Since January 2013, the DC Foundation Center office has been hosting an energetic and enthusiastic intern from South Korea, JinMi Kang. She is here with a group of 29 students from The Asan Insitute for Policy Studies in Seoul, South Korea. The Institute is an independent, non-partisan think tank with the mandate to undertake policy relevant research to foster domestic, regional and international environments that are conducive to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and Korean reunification. It was founded in 20008 by Dr. Han Sung-Joo. JinMi is most interested in government and the arts and hopes to work in a cultural institution when she completes her studies.
JinMi's tasks at the Foundation Center were overseen by the International Data Relations Manager,
Yinebon Iniya. The International Data Relations Unit was formed to gather data on philanthropic activity outside the United States by utilizing the web, working with other charity agencies and think tanks, and developing strong partnerships that allow us to learn more about what is happening in different regions and how we can provide philanthropic information to help them find funding or provide funding to those in need.
JinMi read about South Korean nongovernmental organizations and then coded them for inclusion into the Foundation Center system. This was a challenging task as Jinmi had to learn the FC classification system and then fit the South Korean groups into it! With many meetings via Skype with NY Foundation Center staff, by consulting her dictionary often, and asking lots of questions, she made solid progress on the assignment.
To increase her knowledge of English and philanthropy she attended many of our classes -- sometimes twice. She also helped at the library reference desk, hearing questions from nonprofit staff and volunteers. And, she researched words and phrases she did not quite understand. She noted that we spoke English more quickly than she was used to. JinMi was quite good at finding free educational lectures at other agenices on foreign policy, the arts and a host of other topics to attend. In March, she volunteered at Good Deeds Day sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington making sandwiches for the homeless. We marvelled at her energy.
In addition to her educational pursuits, Jin Mi visited some of the many wonderful cultural institutions here in DC. She also explored the many restaurants and food trucks clustered around Farragut Square. And, she did find time to do some shopping. DC staff had opportunities to learn about life in South Korea. They have Costcos!
JinMi is a brilliant, curious intern and that makes it hard to say goodbye. The Asan Institute intern program at the Foundation Center has been a success. It will continue throughout 2013. We hope to work with another intern that is just as eager to learn about American philanthropy, as well as helping us understand more about the Korean culture, as JinMi did. We wish her well and look forward to hearing from her as she progresses in her career.