Summer Internship Program

Thirteen youth, 13 local registered charities, and eight weeks of fun(damental) skill-building for the workplace. This is the premise of The Winnipeg Foundation’s Summer Internship Program, a paid eight-week internship that builds on the experience of Youth in Philanthropy participants.

With the goal of providing an opportunity to gain practical work experience, a professional edge in the workplace, and an introduction to the charitable sector, interns are matched with mentors at local registered charities, based on the youths’ skills and interests. Mercy Oluwafemi, Youth Program Officer with The Winnipeg Foundation, explains that a lot of thought goes into matching interns with organizations.

“We were very strategic in some of the matching we did this year. We placed some interns in places that might not be the most obvious fit, but it ended up being very successful,” she says, “For some it is the very first introduction to the non-profit sector. It provides an opportunity to work with people in that community and understand what it means to make a difference.”

Participants experience hands-on, meaningful summer employment and learn about a local charitable organization, while host organizations have the benefit of a full-time staff to complete a short-term project during the course of the summer.

“In The Foundation’s Strategic Plan, priorities include empowering the next generation of donors and working with organizations to increase their capacity in areas beyond granting dollars. From The Foundation’s perspective, it’s a big win for us because we’re doing that with this program,” says Oluwafemi.

The summer of 2023 saw summer interns working with bicycles, art, children, and seniors, completing a range of projects from facilitating programming to event support to developing social media strategies.

“The interns learned a lot about confidence and working in a professional environment for the first time – that’s a big deal for a lot of them,” says Oluwafemi.

Throughout the summer, interns and their mentors travelled to each of the host organizations to watch presentations by the corresponding intern, receive a tour of the organization, and learn more about the work each charity does. Organizations in 2023 included The Movement Centre, The WRENCH, St. James Assiniboia 55+ Centre, Graffiti Art Gallery, and Spence Neighbourhood Association.

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