Non-Profit Internship Program

Summer internships offer a crucial pathway to future employment for the next generation of nonprofit leaders. However, the universality of unpaid internships in the nonprofit sector create financial hurdles for students to participate in experiential learning.

In an effort to diversify the pool of young nonprofit professionals in North Carolina, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation established the Non-Profit Internship Program (NPIP) in 2011. Since 2011, the program has awarded paid internship opportunities to 20 Pell grant-eligible college and university students enrolled in four-year institutions across the state. This year, the program will expand through a collaboration of six funders and will offer 36 paid internships for the summer of 2017. Funders involved in the collaboration include:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation
The Foundation for a Healthy High Point
Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
Weaver Foundation
The Winston-Salem Foundation
Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

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 Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation with a workplan 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 the funder 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. Each Host Organization is eligible for only one intern per summer.

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 submit 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 additional eligibility requirements and/or a supplemental application that students should complete and attach to their application.

Role of ZSR Staff

ZSR Staff coordinate the Non-Profit Internship Program, which entails overseeing candidate recruitment, confirming interns/site matches, authorize grant payments to host sites and organizing professional development opportunities for interns during the summer. ZSR Staff 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: Allie Garrett, 336-725-7541 ext. 113
Student applicants contact: Khaetlyn Grindell, 336-725-7541 ext. 114


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 Allie Garrett. For more information, check the Non-Profit Internship Program FAQs.

Students of color are encouraged to apply.

*Please note that some internships will have additional eligibility requirements which will be outlined on the application.

Eligible ZSR Host Organizations must*:

  • Receive a ZSR grant between November 2013 and May 2016 ;
  • 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.

**This information applies to ZSR grantees ONLY. If you are a grantee of another NPIP funder, please contact Allie Garrett.

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 Khaetlyn Grindell.

Before applying, please see Non-Profit Internship Program FAQs.

Apply Online

Applications for Host organizations are available now. Student applications will be available here beginning mid-November.