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From Passion to Action: My Internship Experience with the Community Foundation


At the age of 6, equipped with my markers and crayons in hand, I would transform my room into a vibrant classroom. When everything was set, I would carry my baby brother and plant him in front of my whiteboard. Just as I would finish writing the day's lesson on the board, I would turn around to find that he had already crawled away. My dreams of becoming a teacher came to a crashing halt, but the passion stayed – I wanted to make a difference in people's lives.

Throughout my education, I was committed to living up to my dream. I came to the Biggest Little City in August 2019 and immediately found a community. The sense of community in northern Nevada was strong, evidenced by nonprofit organizations dedicated to their causes and the festivals that lined Virginia Street throughout the summer. I wanted to get involved but wasn't sure how yet. My advisor at the Reynolds School of Journalism recommended the Community Foundation marketing internship. I wasn't sure just yet what a community foundation did, but the words on my laptop screen told me I was at the right place: connecting people who care with causes that matter.

Like many of my peers, I worried about the internship and what the intern's duties might entail. How involved would I get to be? My concerns faded immediately after I stepped foot into the office. Since day one, I was presented with opportunities to practice the skills I had learned in class and challenged to learn more. I produced graphics for our social media and the monthly e-newsletter Community Matters. I supported planning events such as the 2022 annual meeting and the 25th-anniversary celebration. I drafted press releases, award packets, and more. I sat in on staff meetings, committee meetings, and more to learn the inner workings of marketing. Even when a task might seem as simple as a blog, I needed to learn and research more to understand the inner workings of the Community Foundation. Each time I was amazed to learn something new about the High School Giving Circle, Village on Sage Street, and the countless other projects going on.

Outside of my day-to-day marketing duties, I was able to learn more about how each department worked together to make a community foundation happen. I learned about grant writing and different types of funds. I was invited to attend events and meet other inspiring community leaders. I even got a chance to draft a grant proposal! Although I was on the marketing team, everyone at the Community Foundation offered their mentorship and taught me something new.

My internship has broadened my understanding of public relations and marketing, taught me all that philanthropy can create, and took my passion and turned it into tangible actions. I am grateful for the empowerment and trust the Community Foundation team has provided me. As my time at the Community Foundation comes to an end, I am inspired by the team to continue connecting with my community in my professional and personal life.

Want to join the team? Internship opportunities are available for the summer and fall in the accounting and marketing departments. Candidates interested should apply at

About Ashley Martinez: As a soon-to-be graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, Ashley is focused on pursuing a career path in government relations, leveraging her dual degree in International Affairs and Journalism.