3 Months, 3 Lessons Learned: My Time at NCFP
I have just completed a semester in Washington, D.C. as a full time intern at the National Center for Family Philanthropy. Currently I am a junior at Indiana University studying nonprofit management with a minor in fundraising and resource development. My philanthropic journey began when I was a sophomore in high school on a youth grantmaking committee within my local Community Foundation, The Bedford Community Foundation. Since then, I worked for the Community Foundation in Bloomington & Monroe County and the Indiana University Foundation. Although short, my time at NCFP has been full of rich experiences that I will carry back to Bloomington. I want to highlight three things I learned at NCFP and why it is such a magical place.
1. I thought when I moved to a big city I wouldn’t find a family. I was so wrong!
Although I didn’t have relatives here, I found a welcoming community in the NCFP staff. By having a background in philanthropy I was able to hold conversations about the ever-changing nonprofit sector, while bonding with colleagues over discussing holiday traditions. It makes sense that the culture at NCFP is reflective of those it serves—families.
2. Family philanthropy is such a unique field.
Coming into this position, I had a limited view of family philanthropy. I had served on a youth leadership board with Youth Philanthropy Connect (YPC), a youth-led philanthropic serving board that connects youth philanthropists across the country through the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation. However, it wasn’t until this semester that I understood the full scope of family dynamics, place-based funding and the passions behind family missions. I have developed an immense respect for family members, board members, NCFP staff and all who support this arm of philanthropy. To put myself in a giving families’ shoes, I imagined my family navigating a grantmaking process and the rewards and challenges became vividly apparent. I want to thank all of those who are involved in family giving, because the work is vital, valuable and definitely not easy.
3. Learning is part of of the process.
Most of my time at NCFP has been devoted to the Family Philanthropy Knowledge Center on the NCFP website. This is an online platform of resources for those involved in family philanthropy. I helped curate Knowledge Center content to ensure the resources were useful and relevant. As a college student, I often feel I am in a perpetual state of learning. During my time at NCFP, I realized that even if you are out of school, you should still strive to be educated by the people and places that surround you. I also began to understand that asking relevant and specific questions can help with the process of mastering information.
This semester has also been full of new DC experiences: lots of yummy restaurants, Metro system navigation and museum exploration. However, as the semester is coming to an end, I can confidently say the best part of my time has been my role at NCFP. I am so thankful for the mentorship and guidance I have received and I look forward to furthering my relationship with this incredible organization!