The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation believes summer internships offer a crucial pathway to future employment and experience for the next generation of nonprofit leaders. However, the universality of unpaid internships in the nonprofit sector often creates financial hurdles for students to participate in such experiential learning.
In an effort to diversify the pool of young nonprofit professionals in North Carolina, ZSR established the Non-Profit Internship Program (NPIP) in 2011. (Note: This is distinctly different from ZSR's Summer Internship Program.) Each summer, the program awards 20 college and university students, enrolled in four-year institutions across the state, with paid internships at ZSR-grantee organizations that are working to advance the Foundation’s values in the areas of Community Economic Development, Public Education, Social Justice & Equity, Environment, and/or Strengthening Democracy. Participating organizations receive student applications from ZSR and interview applicants directly. Organizations that match with an intern are confirmed through ZSR and interns begin work with the organization in June.
Students spend a minimum of eight weeks during the summer with host organizations. Internships offer a range of exposure and skill-building opportunities in areas such as research, community outreach, public policy, communications, fundraising and social media. Details and work-plans for each intern vary by organization; however, host organizations must provide the Foundation with a work-plan that ensures a rewarding experience, substantive opportunities, and adequate supervision for their intern.
In addition to the internship, students will have the opportunity to connect with other interns in the program and participate in on-going professional development throughout the summer.
Interns receive a taxable stipend of $2,400 of which ZSR provides two-thirds ($1,600) in a lump sum to organizations. Host organizations must provide the remaining one-third ($800), and are responsible for paying the stipend to the intern. The Foundation funds only one intern per organization per summer.
A link to the internship application will be posted to this page in December. interested students will need to sumbit a resume, one reference, and responses to the following (250 word limit per answer):
- Briefly describe the activity of your high school or college career that was most meaningful to you and why.
- Describe your interests or experiences in the nonprofit sector. How did these interests attract you to this internship program?
- How would the organization benefit from having you as an intern?
- Briefly describe why you are interested in this internship and what you hope to gain from your experience.
Some internships will have a supplemental application that students should complete and attach to their application. Applicants also have the option of submitting a writing sample and up to two additional references with their application.
Role of ZSR Staff/NPIP Coordinators
ZSR Staff/Coordinators of the Non-Profit Internship Program oversee candidate recruitment, confirm interns/site matches, authorize grant payments to host sites, and organize professional development opportunities for interns during the summer. ZSR Staff/NPIP Coordinators also oversee the fulfillment of the NPIP Program Agreement Form. Host organizations that meet eligibility requirements have purview over interviewing, matching with, supervising, and paying interns.
Eligible students must be:
- A rising sophomore, junior, or senior enrolled full-time in a four-year North Carolina college or university; OR
- A rising sophomore, junior or senior North Carolina resident enrolled full-time in a four-year accredited college outside the state; AND
- A recipient of a federal Pell grant in the academic year in which they apply for NPIP. (Students ineligible for a Pell grant due to documentation issues or criminal conviction should contact Keren Salim.)
Students of color are encouraged to apply.
Eligible organizations must:
- Receive a ZSR grant between November 2010 and May 2013*;
- Pay the intern $800 (one-third of the overall stipend); and
- Agree to and complete the Program Agreement Form prior to being accepted into the program.
*Organizations that receive ZSR grants for the first time in November 2013 are not eligible to apply to be a host organization in the summer of 2014, but are invited to apply the following year.