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Community Leadership & Service


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June 2 - July 27, 2018

April 4: Special Extended Deadline

Spend your summer in the nation’s capital with students from around the country and world who are all passionate about service and affecting change in their communities. The intensive schedule is designed to maximize your time in Washington by combining learning in the classroom with practical internship experience. The Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service (IPVS) will put you on the front-lines working to solve local and national issues.

Are you active in your community and on your campus? Are you interested in exploring a career in the nonprofit sector? If so, this is the program for you. Employers are looking for recent graduates with experience, and the best way to stand out after graduation is to complete an internship and make connections now.

The Fund for American Studies has sponsored academic internship programs in Washington, DC for 50 years. Our objective is to provide a real-world professional and academic experience for college students to help prepare them for responsible leadership in the future.

Our comprehensive package includes a guaranteed internship placement, courses for transferable credit, furnished housing, a variety of guest lectures and briefings, as well as opportunities for professional development and networking. We truly provide the ultimate summer experience in Washington.

The program consists of the following major components:

  • LIVE: Furnished housing on George Washington University’s campus, just steps from the White House and Department of State, as well as the Foggy Bottom Metrorail station.
  • LEARN: Academic courses with credit through George Mason University.  GMU was recently named one of the top 100 research universities in the U.S. by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Classes are held in state-of-the-art facilities at George Mason University’s Arlington campus, conveniently located just four Metro stops away from student housing.
  • INTERN: Internships with national nonprofit organizations, local charities and foundations throughout the Washington area. Each site is accessible to public transportation, making it easy to get from home to work to class and back again.
  • CONNECT: Site briefings at key Washington institutions, guest lectures and panel discussions featuring nonprofit leaders and scholars.
  • SERVE: Take part in the class philanthropy project that will directly impact a deserving organization in the Washington DC area.


Your participation also includes these exclusive benefits designed to make your summer in DC an experience to remember:

  • Roommate matching with other institute students based upon compatibility criteria.
  • Easy access to the safe and affordable Metro train and bus system.
  • Full access to campus resources, including libraries, computer labs and much more.
  • Comprehensive orientation to the program, campus and the city upon your arrival.
  • Dedicated program staff members who are available to communicate with you about your internship placement, financial aid and general questions in the months leading up to the program.
  • Continued staff support while you are in Washington to ensure that you have an amazing experience. In addition to the full time, year-round program staff who will get to know you and help you throughout the summer, there will be alumni living in housing and serving as Program Advisors.
  • Professional development seminars on topics including job searching, public speaking and networking.
  • A mentor program where you are matched with a DC professional in your field of interest of interest.
  • Planned social events where you can connect with almost 400 other student leaders participating in LIVE. LEARN. INTERN. programs. These events may include: a trip to a Nationals baseball game, a student BBQ, volunteer projects, canoeing on the Potomac and a trip to Mt. Vernon.
  • An active network of over 16,000 alumni worldwide to join upon the completion of the program.

Find Out More

Be sure to check out the tabs to your left to read more about all aspects of the program. We accept applications on a rolling basis, so start your application anytime by clicking on the “Apply Now” link on the left-hand menu. Our staff is here to answer any question you may have – please see “Contact Us” for details on how to reach us.

“IPVS is a program that allows you to reach outside your comfort zone and expand your horizons. Working and living in our nation's capital has been a life-changing experience that I will never forget and also introduced me to friends I will have forever.”

Julia St. Jean, Boston College
Intern, Horton’s Kids, Inc.


Students should plan to arrive on Saturday, June 2. Students will be allowed to check into their on-campus apartments at between 10:00am - 2:00pm. Orientation activities will be planned for that evening and during the next few days.

Participants will be required to move out of the apartments on Friday, July 27 by 11:00am. Further details on arrival logistics, registration and orientation will be provided as the summer approaches.

2018 General Weekly Schedule

This schedule is only meant to give an idea of the summer’s general structure.  It is subject to change according to events and briefings. You will receive updated weekly calendars in class and by e-mail throughout the summer.

9:00AM – 5:00PM        Internships

9:00AM – 3:00PM        Internships
4:00PM – 7:00PM         Behavioral Economics for Nonprofits
7:30PM – 8:30PM         Guest Lecture Series

9:00AM – 5:00PM        Internships

9:00AM – 5:00PM        Internships

9:00AM – 12:00PM     Behavioral Economics for Nonprofits

Students opting to participate in elective courses may have slightly less time at their internships. Please click here to view the Elective Course Schedule.

Saturday & Sunday
Optional Weekend Activities Provided:activities can include canoeing on the Potomac River, attending a Washington Nationals Baseball Game, or visiting a museum.

Board of Visitors

The Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service board of visitors is comprised of prominent working professionals in the DC and Indianapolis communities. They voluntarily assist in the planning of and fundraising for the Institute as well as offer their support with guest lecturers and internship placement. Their focus is to ensure that all students leave with an enhanced understanding of the functionality of government and a valuable experience that will benefit their future career goals.

Allison Coles
Animal Welfare League of Arlington

Brenda Chamberlain
Brenda Chamberlain Consulting

Ed Fones
Volunteer Leadership Director
YMCA of Metropolitan Washington

James Francavilla
Regional Chief Development Officer
American Red Cross

Kyle Hybl (’91 Alumnus)
General Counsel
El Pomar Foundation

Kara Johnson
Director of Development
Boys and Girls Club of America

Les Lenkowsky
Professor of Public Affairs and Philanthropic Studies
Indiana University

Erin Slater ('99 Alumna)
Intentional Consultants, LLC.

Daniel Westerhof (’02 Alumna)
MBA Candidate
Yale School of Management

Molly Whalen
Chief Development & Communications Officer
Capital City Public Charter School

DISCLAIMER: Members of the IPVS Board of Visitors serve in a personal capacity and do not represent their listed employers.