Onward to Spread the Wealth

The summer sped by so quickly, one moment i was feeling overdressed at my first day in at UFE and the next, I was eating ice cream with my supervisor and the other development interns after our final presentations. This may be a little cliche, but the phrase “time sure flies when you’re having fun” has never applied to any situation more.

I had a wonderful time working with United for a Fair Economy. My summer project definitely played an integral part in helping me achieve my learning and skills acquisition goals. I was successful in taking information that I had found during my research of development on social media and converted it into an actionable strategy for the organisation. I convinced my supervisor and a conference-room full of people that the best way to use social media is to build a community and engage the members of this community so that they are inspired to support the organisation. This applied to quality of social media content as well as the tools that available that UFE chose to use for fundraising.

The slideshow for my presentation is available at this link. Please take a look!


Soon after, I received an email from one of the members of UFE sharing how my project and ideas had influence him to take a more critical look at the type of content on UFE’s facebook page. I am happy to say I influenced the Facebook post below and it fills me with joy that I was able to give to UFE in my own small way:

Visit the UFE Facebook page for more: https://www.facebook.com/faireconomy


I came out of this internship knowing that any career path I chose to pursue in future would have to enable me to positively impact the world around me and allow me to lend my voice to social debate. I have often battled to the reality of “changing the world” when so many people fear the futility of social justice. I am more inspired than before to pursue a career in Economic Development, Socio-Economic Policy formation and the continued fight to ensure that everyone gets a fair share of the world’s wealth.

I only have one piece of advice for anyone looking to enter this field, or any other for that matter: Don’t be afraid to learn new things, and be willing to give your all to a task. You will be surprised by the things you will discover about the job and about yourself. Development, though it differs from industry, is a highly transferable tool. Even if it is not your intended path, it is valuable wherever you go. Take advantage of any opportunity to pick up some development skills whenever you can.

I owe this fulfilling summer experience to UFE and the WOW scholarship program and I will always be grateful.

Thanks for reading!

– Pokuaa Adu

Creative Action and Social Media

I am halfway through my time at UFE and enjoying every minute of it. As I mentioned before, I was looking forward to

– Working on my own independent project with UFE

– Joining the fight for a great cause

– Forming great relationships with the UFE family.

How do you think that is all going? Well, I’ll show you!

My project:

Many organizations use social media for a variety of functions. Like these organizations, UFE has  Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo accounts through which it shares news and event information and raises awareness about issues pertaining to economic justice, fair taxation and equality for all.

My project is to explore one additional benefit of social media tools to UFE – fundraising – and to develop recommendations and corresponding case studies which support my research findings and proposed strategy. Having worked on this for the past few weeks, it has been an enlightening experience learning how different organizations are going about raising money through Facebook posts and YouTube videos. In the process, I spend hours on different websites looking at informative, sometimes hilarious and powerful content that organizations use to effect change and encourage action. (I am having about as much fun doing this as when the “Harlem Shake” craze hit YouTube.)

At the end of my internship, I will have the opportunity to present my findings to the rest of the UFE staff and I look forward to doing so. I hope that my work will provide actionable recommendations that will benefit the organization and enable its work to continue.

The UFE family:

I have yet to each lunch alone since I started working with the UFE. There is always an opportunity to interact with any one of the staff members at UFE; from the other interns to the director of the organization. Being comfortable with the people I work with is always top on my list of things to look out for in a career and I am happy to find that at UFE.

One other opportunity to bond with the members of the organization was during a state hearing at the State House in Boston. Steve Schnapp (one of the founding members of UFE) was set to testify in support of a resolution calling for responsible state and budgetary policy. We came together to join the rally and eventually sit in for the hearing. I got to experience the “action” part of the organization and meet people from other groups and organizations united for the same cause.

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 Here are some more pictures on the UFE facebook page

Last week, the other interns and I were invited to brainstorm, with the rest of the staff, ways that UFE could address federal tax issues and effect awareness and change at that level. I was excited to be a part of this and proud to be able to contribute my own ideas to the gathering. It was fascinating hearing from the earlier members of the group as they narrated (hilarious) accounts of how they had coordinated “Creative Action” (use of creative mediums such as theater and art for activism) in the past.

Side note: If you ever see dancing dollar bills anywhere, you know who’s responsible.

So far, I am enjoying my time at UFE. Since this is a major learning experience for me, each day is different and fulfilling, whether I am going through an organization’s Twitter feed, watching a webinar on the importance of email in fundraising or holding a banner outside State House.

Thanks for reading!

Pokuaa Adu

Everyone Deserves a Share: United for a Fair Economy

HomeMy internship this summer is with United for a Fair Economy, which works to raise awareness about economic equality and to move people into action in their own states and communities to counter the policies that continually widen the wealth gap. The organization has projects through which it works towards its goals

Racial Wealth Divide: tackling the racially determined economic gap

Responsible Wealth: Encouraging the wealthy members of American society to fight for equality

Popular Economics Education: giving other organisations the tools to understand economic policy and implications

Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative: advocating for fair and progressive tax policy

Estate and Federal Taxes:  tax fairness at the federal level

– One if the ways the UFE raises awareness about the inequality. (Source: UFE/Info-graphics)

A week before I started working with the group, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand the organization’s mission and the projects that it engages in at a film screening at Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square, Cambridge.

Inequality for All stars former secretary of labor, Robert Reich, as he and his trusted mini cooper work tirelessly to fight economic inequality in America. He explains inequality, how we perceive it and its realities. The film highlights one major point:

that the top 1% of the American population holds more than a third of the country’s wealth and that this share is growing.

 A combination of wit and simplified everyday language helped the group gathered in the auditorium on a warm Tuesday night to understand how increasing economic inequality can negatively affect their livelihood, their health, their rights and their freedom. Not all of us hold a bachelor’s degree in Economics (I can at least speak for the 9 year old in attendance who understood enough to join in the conversation afterwards).

My First Week

I am one of three development interns at UFE. Our role is to help with the fundraising side of the organization, a role that is instrumental in keeping the wheels of the UFE well-greased.

–          I attended a staff meeting the first day I arrived. The first few minutes were spent acknowledging each member’s hard work and achievements during the previous week. This was a sign that the UFE is an empowering and supportive work environment where everyone is recognized for their contribution.

–          I was given a chance to identify projects I would be individually interested in, something I appreciate as an opportunity to show my skills and learn new things. I expect to have this kind of freedom for the rest of the summer.

–          I met two other Brandeis students who are also interns at UFE for the first time, which is always a pleasant experience.

–          I started working on projects almost immediately. Everyday, I learned something new, both about the organization and fund-raising in general. My supervisors give me the background and motivations behind every project and how they affect donations and donor retention.

–          The people at UFE immediately struck me as passionate about their cause. They are a diverse group with different skills that are valuable to the group. It will be interesting observing and learning what those are.

In this environment where everything seems to be happening at once, I expect to make some great relationships, learn many new skills and have the chance to contribute to a great cause.

Thanks for reading,

Pokuaa Adu ’14

P.S. Please take a look at all the links highlighted all over this post to learn more about the UFE, the film and other interesting things I have seen in the past week.