Cafritz Foundation Awards SHECP Grant for DC Interns

The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) has received a $25,000 matching grant from The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation to help support its summer internship program that benefits agencies serving impoverished communities in the District of Columbia. The Shepherd Internship Program, administered by Washington and Lee University, has received long-time support from the Cafritz Foundation. This is its first Cafritz grant made directly to the Consortium and the first grant from any foundation that will support SHECP internships.

Since the eight-week, summer internship program began in 1998, more than 100 interns have completed assignments in the District at agencies such as N Street Village for women, the  Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia, So Others Might Eat medical clinic, LIFT, and Life Pieces to Masterpieces. With the creation of SHECP, the internship program has expanded. Students from at least 21 institutions will participate in the 2014 internship program, many of them in Washington, D.C.

Fourteen SHECP interns worked in the District during the summer of 2013, providing nearly 4,500 hours of service to D.C. agencies.  SHECP anticipates increasing the number of interns in Washington in future years.

The generosity of Cafritz and other foundations make it possible for SHECP member institutions to establish strong internship programs that they will be able to finance and enhance in the future. The matching grant encourages member schools to locate their own source of funding to sustain and expand this educational experience for their students. The Cafritz grant will benefit non-profit organizations in the District, while simultaneously enriching the education of undergraduate and professional students so that they may better understand how their professional and civic leadership can diminish poverty in urban and rural areas in the United States. The interns work in many different spheres of public life from healthcare and law to education and economic development. The Shepherd Internship Program serves agencies that enrich the life of the Washington, D.C., community while educating leaders for the future.

Devin Johns of the College of Wooster commented on her work at N Street Village in the summer of 2013 and her participation in the culminating conference at the end of the internship. One of the speakers was Kirsten Lodal of LIFT, which operates resource centers for low-income families in six U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C.

“Just as Kirsten Lodal, CEO and co-founder of LIFT, shared at the Closing Conference in early August, poverty cannot be diminished unless we treat each person as an individual, equally deserving of respect, dignity, and humanity. . . . [E]ven though LIFT and N Street Village are quite different organizations, they share that community component each and every morning as the women of [N Street Village] say together, ‘We are N Street Village.’”

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