Exploration of the Social Sector
Anne Hundertmark is a rising senior at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, attending the Haub School of Business and majoring in Leadership, Ethics, and Organizational Sustainability with minors in English and Finance. She joined the Crimsonbridge Foundation as a Philanthropy Fellow this summer, working with staff on projects related to its programs and grantmaking in education, leadership, and capacity building. In the following post, Anne shares reflections from her fellowship and exploration of the social sector.
From a young age, my parents instilled in me the idea that, if I had the ability, it was my responsibility to serve others. In middle school, this meant joining the Community Service Club at recess to clean teachers’ blackboards and organize supplies. In high school, these responsibilities developed further as I was awarded the Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Ambassador Awards for service projects with the Girl Scouts. But it wasn’t until I entered college, when I began seeking work experience in the social sector, that I truly understood the power and impact of a community.
One of the reasons I chose to attend Saint Joseph’s University was because of its focus on serving others. I spent my freshman year as part of a Philadelphia service immersion program where I volunteered at a different site each week and learned from site leaders about the systematic barriers facing the Philadelphia community. That year, I applied to work as a Development Intern at Horton’s Kids, a nonprofit in Washington, DC that serves the children and families of Wellington Park. I worked at Horton’s Kids for two summers and witnessed the intensity of a nonprofit’s effort, strategy, and impact.
Working at Crimsonbridge Foundation has been an invaluable opportunity to explore another facet of the social/nonprofit sector. Having formerly worked at a nonprofit, I already understood the significance of a funder’s financial support. However, this summer, I witnessed the role a foundation can play as a resource, partner, and community member:
A Resource. Nonprofits oftentimes work directly with members of the community and are therefore well-equipped to understand the challenges faced by the people they serve. At Crimsonbridge, I learned that foundations are equipped to take on the role of devoting time and resources to researching and learning more about these systemic issues that exist in the community. This research allows foundations to develop an understanding of the broader landscape of needs so they can serve as a resource to nonprofits when providing program-specific grants.
A Partner. Crimsonbridge fosters connections within its network of nonprofits, leaders, and philanthropic organizations. As a partner, Crimsonbridge seeks to advance and strengthen networks so that changemakers can benefit from others’ experience. I found that Crimsonbridge embodied this especially through its leadership and partnership which supported establishment of the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School.
A Community Member. When working at a nonprofit, I was immersed in the nonprofit’s daily operations, celebrations, and events. At Crimsonbridge, I discovered a different, but strong, connection between the foundation and its nonprofit partners. As a team, we celebrate their victories, learn from their experiences, and seek out opportunities to engage with the community.
Working as the Philanthropy Fellow at Crimsonbridge Foundation allowed me to deepen my understanding of the philanthropic world and develop workplace research, writing, and partnership skills. But more importantly, this fellowship allowed me to develop as a greater, more-informed member of the community. Regardless of whether my future leads to a career in philanthropy, I have appreciated the opportunity to learn how to better serve the community and act as an agent for social change.