Charlotte Sweeney, 2020, The Urban Land Institute Foundation, Washington, D.C.

Hi! My name is Charlotte Sweeney and I am a rising senior at Skidmore College. I am a double major in Political Science and American Studies and a dance minor. The Skidmore Summer Experience Fund enabled me to intern at the Urban Land Institute Foundation this summer.

Studying at Skidmore, I have had the pleasure of exploring a number of different interests. My majors allow me to combine my interests in politics and American culture. Going into my senior year, I want to have a better sense of what I would like to do after I graduate and a summer internship is the best way to test this out. I applied to a number of internships in a wide variety of professions including public policy, politics, law, and the arts. Many of these experiences are unfunded and being able to apply for, and receive, funding from the Summer Experience Fund expanded the internships I could explore.

I decided on the Urban Land Institute Foundation because I would be able to explore a number of my interests and do something new.

Urban Land Institute is the oldest and largest network of real estate and land use experts in the world. ULI provides leadership in the responsible use of land around the world. The Urban Land Institute Foundation is a separate entity and supports the initiatives of ULI like community advisory services, the Hines Competition which challenges graduate students to create comprehensive development proposals, the J.C. Nichols Prize for visionaries in Urban Development, The Terwilliger Center for Housing, UrbanPlan, a program that funds city planning in secondary schools, and a Women’s Leadership Initiative.

My main job throughout the summer was to support the staff in creating a fully-functioning philanthropic branch out of the foundation.  My main project was to profile corporations that sponsor and donate to similar organizations. I was responsible for identifying a list of nearly 500 organizations and then whittling it down to a manageable list for the Foundation to target. These are corporations that ULI wants to align with and ask for donations or grants.

The profiles I created will allow the gift officers to have a target ask when they meet with donors. These profiles also allow the gift officers to understand the priorities of the organizations. If a corporation has a strategic priority that aligns directly with a project the foundation specifically sponsors, it is important the gift officer is aware of this at the time of the ask. For example, if a corporation is interested in affordable housing, it is crucial that the gift officer know this because the corporation may be interested in funding the Terwilliger Center for Housing.

I was also responsible for pinpointing corporations that were not already identified by ULI or other real estate organizations. I had to find companies from other industries that were interested in the information ULI is producing, but not already involved in land use. This was a difficult task and I had to utilize many resources to identify these companies, but I was able to do so and create profiles on them.

I also worked on a number of other projects to prepare the Foundation for the Urban Land Institute fall meeting and the end of the fiscal year. It was a busy time for ULI to find sponsorships for the fall meeting.

My time at the ULI Foundation refined my research skills and opened doors to a new potential career path in philanthropy and non-profit organizations. I am thankful to the Summer Experience Fund for enabling me to have this internship.

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