Exposing Students to Nonprofit, Public Sectors

Since 1999, the Cleveland Foundation has conducted a summer internship program that provides undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates an opportunity to work for 11 weeks in Cleveland-area nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies.


October – Organizations are invited to apply to host a summer intern

November/December/January – Interns are invited to apply to the program

February/March – Interviews with top candidates are conducted

March – Hiring decisions are made

June/August – 11-week job experience for interns takes place

The program’s objectives include:

  • Offering first-hand knowledge of the Greater Cleveland nonprofit community, its leadership, and organizations.
  • Providing meaningful career-related work experience.
  • Increasing local organizations’ capacity to conduct important short-term projects.
  • Stimulating interest in a career in the nonprofit or public sectors.
  • Exposing students to a broad range of public sector endeavors.

Information for 2017 Host Organization Applicants

The foundation’s Summer Internship Program provides a limited number of college students or recent graduates an opportunity to work in Cleveland-area nonprofit organizations or governmental agencies during the summer months. All interns are required to work full-time as designated by their host organization. In addition, interns attend a weekly seminar highlighting key organizations and programs being conducted in the local nonprofit and public sectors.

Host organizations are invited to apply beginning Sept. 30 through Oct. 24.


The following roles and responsibilities apply to host organizations:

  • Appoint a senior staff member to serve as the intern’s supervisor.
  • Provide ample supervision, feedback, and support to the intern.
  • Provide meaningful work and learning experiences for the intern. Past interns have worked on projects such as event planning for a major fundraising event, designing an audience demographic survey, developing a marketing/outreach plan and revising training materials.
  • Develop and share a work plan for the intern outlining objectives and deliverables throughout the 11-week term.
  • Provide a workspace and other resources (access to computer, reference materials, telephone) needed for the intern to complete work assignments.
  • Accept the intern as a temporary employee of your organization for the 11-week term of the internship program. The foundation provides funding to cover the intern’s stipend.
  • Attend a mandatory orientation in January 2017 at the Cleveland Foundation for selected Host Sites.
  • Organizations that have hosted an intern within the last two years are not eligible to apply. 

To Apply

  • Log into Grants Gateway
  • Click on Apply for Grant.
  • Complete the Summer Intern Host Site Application.

If your organization does not have access to our Grants Gateway, click here to complete a login request form.

Information for 2017 Summer Intern Applicants

The application period for the 2017 Summer Internship Program is Nov. 14 – Jan. 23. Interviews with semi-finalist applicants will be conducted in February. Interns will be notified of their acceptance into the program by the end of March. The internship program begins on May 31 and ends on Aug. 11, 2017. You can read more about each of our intern’s experiences on our Grantmaking Blog.

Information for Intern Applicants


Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program

Applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Applicants must be a college junior or senior in Fall 2017 or a graduating senior in Spring 2017.
  • If not a student of a local college or university, the applicant must be a resident of Greater Cleveland (Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga counties)
  • Exhibit interest in the nonprofit or public sectors
  • Must not be a relative of a member of our staff or the Cleveland Foundation Board of Directors.

Other highly desirable qualifications include:

  • A strong academic record (preferably a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above)
  • Strong English verbal and written communications skills

Helpful hints:

  • Have all documents required for the application (your resume, transcripts, essay and two letters of recommendation) ready to upload in a .pdf format
  • Documents must be uploaded before the deadline of January 23, 2017
  • The application submission process (if you have all documents ready) should take about 15 minutes

How to Apply

(If you have registered with us in the past you can skip the registration step and go to the Login link below)

  • Register for access to our online application gateway by entering your name and e-mail, and creating a login ID. An e-mail will be sent to you within 5 minutes. Please check your spam folder. Click on the link in the e-mail to complete the registration process.
  • Login (with the e-mail address you used to register), complete the internship application and upload your documents.

Required Documents (to be uploaded in .pdf format) by the application deadline:

  • Resume
  • Most recent transcript of all your college-level study.
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your academic work, employment experience or community/volunteer activities. We recommend that you upload the letters of recommendation directly into your online application. However, if your personal reference prefers to e-mail their recommendation to us directly, they may send to TCFInterns@clevefdn.org.
  • A typed personal statement of 750 words or less, double spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins.  In the essay, please describe your interest in the nonprofit or public sectors, why you are applying for the summer internship program, and your previous work and volunteer experiences. The essay will help the selection committee learn more about you and also evaluate your writing skills. 

Please email TCFInterns@clevefdn.org if there are any problems with registration.