Non-Profit Internship Program

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation believes summer internships offer a crucial pathway to future employment and experience for the next generation of nonprofit leaders. However, the universality of unpaid internships in the nonprofit sector often creates financial hurdles for students to participate in such experiential learning.

In an effort to diversify the pool of young nonprofit professionals in North Carolina, ZSR established the Non-Profit Internship Program (NPIP) in 2011. (Note: This is distinctly different from ZSR's Summer Internship Program.) Each summer, the program awards up to 20 college and university students, enrolled in four-year institutions across the state, with paid internships at ZSR-grantee organizations that are working to advance the Foundation’s values in the areas of Community Economic Development, Public Education, Social Justice & Equity, Environment, and/or Strengthening Democracy. Participating organizations receive student applications from ZSR and interview applicants directly. Organizations that match with an intern are confirmed through ZSR and interns begin work with the organization in June.

Watch a short video about the NPIP program.

Students spend a minimum of eight weeks during the summer with host organizations. Internships offer a range of exposure and skill-building opportunities in areas such as research, community outreach, public policy, communications, fundraising and social media. Details and workplans for each intern vary by organization; however, host organizations must provide the Foundation with a work-plan that ensures a rewarding experience, substantive opportunities, and adequate supervision for their intern.

In addition to the internship, students will have the opportunity to connect with other interns in the program and participate in on-going professional development throughout the summer.


Interns receive a taxable stipend of $3,200 of which ZSR provides two-thirds ($2,133) in a lump sum to organizations. Host organizations must provide the remaining one-third ($1,067) and are responsible for paying the stipend to the intern. The Foundation funds only one intern per organization per summer. Returning host organizations should note that this organizational contribution to the stipend has increased, in line with the stipend’s overall increase from previous years.

Internship Application

A link to the internship application will be posted to this page in December. Application deadline is in early February. Interested students will need to sumbit a resume, one reference, and responses to the following (250 word limit per answer):

  • Briefly describe the activity of your high school or college career that was most meaningful to you and why.
  • Describe your interests or experiences in the nonprofit sector. How did these interests attract you to this internship program?
  • How would the organization benefit from having you as an intern?
  • Briefly describe why you are interested in this internship and what you hope to gain from your experience.

Some internships will have a supplemental application that students should complete and attach to their application. Applicants also have the option of submitting a writing sample and up to two additional references with their application.

Role of ZSR Staff/NPIP Coordinators

ZSR Staff/Coordinators of the Non-Profit Internship Program oversee candidate recruitment, confirm interns/site matches, authorize grant payments to host sites, and organize professional development opportunities for interns during the summer. ZSR Staff/NPIP Coordinators also oversee the fulfillment of the NPIP Program Agreement Form. Host organizations that meet eligibility requirements have purview over interviewing, matching with, supervising, and paying interns.

Host organization applicants contact: Keren Salim; 336/725-7541 ext. 114
Student applicants contact: Allie Garrett; 336/725-7541 ext. 113


Eligible students must be:

  • A rising sophomore, junior, or senior enrolled full-time in a four-year North Carolina college or university; OR
  • A rising sophomore, junior or senior North Carolina resident enrolled full-time in a four-year accredited college outside the state; AND
  • A recipient of a federal Pell grant in the academic year in which they apply for NPIP. As a part of the application process, students will be asked to upload their Student Aid Report verifying their Pell grant eligibility. Students can access this document through their FAFSA login. Click here for further directions. Students ineligible for a Pell grant due to documentation issues or criminal conviction may be eligible and should contact Keren Salim. For more information, check the Non-Profit Internship Program FAQs.

Students of color are encouraged to apply.

Eligible organizations must:

  • Receive a ZSR grant between November 2012 and May 2015*;
  • Pay the intern $1,067 (one-third of the overall stipend); and
  • Agree to and complete the Program Agreement Form prior to being accepted into the program.

Matching Process

Once a student's eligibility has been verified, his or her application will be forwarded to the appropriate organization(s). This begins the Matching Period, which lasts a few weeks. During this period, organizations will review received applications, decide whom to interview, and make arrangements with the students to conduct interviews. Once an organization has decided on their intern, they will send the student a Program Agreement Form to complete and sign. (Note: A student may receive multiple offers, but can only accept one internship.) The Matching Period culminates on Match Day, when organizations submit their signed Program Agreement Forms to the ZSR coordinators, signifying a "match." The first 20 matches ZSR received on Match Day will become the summer 2016 program participants. For more information, contact Keren Salim.

Before applying, please see Non-Profit Internship Program FAQs and view a sample application and sample final attachment.

*Organizations that receive ZSR grants for the first time in November 2015 are not eligible to apply to be a host organization in the summer of 2016, but are invited to apply the following year.

Apply Online

*Applications for Students and Host Organizations are no longer available.