Foundation Intern Spotlight: Meaghan McCarter, The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County
We talked with Meaghan McCarter, an intern with The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, to learn more about their experience working in philanthropy. They shared meaningful experiences that they encountered as an intern, as well as their intent to continue serving their community long into the future.
What was your area of study at Ball State University and what are your career goals?
I just graduated from Ball State with a double major in political science and philosophy as well as a minor in sociology. As for career goals, I’m not too sure at the moment—still keeping my options open. I actually just moved away from Indiana to Virginia and am taking a moment to venture and see where my interests truly lie. It will likely involve politics, education, and community engagement. The nonprofit world is definitely a consideration for me.
How did you learn about the internship opportunity with the The Community Foundation?
I heard about this opportunity through Ball State completely by coincidence. I had been applying for summer jobs when I received an email about summer internship opportunities from the career center, and the community leadership intern position stood out to me. I had previously volunteered for a community foundation when I was in high school in Ohio, so I had some familiarity with the work of community foundations.
I applied to the The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County and, within the same day, I received an email back for an interview. I was hired right after that interview.
What type of work have you been involved with at the The Community Foundation?
I was hired to help with a specific project and to communicate awareness for this project across the county. This project involves a neighborhood revitalization partner called Pathstone and has been ongoing since 2017. A strategic grant was awarded to them by the Foundation to document through video a demonstration of a rehabilitation of a meth contaminated home in Muncie.
Basically, a few years ago this nonprofit organization bought a house contaminated by meth with the intention of cleaning and renovating the home with best practices to sell as affordable housing. For context, meth is the only substance abuse drug that leaves a residue in a home and is therefore environmentally unsafe. Following state and federal law regulations, Pathstone remediated the home and partnered with the Foundation to work together, utilizing the video and additional information to spread the word about cleaning meth contaminated homes in the area as a neighborhood revitalization strategy.
I did additional research and interviews to create a rollout plan surrounding this project for public outreach purposes to leave for Pathstone and Foundation staff to continue education and advocacy for best practices, community support, and to reach local and state governments.
What has been the most meaningful or enlightening about your internship experience?
One of the most memorable experiences during my internship was actually quite recent. I participated in IPA’s Legislative Roundtable. I was able to listen to representatives and senators from my area and learn about the areas that our region has been concentrating its focus and dedicating its money. In addition, I was able to hear on a broader scale what my community foundation and others have been working on from different perspectives.
In addition, I was able to speak on my own research surrounding The Community Foundation’s partnership with Pathstone. I was able to directly let these influential politicians know that Delaware County still has dozens of empty homes—still just sitting with meth residue that could be useful for neighborhood revitalization efforts, which is important to the Foundation. Through opportunities such as this Roundtable, I was able to educate and advocate about gaps and best practices to potentially encourage legislators to think about the impact of this issue.
How was your experience at the recent Community Foundation Internship: Work for Good Summit?
The Work for Good Summit was super fun and incredibly well organized! I got to travel to Indianapolis, which is always fun. On top of that, there was free food!
The best part, though, was the opportunity to speak with previous interns currently working across different sectors of philanthropy. I think that sometimes when you’re an intern you can feel like you’re just an intern. Being in this environment showed me that we are being heard and doing good for our communities.
Has this experience changed your understanding of the community or career path?
Like I mentioned previously, I have volunteered with a community foundation in the past. So, in some ways this internship has been a familiar experience. However, the intricacies of my work and the specific regulations of Indiana’s community foundations as opposed to Ohio’s, have allowed me to learn and grow within this space.
Most notably, my perspective of the community at large has shifted. Prior to this position I didn’t realize the sheer size of the substance abuse problem afflicting my community. While this has changed over the past few years—and COVID has certainly altered things as well—substance abuse is definitely still an issue that needs to be addressed.