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LIFT Fellow finds her perfect role in nonprofit leadership and development

Leadership and Infrastructure Funding Team

Editor’s note: The foundation is hosting eight summer interns and fellows this year from across the U.S. Check back each week to learn about these rising social sector leaders in this series, Summer at Kresge.

For Carrie Boyle, working at The Kresge Foundation was a perfect stroke of serendipity.

The new summer fellow from Richmond, Virginia first got accustomed to nonprofit work by helping her mother at the local community center.

“I never imagined a future in which I would not be working in nonprofits,” she says,” “this is just what I’ve always wanted to do.”

Boyle continued her nonprofit career after she obtained a degree in political science from Davidson College. The journey led her across the country to California, where she gained experience in the nonprofit funding sector as a director of Finance and Operations at the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund.

Though she initially intended to work in legal advocacy, Boyle’s work for the Venture Fund steered her to a new passion: helping to create meaningful investments for communities in need. This passion was fueled by Boyle witnessing how hard nonprofits work to achieve their goals; people in this sector dedicate long hours and, due to limited resources, still only scratch the surface of their ambitious and altruistic goals. “I’m really interested in organizational effectiveness—I want to help build resilient, strong, just and thriving nonprofits,” she says. “I want philanthropy to be thoughtful, not to reinforce systems that are already in place.”

Carrie wanted a way to help these organizations obtain the funding they needed to effectively lead their causes, but she knew she needed more experience. After four years in Silicon Valley, Boyle pursued a business degree at the University of Michigan.

“I realized I was working with donors who made their careers in business and tech, and I found that they wanted a business case for why they should invest their money in a particular way,” she says. By studying the field more, she knew that she could help the organizations reach donors more effectively.

Boyle knew she wanted to gain more experience during the summer when she was not studying. This is when she found the perfect opportunity at Kresge.

Boyle will be working with the Leadership and Infrastructure Funding Team (LIFT). The program is dedicated to supporting nonprofit capacity-building and leadership development with an equity lens.

LIFT has been investing in this work for almost 10 years, but this is the first year they have had a dedicated summer fellow to support their team. Carrie says that she is “helping to organize a convening of funders who are focused on nonprofit talent development and increasing racial equity in the nonprofit workforce. I’ll work with LIFT to figure out who to invite, how to structure learning sessions and how we can collectively push the field to invest more in talent development.”

The convening will offer nonprofits professional development programs that the organizations would otherwise not receive but is essential for pushing strategic thinking and communication in their work. As a result, Kresge hopes to act as a catalyst for what these organizations want to accomplish.

For Carrie, this work is right up her alley. “I sometimes felt like I had to contort myself to other jobs I was applying for,” she says, “but this role is me. This is my area of passion.”

The new fellow knows that having a job that she feels so excited about will make this summer fly by. However, she’s ready to tackle any task she’s given. “(This role) feels striking. If I designed my MBA internship, this would be it. It’s exactly what I want to be doing.”

In her free time, Carrie hopes to explore Michigan as much as possible by relaxing in coffee shops, visiting live music venues, perusing used bookstores, and enjoying the many bodies of water the Great Lakes state has to offer.

— By Sara Mylrea