Letter to Doris: What the 2018 Summer Interns Learned From Their Experience with Doris’ Foundations

Aside from our dedicated staff and volunteers, we work with passionate interns who help make our grantmaking and Doris’ philanthropic vision possible.  Collectively, our work culminates in offering a hand-up to individuals as they work to stabilize their lives.

What we love about the internship program is that it allows for the next generation of leaders to engage in a unique style of philanthropy, one that gives directly to individuals.  They also learn about Doris’ lifelong commitment to individuals and her kind, yet practical, approach to problem solving.  Our hope is that these young philanthropic leaders are then inspired to dedicate their time, talent, and energy to their local communities.

Our 2018 summer interns wrote a letter to Doris about what they learned over the last few months:

Dear Doris,

We have thought a lot about what we want to say to you, and about how to thank you for what you created. Words can hardly describe all that we have gained from working at the Letters Foundation.

Each of us has learned so much this summer. We’re all in college, but college doesn’t teach students the kind of things that we have learned here. None of us have come across any classes that are called “Intro to Compassion and Empathy,” or “Hard Luck 101: How to Help” – though we wish those existed!

College is also different from working at your Foundation because at our respective campuses, we aren’t necessarily surrounded by students who are interested in working in this sector. To be fair, jobs like this are hard to do. We’ve spent our summer thinking critically and creatively, and working alongside volunteers and staff who are here every day because your mission rings true to them.

Jobs like this teach people about work ethic and the importance of working together as a team.

Jobs like this teach people how to care for others who really need it.

Jobs like this are also pretty hard to come by, so thank you for making this job a reality for us.

Doris, you gave us a professional environment where we could learn and grow. We were able to ask questions—all the time— to everyone, about everything. Each of us felt genuinely welcomed by every single person who works or volunteers here at the Foundation, and for that we are especially grateful. While working here, we met so many different people with so many different experiences, from social workers, to pilates instructors, to teachers, to zookeepers. Each of them is thoroughly dedicated, ambitious, and loving. All of them work together toward one common goal that you set out for them: to make a difference, to give a hand-up, to be there when the going gets tough.

We have learned so much here, and we’ve stumbled across a lot of surprises along the way:

  • Giving away money is a lot harder than it sounds
  • People can be eternally grateful for something as small as a phone call
  • Bubble wrap is really hard to put through a scanner
  • Listening to someone else is the best way to start helping them
  • Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something
  • You can fit seven large dogs into one small office
  • The world would be nothing without volunteers
  • All it takes is one letter to change someone’s life

Through all of these learning experiences and surprises, us interns agree that each of us has changed for the better this summer. We’ve grown more compassionate, more caring, and more empathetic, especially for the people who don’t have as much luck in their lives as we do. We’ve found that helping other people is really hard work, but that it is always worth it.

So, Doris, as we end our letter to you, we want to thank you. Thank you for fostering friendships, especially ours. Thank you for supporting those who need it most. Thank you for providing hope, when so many people feel lost. Thank you for giving not only your wealth, but also for giving so much of your own time and energy to make this Foundation a reality. Thank you for being so kind-hearted and open-minded. Thank you for creating something that is much bigger than all of us here at Letters. We are honored to be a part of your legacy.

The 2018 Summer Letters Foundation and Learning By Giving Foundation Interns: Anna (Boston College ’19), Damaris (Suffolk University ’21) , Diana (Mount Holyoke College ’20) and Larisa (Trinity College ’20)

From Left to Right: From left to right: Letters Foundation Volunteer Program Interns Damaris (Suffolk University ’21) and Anna (Boston College ’19); Learning by Giving Foundation Program Intern Diana (Mount Holyoke College ’20); Letters Foundation External Relations Intern Larisa (Trinity College ’20)