This summer, I have the incredible opportunity to work at a non-profit called Alliance for Justice (also known as AFJ) as a Development intern. I am working in their office in D.C., but they have a satellite office in Oakland, California and they do work all across the country. Alliance for Justice is an association of over 100 organizations including organizations as diverse as the Children’s Defense Fund, Legal Aid Society, and the Sierra Club, that are dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have the right to have their voice heard in the governmental process and to secure justice in the judicial system. AFJ accomplishes this in two ways. First, through its Justice program, it directs its own advocacy resources to fight for a fair and independent judiciary that respects the rights of citizens and second, through its Bolder Advocacy Initiative, it helps other nonprofits engage in advocacy to affect change. Alliance for Justice also produces a film ever year that deals with controversies or injustices within the legal system. If you want to learn more about AFJ, they have a really great website here: http://www.afj.org/. If you think you or your organization are seeking ways to increase the impact of your advocacy, bolderadvocacy.org, has some very informative tools as well as simple explanations of the laws governing non-profit advocacy.
I found this position while scrolling through B.hired, wondering if there was any possible way I could combine my passion for justice with a desire to explore the non-profit setting. It was lucky that Brandeis has such great online resources for cover letters, interviews, and searching for internships because job hunting as a study abroad student, an ocean away from your ideal market, can be intimidating. After my initial cover letter submission, I had a Skype interview for the first time, which was interesting. AFJ thought my fundraising experience on the Brandeis Debate Team would be a good match for development. A few days after my Skype interview, Chloe Hwang, AFJ’s Development Associate and my current supervisor, sent me an e-mail offering the job. I was so excited to work for an organization with such an interesting purpose.
As a Development intern, my duties include researching current and prospective donors and foundations, drafting briefings for meetings with donors and foundations, and providing support for the Development staff in the form of administrative and research tasks. This past week I have been researching foundations in Los Angeles to determine where AFJ might consider applying for grants. We also have our annual Justice First! Luncheon next Tuesday so the entire Development team is finishing up preparations for the event. It is a very busy time for Development. I feel like I have already been involved as part of the Development team which is so rewarding to experience as an intern. I have a few different learning goals this summer. Additionally, I look forward to examining how the implementation of social justice works in practice. So much of my time at school is spent thinking about the theories behind social justice that it can become too abstract. On a more professional level, I intend to learn more about networking and how to form mentor-ships this summer. As a rising senior, I am beginning to think about applying for jobs next year and many people say that networking is vital to that endeavor. I am really excited to further contribute to Development by sharpening my research skills and learning more about how a Development office functions within a non-profit.