My name is Laken Rush, and I am a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since January I have had the privilege of helping Noël McLaughlin as the communications and PR intern for the Foundation, and I have loved every minute of it.

When I applied for the internship with the North Carolina Community Foundation I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Literally. I didn’t know what a community foundation was, which was probably a flaw in my application process. But I knew I enjoyed and wanted to continue working with nonprofits from my time spent with Camp Kesem*, an organization I have been involved with since my freshman year. I also knew that I was studying public relations and was hoping to gain more experience. Putting two and two together, I applied for an internship at NCCF knowing only that it was a nonprofit PR internship that fit my time schedule and seemed like a good idea.

During my first or second week here I was lucky enough to sit down with Beth Boney Jenkins and chat. I was feeling a little inadequate as I’d been here a few days and still didn’t quite know what a community foundation was. She assured me that it took years for some people to catch on. Among other things, she explained what a community foundation was to me, and I’ll never forget the way she said it. She told me that “a community foundation is half a nonprofit and half a bank.” That explanation really clicked. What an easy way of thinking about something so complex. 

Over the past few months (and I wish it could be more) I have continued to learn what all a community foundation entails, but I think Beth’s explanation will always be my favorite. During my time here I was given the chance to see behind the scenes, and what I saw was truly amazing. I learned so much from Noël and all the kind, incredible people at the Foundation. I had the opportunity to see just how far the NCCF reaches out to help, whether it’s through affiliates or organizations, and how much it impacts North Carolina.

My time here was wonderful, and it taught me so much. I sincerely wish it could last longer, and I want to thank everyone I met and worked with while I was here. You can bet that when I get out of school and have the money to think about philanthropy that I will turn to the NCCF to start an endowment! 

All the best,

Laken Rush

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