Sam Coyle ’24

Peace Development Fund, Amherst, MA

Over the summer, I had the pleasure of interning at the Peace Development Fund (PDF), a public foundation dedicated to funding and supporting grassroots, social activist organizations across America. At PDF, there are many types of funds that grant-seeking organizations can receive in accordance with their interests and principles. In addition to financial support, PDF provides partner organizations with management advice. In 1981 PDF was founded as an anti-nuclear weapons organization; this focus on ridding the world of destructive forces and promoting world peace is still felt strongly at PDF today.

At the start of the summer, I mainly accomplished logistical tasks. Much of my time was spent on updating PDF’s website. I had never used WordPress before, so I watched tutorial videos on YouTube and read articles online. In addition to website work, I updated PDF’s social media calendar and wrote blurbs for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts. In between these two main tasks, I created one-pagers about PDF-sponsored initiatives, updated pre-existing communications documents and wrote press releases.

Toward the middle of the summer, I began focusing most of my attention on my biggest task: conducting research on and writing an article about PDF’s Braiding New Worlds (BNW) Fund. Established in 2021, the BNW Fund is dedicated to funding youth-led organizations around the country. In preparation for this article, I went online and read about every new partner organization and conducted broader research on youth organizing. In addition, I held interviews with a BNW Fund grant distribution committee member and the leader of one of the selected organizations. Ultimately, I am grateful to have published an article about this tremendous cause.

Although this internship was remote, I managed to make meaningful connections with other interns and supervisors. During weekly meetings we discussed our projects and goals, and our email communication was always efficient and helpful. Overall, the work environment was quite hands-off, which I believe enabled me to complete tasks to the best of my ability.

Professionally speaking, interning at a public foundation solidified my passion for advancing social justice and finding grassroots solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Now I definitely see myself working within the nonprofit sector. In terms of what PDF showed me about my academic path, I’d like to take more courses at Williams pertaining to public policy and America’s socioeconomic problems and solutions. Now more than ever, it is the critical time to advance solutions to intergenerational issues like climate change and economic stratification.

Interning at PDF taught me a lot, and I am so thankful to the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and the Kraft Family for their support and generosity. My experience was enhanced tremendously because of their commitment.