Blog: Amplify

Summer Internship Reflections

Now that August has begun and this is my last week at the Council, I look back and think it’s crazy that I started this internship only two months ago. I had never heard of the Council before I applied here, and I didn’t know what a foundation was or did until I arrived. Needless to say, I was a little uncomfortable starting my internship, as I had no idea what to expect in such an unfamiliar sector. This was, of course, unfounded—I’ve had the most incredible experience and have learned so much in such a short period of time. When I sat down with my fellow interns to ask about their experiences, I heard similar sentiments from all five of them. This surprised me—we are all very different people, who each worked in a different department with different teams, yet all answered my questions almost exactly the same way. Personally, I think that speaks volumes about the value in working at the Council as well as the importance and effectiveness of the positive and respectful work environment the Council has cultivated.


McQuillin Murphy

Who are you? Where do you go to school and what are you studying? What’s a fun fact about you? If you could do any job in the world, what would you want to do?

“I’m McQuillin Murphy, global philanthropy intern here at the Council. I’m a rising senior at Penn State, double-majoring in international politics and geography. My fun fact is that I’m a twin, and my dream job is Secretary of State.”

What is your favorite project you’ve worked on or event that you’ve attended this summer?

“Global hosted an event with the Colombian Embassy for many visiting members of Colombian foundations. I really enjoyed getting to meet everyone and engage in the presentations. It was interesting to see how a different culture and country approaches something—philanthropy—that is nominally the same in both places. I realized that we all have a lot to learn from each other.”

What is your favorite part of working at the Council?

“The people are so great, supportive, and friendly. It’s a very positive work environment, which is very important, especially to someone who doesn’t have extensive experience with work environments—I’m very lucky that one of my first experiences was such a good one.”


Lauren Hamilton

Who are you? Where do you go to school and what are you studying? What’s a fun fact about you? If you could do any job in the world, what would you want to do?

“I’m Lauren Hamilton, IT intern at the Council. I’m a rising sophomore at Howard University, studying international business with a concentration in information security. I used to play competitive lacrosse, and if I could have any job, I’d want to be the person who decides what songs to put in movies and TV shows.”

What’s the most rewarding project you’ve done or thing you’ve learned this summer?

“I’ve learned so much—specifically, I’ve increased my knowledge of and skills with different softwares, and I’ve enhanced my research skills. I’ve also found it rewarding to finish projects and feel pride in my accomplishments.”

What is your favorite project you’ve worked on or even that you’ve attended this summer?

“I researched asset management software and then presented findings to my supervisors. I gave options as well as my recommendations, made a capabilities chart, etc. My supervisors really liked the software I recommended, and I think they’re going to implement it, if it’s possible for the Council.”


Toure’ Burgess

Who are you? Where do you go to school and what are you studying? What’s a fun fact about you? If you could do any job in the world, what would you want to do?

“My name is Toure’ Burgess and I’m a rising senior at Howard University, majoring in business management. I’m the public policy and government relations intern this summer. Fun fact is that I was born and raised in Alaska, and my dream job is Majority Whip in the House.”

What is your favorite part of working at the Council?

“I really enjoy being a part of the sector itself and working in philanthropy. I also like the advocacy component of my job—I enjoy educating people to enable the sector to flourish and grow.”

What’s something you’ve learned during your time here?

“I learned how pervasive philanthropy is, how it truly has a hand in everything. I also didn’t know the difference between lobbying and what we do here, which is advocacy; basically, lobbying is persuasion, while advocacy is education and bringing about awareness.”


Sarah Stellwag

Who are you? Where do you go to school and what are you studying? What’s a fun fact about you? If you could do any job in the world, what would you want to do?

“I’m Sarah Stellwag, and I’m the professional development intern this summer. I’m a rising junior at Georgetown University double majoring in government and economics. I’m from Celebration, Florida, which is the town built by Disney, and I want to be an international human rights lawyer.”

What’s the most challenging project or situation you’ve had to overcome this summer?

“Before I started at the Council, I knew nothing about philanthropy. I didn’t understand a lot of the terms or what was going on, and that was pretty hard. However, everyone in the office seemed to recognize this and went out of their way to be helpful and enable me to overcome this barrier—the people here are so great. They clearly wanted me to understand the work being done, and I felt like they went above and beyond in making sure I got as much as possible out of my time here.”

What’s the most rewarding project you’ve done or thing you’ve learned this summer?

“I attended a meeting with the UN Foundation. I got to see firsthand how the Council is bringing diverse people and organizations together around relevant issues in our society—it was very rewarding to feel like I’m playing a part in something much bigger.”


Mara Goldman

Who are you? Where do you go to school and what are you studying? What’s a fun fact about you? If you could do any job in the world, what would you want to do?

“I’m Mara Goldman and I interned in the membership and development department this summer. I’m a rising sophomore, studying international political economy in Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. I’m fluent in three languages—English, Spanish, and Russian—and my dream job is working around the word in education development for women and girls.”

What is your favorite part of working at the Council?

“It’s so cool to be in a place full of many diverse people and perspectives but who are all extremely passionate about the same thing. Everyone is available and willing to get coffee and chat, give advice, help with career planning, etc. I’ve felt really valued and cared about during my time here.”

What’s something you’ve learned during your time here?

“Working in the philanthropic sector this summer, I’ve realized that I want to do something with social impact as a career. I want to be able to use and further some of the skills I’ve learned here to give back to the world and be one of the “good guys”.”


It made me laugh a little as I listened to everyone’s answers—I had answered my questions first, but after recording what the other five had to say, I realized I’d have absolutely nothing original to add! I do, however, want to take the opportunity to echo their sentiments.

Firstly, I’ve been the marketing and communications intern this summer—come fall, I’ll be a junior at Georgetown, where I’m studying international politics in the Walsh School of Foreign Service. A fun fact about me is that I’ve been to Disneyland more times than I am years old (so more than 19 times), and I, like McQuillin, would love to be Secretary of State. My favorite project I’ve worked on has been hiring a graphic designer—we’re looking to collaborate with a firm on a few upcoming projects, and I was asked to research to whom we should reach out. I presented a few that I liked, and my team contacted all of them! I sat in on our preliminary phone calls and then drafted the request for proposal—I’m really proud that one of my recommendations will be chosen, and it was really cool to learn about the process of hiring a vendor, which was something with which I wasn’t at all familiar. Like my friends, my favorite part of working at the Council is definitely the wonderful people! Everyone is so kind and friendly, and genuinely cares how you’re doing and what you’re up to. There are always fun things going on and everyone gets really into the staff bonding events (which are frequent!). Personally, my team has made me feel so welcomed and have, since day one, acted like the work I do is a meaningful contribution to furthering our goals, entrusted me with real responsibilities, and made sure I’ve felt valued and like I’ve had an impact.

I’ve always thought that the adage, “you can’t please everyone” was universally applicable—in most of my life experiences, it has been. I think then, that the Council must be a pretty special place to have not only elicited overwhelmingly positive emotions from six very different people—all with very different experiences, hopes, and dreams—but also to have empowered all six of those people to go out into the world and try to make a difference, in whatever capacity we are able. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we are so fortunate to have had this incredible opportunity and summer. 

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