Effect positive social change.

Vermont has approximately 6,276 nonprofit organizations. How will you get involved? The Nonprofits & Social Change internship program allows students to intern directly with organizations that are working to positively impact Vermont's communities.

Students: Enroll in CAS 2920 C

“Nonprofits play a fundamental role in creating more equitable and thriving communities. Nonprofits provide a way for people to work together for the common good, transforming shared beliefs and hopes into action. They give shape to our boldest dreams, highest ideals, and noblest causes. America’s 1.3 million charitable nonprofits feed, heal, shelter, educate, inspire, enlighten, and nurture people of every age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status ... [and] they foster civic engagement and leadership, drive economic growth, and strengthen the fabric of our communities. Every single day ... every person in the United States benefits from the work of nonprofits in one way or another, whether they realize it or not.”

- The National Council of Nonprofits report, “Nonprofit Impact Matters"

Why nonprofits?

The nonprofit sector makes up a large and important part of Vermont's and the United States' economy. According to the National Council of Nonprofit, 12.3 million people are employed by nonprofits in the United States, exceeding the number of people employed by most other US industries, including construction, transportation, and finance). Common Good Vermont reports that as of August 2022, there are 6,276 nonprofits serving Vermonters; and that in 2021, the annual revenue of the Vermont nonprofit sector exceeded the combined income of Vermont's construction and manufacturing industries.

Nonprofit organizations, by nature, reinvest their proceeds into supporting their mission, whatever that may be. Such as, supporting individuals and families, working for social change, protecting the environment, supporting the arts, etc.

The Student Experience:

Students in this program will learn about the nonprofit sector and intern with a nonprofit organization. Students will fill out an interest form after registration to assist with placing them with an organization that meets their desired interests and goal.

The organizations' missions will be varied, with focuses on arts & culture, historic preservation, housing, civil rights & liberties protections, healthcare, education, human services, conservation, and wildlife. Missions might include organizations working on issues such as climate change; AIDS, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases; arts and culture; crime and law; suicide prevention; civil rights; children and youth; homeless and housing; animals; food insecurity; LBGTQ+; reproductive rights; literacy; seniors; veterans; race; voting rights; and water. The focus could be local, statewide, regional, national or international, depending on the nonprofit. Onsite internships will include local Burlington nonprofit organizations, and nonprofits in neighboring counties and towns. Other internships will be virtual.

This program will help students develop many skills that are essential for working with nonprofits.

Internships may include the following types of tasks or work:

  • Communications, Marketing, and Outreach
  • Advocacy
  • Policy Development, Needs Analysis, and Data Management
  • Administrative and Operations Management
  • Fundraising, Grant Writing, Financial Management
  • Direct Service
  • Research
  • Governance
  • Strategic Planning

Time commitment: Students are expected to complete 120 hours of work for their internship site (which is arouns 8-10 hours per week) in addition to attending a weekly class and completing weekly assignments. This program is designed to match the amount of work required of a typical 3-credit academic course.

Program learning objectives:

  1. Increase knowledge of the underlying, systemic issues being addressed by nonprofits in Vermont.
  2. Participate in a hands-on internship at a Vermont nonprofit, learning and improving new skills and knowledge while providing valuable assistance to a community organization and strengthening the fabric of Vermont communities.
  3. Communicate on-the-ground findings via written work and projects that integrate hands-on learning into academics.

Faculty Mentor:

Barbara Rachelson (she/her)

Barbara Rachelson is a social worker, consultant, and a state legislator representing part of Burlington, Vermont in the Vermont House of Representatives. Barbara has over 40 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Her past work includes Interim Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Vermont, Executive Director of Lund; Executive Director, Michigan Network of Runaway, Homeless and Youth Services; Director of Outpatient Services, The Counseling Service of Addison County; Director of Program Development, Spectrum Youth Services; and Program Director, of Detroit Transit Alternative runaway shelter. Barbara’s nonprofit board experience includes Human Rights for Kids, the ACLU of Vermont, Fletcher Allen Health Care, and the Vermont Children’s Forum. Barbara has an MSW in policy and planning from the University of Michigan School of Social Work and has been a fieldwork instructor in the MSW programs at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and the University of Vermont; as well as the BSW program at Champlain College.



Contact the College of Arts & Sciences Internship Team with questions.

Credit information:

The Nonprofits & Social Change Community of Practice counts as elective internship credit.

If students' internship placements are related to their major or minor, they can request that the credit count toward their major or minor by contacting their department chairperson.