Hello! My name is Claire and I am a proud alum of the inaugural GIV Fellowship.
The GIV Fellowship is an internship program through YouthRoots, where people 18-24 years of age attend educational cohort meetings and work with various host foundations in our communities. The goals of GIV are to provide opportunities for youth to discover and explore potential careers in the philanthropic and nonprofit fields; improve the ability of the philanthropic sector to meet community needs by including youth voice, expertise, and wisdom in foundation strategies; and develop a pipeline for youth from communities underrepresented in philanthropy to enter the field.
In my time with GIV my knowledge of the philanthropic sector has increased tenfold! Before the fellowship my knowledge of the sector was limited to what I’d learned being on the non-profit side of philanthropic partnerships. I had no idea the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes of these systems, nor did I know the complex and detailed steps involved in grantmaking. Together with my cohort we learned not only how philanthropy works, but also the history and context behind the entire sector.
The mission of YouthRoots, the organization that runs the GIV Fellowship, is to unleash the power of youth to change the world. They do this by empowering young people to find our seat at the table and make our voices heard. This is particularly important for members of underrepresented communities.
One of my biggest revelations during the program was how important and urgently needed diversity is in this field. People of color, the LGBTQIA+ community and people with disabilities are critically underrepresented in philanthropy, especially in leadership positions. We got to see firsthand how this affects not only the decisions made, but also the constituents reached and people helped. GIV gave us the platform to share our insights and perspectives on issues that are important to us. Many of our host foundations voiced that the inclusion of different perspectives caused immediate positive action within their organizations.
Our cohorts also had the opportunity to hear from many professionals in the industry. This helped us grow not only our knowledge but also our networks, which was one of the things we learned was so vital to empowering and uniting people in underserved communities.
Myself and several of my friends within the cohort had never considered careers in philanthropy before this fellowship, but now that we’ve spent 15 weeks immersed in, learning from and contributing to foundations; we are now excited and prepared to enter into the industry with confidence.