Information for Host Organization Applicants

Host Site applications for the 2024 Summer Internship Program are open through Friday, January 5, 2024.

The program provides a limited number of college students, recent graduates, and first year graduate students an opportunity to work in Cleveland-area nonprofit organizations or governmental agencies during the summer months. 


An organization should consider applying to host an intern if it:

  • is located in Cuyahoga, Lake or Geauga counties
  • is able to hire the intern as a full-time, temporary employee of the organization and provide the workspace, equipment, and resources that are required for the intern to complete their work assignments (which can be supported through grant funds)
  • has a vision for mentoring an emerging leader and a staff member that is available to serve as the intern’s supervisor – offering support, learning opportunities, and feedback throughout the summer
  • has one (or a few) short-term meaningful projects that an intern could truly move forward as part of their work plan in about 11 weeks
  • is open to providing feedback and engaging in ongoing communication with the Cleveland Foundation and/or other supervisors
    • There will be approximately 5 opportunities for supervisors to formally convene throughout the process (before interviews with candidates, pre-summer, during orientation with the interns, mid-summer, and during the interns’ farewell)
    • An end-of-summer survey will be available in the Grants Gateway portal in lieu of a final grant report

To apply: 

The application is available through the Cleveland Foundation’s Grants Gateway. If your organization is already registered within Grants Gateway, you can log-in with your username and password to access the application. If your organization needs to register, you can request access through the purple “Grants” box and then proceed through the registration and application processes.


Generally, what criteria is considered when making host site selections?

Up to 20 organizations are selected annually to host interns. First and foremost, organizations need to have a meaningful and robust project that an intern would be able to move forward over the course of 11 weeks as well as the capacity to offer ongoing supervision and mentoring. Beyond this, to ensure that the overall pool of host organizations is representative of the diversity of our region, the timeliness and urgency of the project, sector, skills required of an intern, geographical location, population(s) served, and/or leadership may also be considered holistically.

If my organization was recently selected to host an intern or was not selected for a recent cycle, are we eligible to re-apply?

Yes, whether your organization hosted an intern last summer or has yet to be selected, you are welcome to apply. While it is not the main criteria used in selection, in the event of a particularly competitive cycle where the number of applications received far exceeds the budget available for the program, how recently an organization hosted may be considered.

Generally, what is the process for matching interns with organizations?

Interns complete a general application for the program. After an initial screening process, applicants move forward for semi-finalist interviews with Cleveland Foundation staff and alumni. At this stage, candidates are asked to review the position descriptions co-created with host organizations and to come prepared with their top choices according to their interests and skillsets. At the finalist stage, host organizations are then sent the application materials for at least 2 candidates and are asked to make final interview arrangements directly. Host organizations stay in communication with the Cleveland Foundation as they select and/or request interviews with additional candidates.

If our organization is selected, are we guaranteed to be matched with an intern?

Predominantly yes, organizations that are selected to host an intern are successfully paired with a candidate for the summer. Should extenuating circumstances arise at any point in the process, Cleveland Foundation staff will remain in communication with the affected host organization(s) to mutually decide on a best path forward.

What are some examples of projects from recent summers?

Interns have been responsible for taking the lead on projects such as:

  • Creating informational displays for installation within neighborhood institutions, developing a volunteer manual, designing community outreach materials, and conducting a GIS survey of potential environmental sites
  • Finalizing and executing plans for key aspects of programming for an important anniversary
  • Conducting outreach to sponsors and coordinating logistics for an annual fundraising event
  • Researching, writing, and supporting the organization’s advocacy agenda
  • Expanding the capacity of a program through running reports, conducting research, and coordinating meetings between agencies and donors
  • Deepening an organization’s reach in the community by planning events, identifying and engaging with partners, and developing marketing content for their newly established newsletter and podcast


What are some highlights shared by supervisors following their experience with the program? 

“I had a great experience … I would just say allow the intern to learn from you and allow yourself to learn from them.” “The pool of candidates for interns is of very high professionalism – be prepared to give real projects without hesitation.” “I would say that this is an incredible program and a wonderful opportunity for supervisors to get to know other organizations within the Cleveland nonprofit and public sectors.”

For additional questions about the program, please contact:

Stephanie Molnar, Program Manager, Leadership Development