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In recent years the Triangle Community Foundation has begun hosting an annual luncheon in the Triangle to bring together the community to discuss things that really matter. The event is aptly named, “What Matters?” and this past year focused on “Our Kids.” These last few days at the Foundation I am helping to do some general brainstorming around what the event will look like this coming Spring, and potentially who some speakers could be. It’s all still in the planning stage and I won’t give anything away – but I can guarantee it’s going to be awesome based on the ideas already being thrown around here! Dreaming up what this event might look like has been a really fun way to wrap up my internship and also has inspired my final post this week.

I’ve learned and experienced so much this summer, and coming out of it I’m asking myself some big questions about how I can use what I’ve learned here to be a better public administrator and employee in the future. So, what matters?

  • Knowledge Matters – “sharing community knowledge” was the main focus of my entire internship. Truthfully, I have spent so much time researching, writing and talking about knowledge and information sharing I might be biased… But really, education has the opportunity to create so much change in this world. In the frame of my time here at the Foundation – educating donors and sharing knowledge with them can transform the landscape of this community! Teaching about problems in the community that need attention can redirect dollars to the areas that need it most, and teaching skills in philanthropy can help donors appreciate the importance of funding administrative costs in addition to programs. Additionally, communication is a two way path, and hearing back from the community about what they need and how best to serve them is imperative too.
  • Balance Matters – You need to love what you do and be committed to your work, but unplug occasionally and take vacations seriously. You need to come in ready to work your hardest, but also have time to connect with coworkers and laugh every day. You need to do the challenging work that needs to get done, but also have time for cookie parties and office yoga. Balance is so key in all aspects of life, and especially work-life balance. The Foundation has painted such a great picture for me of what balance can and should look like at an organization.
  • Equity Matters – I won’t get into this again since I went into this in my last post, but really and truly equity matters so much. No matter what organization I find myself in after graduation next spring, I will be sure there are conversations around equity happening there like the ones I’ve been so excited to be a part of here at Triangle Community Foundation.

Having great coworkers also matters, and I feel beyond lucky to have formed connections with all the staff here this summer. They are brilliant, hardworking, kind, passionate, and just generally a ton of fun. Having a goodbye breakfast with customized gifts and colorful wrapping just shows how welcoming everyone has been to us in the 10 weeks we’ve spent here this summer. Having to say goodbye is almost impossible – which is why Ebony and I have already decided we will have to make our way back for visits during future Food Truck Fridays and every other chance we get!

Thanks for following along with my ramblings this summer, and make sure to keep checking in with the Triangle Community Foundation and all the wonderful work I’m sure they’re going to keep doing to help create a thriving community for all. This summer experience has been so rewarding and I have so much new knowledge I’m excited to take back to the classroom in just three short weeks!

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