, we had our first match for this summer! Manatee County Habitat for Humanity and LFSOP Philanthropic Studies bachelor's degree student Myah Bales matched, and Myah began interning for MCHH. Her responsibilities include working on various fundraising and marketing-related activities, including developing a campaign for a targeted Manatee County Habitat Home Build with local faith-based organizations.
We're thrilled for Myah and Manatee County Habitat for Humanity and excited to learn how Myah's internship unfolds. We're also excited that two additional organizations have submitted descriptions for internship opportunities in the fall.
Internships provide extremely valuable professional growth experiences. The student learns a great deal and can put their academic learnings into action, while nonprofits gain valuable insights and tangible products from the intern's work. It can be difficult to find paid internships in the nonprofit sector because of the nature of nonprofits' tight budgets. Scarce resources result in barriers for students who simply can't afford to do unpaid work. Through the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy's insights, we discovered that TPF could contribute to aspiring philanthropic professionals and assist nonprofits in our region that are essential to the fabric of our societies and communities.
TPF will continue to improve and refine the processes as the Nonprofit Internship Program evolves. For now, it's safe to say that we're delighted to learn about Myah's and Manatee County Habitat for Humanity's experiences. We're hopeful more matches will be made in the future to grow capacity for world-changing students and all-important nonprofits.