Guess Who’s Back, Back Again? | #1

It’s been two weeks since I’ve moved back to Detroit and today I found myself rereading the blog posts I wrote last summer while I was living and working here. I never thought I would return to the city so quickly, but as I read this part of my final 2016 blog post I realized it was only a matter of time:

“I’ll absolutely be returning to Detroit sometime in my life. Whether it’s just to revisit some of my favorite places and people from this summer or another couple months stint living in a third floor walk up in Midtown, I won’t be able to stay away from this city.”

The best part is I’m living in a third floor walk up, in Midtown. Only this time the building actually has a name and when you shut the door too hard the lights stay on, so I’d say I lucked out?

This summer I’ll be working long days and many weekends as the Mawby Intern with the Council of Michigan Foundations to put together the largest conference for youth grantmakers in the world. This has been no small feat for any of the past Mawby interns and no doubt it won’t be for me. The conference this year comes with a particular cause for celebration, and maybe mild panic on my part: 2017 is the 25th Anniversary of the Youth Grantmakers Summer Leadership Conference.

Of course this is absolutely incredible! The 25 year mark is a huge testament to the effectiveness of the Michigan youth philanthropy model and I’m incredibly excited to play such a huge part in celebrating this history. But all celebrations need to be planned! The most logical way to recognize this milestone is to involve all those that have participated and built up youth philanthropy in Michigan, and I’ve learned quickly that 25 years worth of youth grantmakers are not easy to reach. Many of these people who started in the program as teengers have now moved away, launched careers, and started families. While coordinating speakers, sessions, and housing logistics are all in a days work, I know it’ll be our alumni events that will put my skills to the test.

I remember the moment I knew this internship would be a personal goal of mine. I was 14 and working in my hometown as the youth program intern at the Battle Creek Community Foundation after attending the Youth Grantmakers Summer Leadership Conference for the first time. While doing some research I came across the job description for the Mawby internship. It sounded like the perfect way for me to learn more about what I loved to do, but seemed so far away and out of reach. I wouldn’t even be a college student for four more years! After starting to work more in the field of philanthropy I found opportunities at organizations far away, in D.C. and California, but I missed the way we did things in Michigan and the Mawby internship felt like a years long dream I had left unfulfilled. Now, I’m so happy to be able to say that I’m planning the conference that first led me down this path, and I can’t wait to see the culmination of 25 years of youth philanthropy in action.

Oh and If you’ve been following closely, I should let you know my favorite security guard greeted me in the parking lot on my first day: “Back again huh?”

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