Imani at the Chicago Foundation of Women

imani-wilson-photoName: Imani

Year: Junior

Major(s): Social Policy

Minor(s): Latino/a Studies

CFS Program: Field Studies in the Humanities

This quarter I had the pleasure of working at the Chicago Foundation for Women. The mission of the foundation is to invest in women and girls as catalysts, building strong communities for all. The foundation is most well-known for the grants that they make to organizations impacting women and girls across the Chicago-land area. However, the foundation also engages in some capacity building and advocacy work. This fall I worked with the Philanthropic Education Officer at the foundation to develop one of their newest capacity building programs, Board Boot Camp Express. The purpose of Board Boot Camp Express is to provide some of Chicago’s leading professionals with the knowledge and resources necessary to become non-profit board members. Board Boot Camp Express is a program that can be requested by various corporations in downtown Chicago and represents one of several ways that the foundation works to enhance the potential and strengthen the work of Chicago’s non-profits. During my internship I developed website content, conducted market research to gauge the demand for such a program, and compiled a list of organizations and corporations in the Chicago area that may be interested in hosting a Board Boot Camp Express program. In addition to further developing this program, I had the opportunity to attend several staff and board meetings allowing me insight on the foundation’s grant making structure and their new strategic plan. Furthermore, I went along on a site visit at a potential grantee organization and attended several luncheons, including the Planned Parenthood PAC luncheon and the YWCA luncheon. Another part of my internship involved assisting with the meetings and events hosted by the foundation’s giving circles and giving councils, groups of women around the city who pool their funds and engage in fundraising to make grants to organizations in their communities or identity area that serve women and girls. More specifically, I got to work closely with the co-chair of the Women’s United Giving Council, a philanthropic group composed of women of color, to help make their meeting time more effective and efficient.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my internship experience at the Chicago Foundation for Women. My supervisor was so kind and was sure to check-in with me every day that I was in the office. Additionally, she went out of her way to ensure that I had the chance to have a one-on-one meeting with everyone in the office, including the CEO of the Foundation. I would definitely recommend CFS to any Northwestern student who is looking to gain work experience and would recommend the Chicago Foundation for Women to anyone interested in philanthropic and/or advocacy non-profits.