As you walk around the headquarters of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation in Concord, NH, you sense that it’s a special place. First of all, the building used to be a Baptist church, among others. The walls along the corridors and the offices and conference rooms are decorated with motivational quotes that shed light on the Foundation’s mission, along with a huge New Hampshire map in the center of the main hall. One of my favorite quotes is on the left of the map from Winston Churchill that reads “You make a living by what you do. You make a life by what you give.”
The Foundation is New Hampshire’s statewide community foundation established in 1962. It’s one of the nation’s largest community foundations with 675 million dollars in assets. It manages a growing collection of more than 1,800 funds created by generous individuals, families and businesses, and awards nearly 40 million dollars in grants and scholarships every year.
Beyond this, the Foundation is also at the forefront of impact investing—investments made with the intention to generate measurable social or environmental impact alongside a financial return—among philanthropic institutions. During my summer internship, I was working on the Foundation’s Impact Investment Fund with the Fund’s co-managers, CFO Michael Wilson and Senior Program Officer Kevin Peterson. Due to the relatively young age and moderate (but growing) size of the Fund, there was a lot to do in every aspect of fund management. Besides other projects, I conducted due diligence on several impact investment opportunities, reviewed and improved current portfolio and impact measurement practices, prepared communications documents, and also managed certain business development efforts.
Overall, the internship was a stimulating, personally rewarding and intellectually challenging experience. As I did a considerable amount of work independently, I had to find the right balance between the different projects while making sure that my deliverables were ready in time and on point. In the meantime, I learned a lot about New Hampshire, impact investing and the world of philanthropy in general. The internship also taught me that “the most important political office is that of the private citizen” (Louis Brandeis).