It’s difficult to have faith in the unknown, so you can imagine the fear I felt when Chrissi Rawak, one of our assistant vice presidents, came to me in August of 2006 and said, “Okay, this internship program is going to happen next summer. Let’s get started!”
Started? There were still so many things that needed to be decided! What would the classroom component look like? What about professional development? Would the course be for credit? We had decided to pay our interns, but how much? And what if no one wanted an intern? What if no one applied? I asked a lot of “what if” questions, but knew that at some point I had to have faith in the work we had done in the previous year and confidence that we could handle whatever challenges occurred in the future.
I will never forget the date November 28, 2006, because it was the day we received our very first application. I printed out Brian Restuccia’s application, ran down the hallway, and burst into Chrissi’s office (during a meeting), “Someone applied! We have an applicant!” Interestingly enough, Brian received the first offer into the program and he started the tradition of the D-SIP class gift, where the interns give to D-SIP at the end of their experience.
We are now entering year five, and since that momentous day in November, we have had 730 applicants to the program, 86 interns have completed D-SIP (24 more will join us this summer), we have won three major awards, seven institutions have started programs based on ours, and 28 of our graduates are working in the fundraising profession.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wisely said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” His words couldn’t ring more true for us. We didn’t know what would happen, but because the leadership in our office is visionary and our past supervisors and interns were pioneers, the program has been a great success. They, especially those supervisors and interns from 2007, took the first step in faith and helped build the “staircase” that is the amazing program we have today. A heartfelt thank you to all of you.
D-SIP Program Director Office of University Development