Nonprofit 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 Nonprofit Internship Program (NPIP) in 2011. Since 2011, the program has awarded paid internship opportunities to more than 200 Pell grant-eligible college and university students enrolled in four-year institutions across the state. This year, the program will continue through a collaboration of funders to offer paid internships for the summer of 2023.

Funders involved in the collaboration in 2023 include:

A.J. Fletcher Foundation
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC Foundation
Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
Foundation for a Healthy High Point
Reidsville Area Foundation
Weaver 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 $4,800 of which the funder provides two-thirds ($3,200) in a lump sum to host organizations. Host organizations must provide the remaining one-third ($1,600) and are responsible for paying the stipend to the intern. (Please note: The remaining one-third of the stipend is not paid by the school which the student currently attends.) Each Host Organization is eligible for only one intern per summer.

Role of ZSR Staff

ZSR Staff coordinate the Nonprofit 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.

If you are interested in hosting a student intern or applying to be a student intern, please contact: Joanna Martinez at


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
  • Pell grant-eligible 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 Joanna Martinez at 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 2019 and May 2022;
  • Pay the intern $1,600 (one-third of the overall stipend); and
  • Agree to and complete the Host Organization Agreement Form prior to being accepted into the program.

**This information applies to ZSR grantees ONLY. For ZSR, host organizations may apply by invitation only.

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 a host organization has decided on their intern, they will send the student a Intern 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 Host Organization Agreement Form through the ZSR online account portal, signifying a "match." For more information, contact Clare Bradshaw at

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

The application process for the 2023 Non-Profit Internship Program has now closed.