After my first month in this inaugural program, I find myself constantly wondering, “Why am I just discovering this now?”. From the outside looking in, the field of development seems like it is hidden in shadows for no one to see the true nature of its work. It is a field of work that is a mystery to the common university student, but the individuals that work in this field are the heroes behind the scenes. You are told by family growing up that you need to find your calling by being adventurous and exploring the many opportunities that the world has in store for you. People bounce around from department to department or job to job for years, just looking for the place that they can call home. Luckily for me, I was placed from day one in a department that has done nothing but support and make me appreciate the work that goes into a nonprofit along with enhancing my understanding of development as a whole.
I have been working in Corporate and Foundation Relations for the past month and I could not feel more at home than I do with the CFR team. The directors and other fundraisers that I get to work with on a daily basis have been nothing but supportive so far in answering any one of the 200 questions I seem to have on a daily basis. They all stem from diverse backgrounds and are all approachable, helpful and fun to be around. The project that I have been tasked with involves researching, assessing, finding connections within the Rutgers network and reaching out to New Jersey’s Top 50 Most Wealthy as well as The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 50 Most Generous Donors in America. My job is to discover new funding sources from these lists for CFR that would ultimately lead to a proposal being sent to these foundations or corporations. The work that I am doing feels impactful and I feel like an important part of a professional team. I am going through a set process with four distinct stages that have me working with two directors within my office per stage that advise me along the way. Having a basic structure to work with while still being allowed some room for unique interpretation is what I value most about this process and gives me a unique view of a post-graduation professional environment. Working with nine other smart and capable interns in other departments really gives me an all-around perspective of the Foundation as a whole and I could not be more satisfied with those that I work with.
The SIDAR Program has completely shattered stereotypes when it comes to typical internship responsibilities. The amount of joy that I feel to be doing actual meaningful work in support of the university is unmeasurable and I am more than satisfied being occupied with projects that directly affect the CFR team and the Foundation positively. I have learned so much in just 4 weeks about just how impactful Rutgers is to not just the New Brunswick and Piscataway communities, but to our country. Rutgers does so much work and I will without a doubt be an advocate for the heroes that work behind the scenes. I look forward to these last few weeks to open me up even more to the concept of working in development and I’m excited about the adventure this internship is taking us on to support the future of the Rutgers community.
SIDAR, Corporate and Foundation Relations