Article by Jadeline Cao, Development & Communications Intern
As an individual deeply concerned with social justice and economic equality, I am anticipating a long career in the nonprofit and public sector, where compassion and integrity supersede the drive for higher profit margins and increased production. During my last semester of college, I sought out meaningful internship opportunities in the Austin area and, quite serendipitously, landed a position at PeopleFund as a Development and Communications Intern. After five months with PeopleFund, I could not be more appreciative of the experience I’ve had thus far, both for my professional career and personal enrichment. Having worked with multiple nonprofits before PeopleFund, I couldn’t help but wonder: what sets PeopleFund apart from other Austin nonprofits? According to GivingCity Austin, the Austin community has more nonprofits per capita than any other city in Texas; the market is saturated and every organization represents a worthy cause. What differs the most amongst nonprofit organizations, however, is how they actualize their mission statements. PeopleFund has navigated the crowded waters of public funding and community support very successfully, and it is no coincidence. An engaged work environment, strong local relations, and a comprehensive concern for the Austin community at-large are all essential components to PeopleFund’s success.
Work environment: The employees of PeopleFund are dedicated to the mission of the organization, and this mutual pride for the organization makes for a very supportive and engaged work environment. Even as a part-time intern, I was encouraged to actively participate in staff fun days and other organization-wide events. My efforts seldom went unrecognized, and because of that I became a more confident in my skills in the workplace.
Strong local relations and Community Alliances: The sustainability of this organization lies on one simple bottom line: a long term dedication to our clients (some of Austin’s most loved small businesses) and to local small businesses in general. When PeopleFund establishes a relationship with a small business or small business owner, it doesn’t end after they disperse the loan – they maintain relations to ensure that they’ve provided services of use to the client. In addition to supporting local businesses through our services, PeopleFund puts their belief in supporting local economies into practice by paying patron to Austin’s local businesses at any chance possible. From services for one of the community events, or just a few pizzas from East Side Pies for a staff meeting, PeopleFund lives and breathes small business support.
Comprehensive concern for community: PeopleFund understands that social and economic justice cannot be solved through just one avenue. That’s why throughout the years the organization has developed a number of supplementary programs that lend a hand to many underserved populations including minority/women business owners, at-risk youth, and veterans.
So to PeopleFund: Thank you for the experience and invaluable insight on how to run a successful nonprofit in the era of nonprofits.