In summer 2019, we collaborated with Ukraine Global Scholars to offer internships to two of the nonprofit's finalists, Ernest Protas and Alisa Hryhorovych. Ernest and Alisa spent 8 weeks as members of our team and played an essential role in helping launch the Metelyk Grant. Their responsibilities included communicating with potential applicants, screening applications, helping interview finalists, and creating informational materials, among many others.
In addition to professional responsibilities, the internship included an educational component: reading and discussing Winners Take All, a bestseller by American author Anand Giridharadas that offers a critical perspective on today's philanthropic landscape. While the book is focused on the US, Ernest and Alisa enjoyed applying its ideas to the Ukrainian context.
Ernest and Alisa both enjoyed their summer experiences. Alisa said, "I believe that this internship was a valuable experience for me and taught me a lot about responsibility, time-management, and accuracy. One particular thing I enjoyed is the impact: Something great will come out of this initiative." Ernest added, "I learned how to work in a startup-like environment with many unexpected tasks and problems; how to research and organize data needed for a social project; how to communicate with applicants and potential partners. I liked the ability to contribute with my ideas and opinions to the decision-making process and the amount of independent work I had."
For us, the internship program brings dual benefits. First, interns offer our lean team much-needed support with critical operational tasks - we couldn't have launched the grant without them! Second, internships help us reach a key foundation goal: encouraging Ukrainian youth to become active in the social sector.
By allowing students to become grantmakers for a summer and offering real-world experience working at a foundation, we hope to nurture a lifelong interest among our interns in changing their communities for the better.
We look forward to hiring more talented Ukrainian interns in summer 2020.