As a summer intern for The Alaska Community Foundation, there is much for me to learn. What are funds? Who are Affiliates? How do grants work?
I have enjoyed finding the answers to all of these questions. There is another question, however, that has led to a particularly intriguing journey of discovery:
What is The Philanthropy Hub?
This is a question with an obvious answer and a larger one.
On the surface, The Philanthropy Hub is a collection of nonprofits, foundations, and other organizations that share office space with ACF. ACF provides shared resources and services such as reception and Information Technology. As one can imagine, these shared services are particularly appealing to smaller nonprofits; they provide a cost-effective solution to an organization’s administrative needs.
While organizations are likely drawn to The Philanthropy Hub by the notion of shared services, there are intangible benefits that are just as – if not more – important for the organizations that share the space. In my work with members of The Hub, I have found that the true heart of The Philanthropy Hub is the collaboration that occurs between and among the organizations that live in it.
The Hub is a space where conversations coalesce, where solutions are brainstormed, where the people who have questions can find the people who have answers.
In my time at ACF, I have been able to learn about issues as wide-ranging as homelessness, summer learning loss, and obesity without ever having to leave the office. The people in The Philanthropy Hub are the greatest resources I have for learning about and solving problems in Alaska.
It should be apparent, then, that there is no better place for a community foundation to live. Community foundations take pride in being aware of and responsive to the needs of the communities they serve. The structure of community foundations is designed to meet a community’s needs. At ACF, The Philanthropy Hub is an extension of the community foundation’s grand design. It furthers ACF’s mission by putting ACF in a literal hub of community issues. It makes ACF even more aware and even more responsive.
Interning at ACF is a privilege. It is a privilege to learn about issues affecting Alaska from multiple, knowledgeable perspectives. It is a privilege to assist the incredible people and organizations that make up The Philanthropy Hub. Most of all, it is a privilege to work for an organization that recognizes the importance of community so wholly that it decided to bring the community to its front door, and invite it in.