Whitman has received a grant from the Donald and Virginia Sherwood Trust to further strengthen its bond with the Walla Walla community. The $235,000 grant is a continuation of last year's grant, which established the Sherwood Trust Internship Endowment and enabled the college to launch its popular Community Fellows program.
"Thanks to the generosity of Don and Virginia Sherwood, the Sherwood Trust makes remarkable investments in the people and community of Walla Walla," said John Bogley, vice president for development and college relations. "The internships that this gift funds will not only strengthen the not-for-profit community in the Walla Walla Valley, but it will also provide great learning and work experiences for Whitman students."
Sherwood-funded internships are designated for local non-profit organizations, governmental agencies or schools, and they serve to complement Whitman's existing internship programs by providing valuable experiential learning and leadership opportunities to students.
This year's grant will also allow for the expansion of the Community Fellows program. Launched in the fall of 2012 by Whitman's Student Engagement Center, with support from the Sherwood Trust, this program provides funding for a cohort of Whitman juniors and seniors to fill much-needed positions at local public agencies and nonprofits.
Eight students served as community fellows during the program's inaugural year, completing paid internships at organizations including Helpline of Walla, the Department of Court Services, the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce and others. They were paid by the college and worked up to 10 hours a week for 10 weeks during the fall semester and 13 weeks during the spring semester.
"We are extraordinarily excited to not only continue but to enhance these very intensive year-long projects for juniors and seniors at some of our community's most creative and important non-profit organizations," said Noah Leavitt, assistant dean for student engagement.
In addition to their targeted work experience, these students received professional mentoring and career development guidance, as well as the chance to network with local leaders. This year, Whitman will offer 10 Community Fellow positions.
"This program lets us deepen our connection to very innovative local organizations that deal with issues students want to understand," Leavitt said.
The Sherwood Internship Endowment recognizes Whitman's interest in expanding connections with the Walla Walla community and honors the Sherwood Trust's interest in serving the people of the Walla Walla Valley.
"Preparing our students to lead in their communities and in their professional lives is a fundamental component of our Now Is the Time Campaign," Bogley said. "These internships help significantly in addressing this goal. Our thanks to the Sherwood Trust for their support of Whitman, this program, and the community."