There are many differences between communities: music, hobbies, entertainment and fashion, just to name a few. However, when it comes to the philanthropic community, there is plenty of common ground to be found in the Summer Internship Program.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of The Winnipeg Foundation’s Summer Internship Program (SIP). SIP is a program that places young philanthropists in internships at local non-profit organizations for the summer. Interns must have previously participated in the Youth in Philanthropy program, which engages high school aged youth in grant making.
Interns work directly with a mentor to ensure both get a lot out of the program.
“It’s amazing that this program has been going on for so long,” says Amanda, who was a part of the first group of interns in 2005.
Joy and optimism were in the air as philanthropists young and old mingled together during the 10-year anniversary celebration at Rainbow Stage this past summer.
“Seeing veteran SIPpers is like seeing the next stages of philanthropy,” says Jase, a 2014 intern.
For most, SIP is a rewarding experience that changes or inspires them to keep making a difference in their community.
“Showing commitment to the community and making spaces for the voices unheard” is what made Tessa, a 2013 mentor, want to become a philanthropist.
For Janina, a 2012 intern, philanthropy is something she’s “always wanted to do”.
Former interns Amanda (2005), Suzanne (2007) and Erin (2007) were so moved by SIP that they started a Sharing Circle for graduated SIPpers and former Youth in Philanthropy members who donate and volunteer in the community. The Sharing Circle is independent from The Winnipeg Foundation.
Marie, a 2011 intern, changed her career path after her internship at Manitoba Eco-Network.
“Before I was set on becoming a doctor and attending Med-School, now I want to become more involved,” she says.
Marie is now studying Environment and Biomedical Studies at Queen’s University and has had had many leadership opportunities pertaining to environmental sustainability following SIP.
Following her internship at the Children’s Museum in 2007, Erin discovered she wanted to become a teacher. Today not only does she work as a teacher, she has also kept up her philanthropic and charitable work and serves as a member of the Nourishing Potential Advisory Committee at The Winnipeg Foundation. Nourishing Potential is an after-school food program that promotes healthy eating for school children.
Although the Summer Internship Program is expanding each year and becoming more diverse, many interns feel philanthropists face challenges:
“[It’s a] struggle of awareness,” says Amanda.
“[And of] making others understand the importance of giving back,” adds Erin.
The former interns are nonetheless hopeful for the future of philanthropy and do what they can to ensure others hear their message.
“I try to contribute to charitable causes and volunteer,” says Suzanne.
For her part, Marie demonstrates her commitment to philanthropy by, “Leading by example and trying to be more understanding.”