Last spring when Faith Biegon ’14 began looking for a summer internship in the finance world, she probably wasn’t imaging she would end up in an office where employees talk about turning everyone into changemakers, and teams are called Empathy or Framework.
Yet through a connection and good timing, Biegon landed an internship at Ashoka, a nonprofit based in Arlington, Va. Ashoka is a global organization that identifies and invests in social entrepreneurs and the infrastructure to support them.
Biegon is working in the Strategic Resources and Global Marketing divisions and is partnered with another intern this summer to develop a report on planned giving. “The proposal my teammate and I have come up with is that Ashoka needs to start a planned-giving campaign as part of its fundraising strategy,” Biegon said. To help pitch her argument, she has researched the national market for top NGOs and how other organizations have run planned-giving campaigns.
To be able to live as an unpaid intern for a summer in the Washington D.C. area, Biegon applied for a grant from Career Planning’s funded internship program and won a donor-funded Strong/Gault Social Advancement Internship grant. This grant supports students who intern for organizations that serve economically underdeveloped areas.
Biegon grew up in Nakuru, Kenya, about two hours outside of Nairobi. As a double major in economics and government, she said she is hoping to use her knowledge of finance to pursue a career in development, focusing on Africa. “I would like to do something that puts me in a position to bring change,” she said.
When she was in high school, Biegon qualified for KenSAP, an athlete-scholar program that helps students from rural Africa gain access to elite colleges in the United States. A tutor connected her to Bowdoin, where she said the College’s offer, “to be at home in all lands and all ages,” convinced her she would feel at home here. Last summer, Bowdoin also awarded her a Nikuradse-Matthews Summer Fellowship to work with poor women living with HIV/AIDS in the slums of Nakuru.
So far in her internship at Ashoka, Biegon said she has developed a deeper understanding of the philanthropy market and how NGOs market themselves and work with donors. “It has been two and a half weeks, and I have so much information on giving and how different organizations are funded, I feel like I could start my NGO now!” she said.