Haley Varnadoe ’19 (Marietta, Ohio) interned this summer at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO), a non-profit community-fund organization with a mission to preserve and promote philanthropic efforts in the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio.
“I worked with the development team on a variety of tasks,” Varnadoe said. “I conducted a lot of donor research to help with donor cultivation. I gained experience in legal research by investigating how various tax laws affect non-profit organizations, which was interesting considering I’m an economics major, and it was very rewarding for me to see FAO utilize my findings.”
During the internship, Varnadoe also managed a community fund’s new social media outlets and helped them with a new fundraising campaign. In addition, she gained experience in the day-to-day happenings of a non-profit, such as assisting with board meetings and collaborating with other departments in the office.
Varnadoe spent most of the summer working with Heather Keesee, vice president of gift planning for Southern Ohio, and Holly Shelton, vice president of gift planning.
“Heather, a licensed attorney, also serves as the in-house counsel for FAO,” she said. “Since I have plans to attend law school, it has been so valuable to see how attorneys can use their skills to benefit non-profit organizations.”
Varnadoe said she was interested in working with FAO because it would give her the opportunity to combine the majority of her interests into one internship.
“It was very helpful to use my background in finance coming into this internship, because it quickly helped me understand the different kinds of gifts that FAO receives,” she explained. “I knew Heather was an attorney, so I was drawn into working for an attorney who works in the non-profit sector. Too many times I’ve fallen into the trap of letting myself think that legal work has to be done for private interests, but this internship showed me that a juris doctor degree can be used to benefit a community outside of a courtroom, especially in a non-profit setting.”
Last summer, Varnadoe interned at the Danville Chamber of Commerce, which gave her the experience in learning about the economy of a small town. She said she’s always been interested in economic development and FAO has shown her how philanthropies can play a role in developing an area economically, socially and culturally.
“To me, this experience stands to show that multiple personal interests can be combined into a job you love,” she concluded.
“A liberal arts education at Centre College has taught me that it is completely OK to be pulled in multiple directions with professional interests, and interning at FAP has shown me that it is possible to combine them all into one fulfilling job. I get to use economics, legal work and a passion for philanthropy all at once.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
August 17, 2018