Nonprofit Internship Program


Nonprofit Internship Program

The Purpose

Aspiring philanthropic leaders have the opportunity to catalyze innovations to strengthen people, organizations, and communities around the world. While the potential for these innovations is vast, harnessing it takes leaders who have the willingness, capacity, and foresight to drive long-term change — ones able to create a shared vision within their organization while engaging and collaborating across sectors to achieve shared aspirations. Investing in nonprofit leadership development by supporting undergraduate and graduate interns is an effective way to equip the next generation at the helm of our vital nonprofits and foundations with the experience, approach, and skills necessary to guide organizations toward positive outcomes.

At the same time, strengthening nonprofits by investing in human capital through student internships builds the capability to thrive. By connecting with student leaders imbued with deep knowledge of and experience with the philanthropic sector, nonprofits will become stronger and better able to tackle the challenges that they face today.

Strengthening the Impact

Through a collaboration with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, The Patterson Foundation's Nonprofit Internship Program connects students at the school with opportunities at nonprofits in the Suncoast region. A successful internship results in students gaining priceless experience and insight into nonprofit work, while a nonprofit gains valuable completed projects from students educated at the world’s first and only school of philanthropy. The Patterson Foundation aspires to strengthen students and regional nonprofits through the program to build a stronger philanthropic sector and society.


Click on frequently asked questions below to learn more about this program...

Why does The Patterson Foundation offer paid internships with local nonprofits to Lilly Family School of Philanthropy students? How does it strengthen student potential and nonprofit mission?

In partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, The Patterson Foundation can strengthen students pursuing a degree in philanthropic studies and Suncoast-area nonprofits as each builds capacity. Paid internships allow students to gain practical, useful experience, while regional nonprofits gain valuable insight and completed projects from students knowledgeable about and trained in the field of philanthropic studies.

Why is The Patterson Foundation collaborating with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy?

The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is the first school dedicated solely to the study and teaching of philanthropy. Since its inception, it has demonstrated a commitment to training and empowering students and practitioners to innovate and lead to create positive and lasting change in the world. This includes its growing master’s program offering students a mix of theory and practice.

Students from the school receive an education grounded in critical thinking about the role of philanthropy and nonprofits in society, making them uniquely qualified to participate in internships with nonprofits in the Suncoast area.

What does the Nonprofit Internship Program offer?

The Nonprofit Internship Program offers a stipend to students who match with a local nonprofit and complete an internship for that organization. The Patterson Foundation Fellows offer support and counsel to both the student completing the internship and the nonprofit hosting the student.

What experiences will the interns receive?

Interns will receive valuable experience related to fundraising, marketing and communications, programs, operations, and/or other areas of work in a nonprofit. They will have the opportunity to work with an organization located in an area of the country where most Lilly Family School of Philanthropy students do not live and have not worked before.

Where are these nonprofits located? Where will interns be based?

Nonprofits are located in the Suncoast region of Florida, including Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. Currently, all internships are virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the future, the program will be reassessed, and a determination will be made whether or not to move forward with the possibility of offering in-person internships.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Interns must be registered bachelor’s or master’s degree students at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Nonprofits must be past or current participants of The Patterson Foundation’s Nonprofit Thrivability initiative.

Will The Patterson Foundation’s Nonprofit Internship Program expand to other academic institutions?

There are no plans to expand the Nonprofit Internship Program to academic institutions beyond the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Who can I contact about the Nonprofit Internship Program?

For more information, contact initiative manager Dr. Joni Steinberg: or TPF Fellow Connor LaGrange:

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