Ellie Horst, Former Intern, Iowa Council of Foundations
Internships can bring a wide variety of experiences, but I doubt many students are blessed to have the experience that I have had at my internship with the Iowa Council of Foundations (ICoF). My name is Ellie Horst, and I am a senior at Loras College and have interned for ICoF this past semester. I met Kari McCann Boutell (President, ICoF) while interning at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, a member of ICoF. I had a great experience at the Foundation as well. My experience with Kari seemed to fit so perfectly into the frame I have for my future career in the nonprofit sector.
Throughout my short time interning with Kari, she showed me how to treat each project as a way to gain new information and learn about the bigger picture of the organization and field while completing a task. I have had the pleasure of completing a few small projects for ICoF that have not only taught me hard skills on navigating and maintaining software and databases, but this work has also taught me to be curious; to dig deeper and reflect on why the project is necessary, what bigger picture items it can help accomplish, and to find deeper learning outcomes and objectives.
For example, researching webinar and video conferencing tools not only helped me learn about the softwares themselves, which I may need in the future, but also taught me how to compare and budget different resources, what information can and should be shared through video or screen-sharing technologies, and the most effective ways in which to get member participation. Since my internship at ICoF I have actually used the same webinar service we selected for ICoF to host my own webinar on planning orientations for incoming classes at Loras, and multiple times for Loras College Dance Marathon, an organization I am a part of.
My work at ICoF means so much more than the technical skills I learned, however. It has been an incredible blessing for me; it helped to prepare me for graduate school in Philanthropic Studies and has helped me to foster the passion that I have for foundation work in the nonprofit field. I have learned so much more than I could have imagined in such a short amount of time, and I genuinely appreciate this opportunity. I look forward to keeping informed about ICoF’s events and programming, and I will be sure to take the information I have learned here with me as I go. Thank you to Kari and the ICoF Board for your support and the opportunity to intern with ICoF and foster my passion!