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Leavey School of Business Santa Clara University

Community Fellows Blog Posts

Rene Fong: My Time with the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits (SVCN)

Rene have been honored to be able to work as a Public Policy Intern with the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits (SVCN) for the past few months.


A person smiling, wearing a denim jacket.

I have been honored to be able to work as a Public Policy Intern with the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits (SVCN) for the past few months. SVCN seeks to strengthen nonprofit organizations’ impact and influence by uniting them by providing a nonprofit community. 

Immediately upon starting my position and despite working remotely due to Covid, the Policy team has made me feel so welcomed and included, through weekly check-ins and team lunches. I really appreciate the overall feeling of teamwork and cooperation that permeates the organization, which comes across even when working virtually. 

So far in my work at SVCN, I have had the opportunity to work on various projects, including research for the American Rescue Plan, helping with their annual charity event Be Our Guest, and working on the weekly Policy Newsletter. I have also been able to sit in on various meetings and listen in as executive directors and CEOs of different nonprofit organizations discuss and debate the issues most pertinent to their nonprofits as well as the challenges facing the communities being served. One aspect of my current work that I really enjoy is meeting with people from different types of nonprofits and hearing their backstories on how they got into the nonprofit field and the challenges and rewards they experience by working in this sector. Each person has shared a different path and has a different perspective on nonprofits but each has considered their work to be highly rewarding because of the impact it has on the community.

In terms of challenges facing nonprofits as opposed to the private sector, I’ve been able to get a much better understanding by working with and talking to SVCN’s partners. There are similarities in how both types of organizations are run, but often there’s more difficulty for nonprofits in getting the funds they need, allocating those resources appropriately, getting their message out to the community, etc. In my role, I don’t have much direct interaction with the community, but I am able to see a side in how services are provided to the community and the struggle it takes to continue to provide these essential services that most people don’t. 

I have enjoyed my time with SVCN so far immensely and I have a newfound appreciation for the nonprofit sector with the knowledge I’ve gained in how they operate and the lengths they go to to continue providing for the community. I look forward to continuing my work with SVCN and learning more about the nonprofit sector as a whole as well as the communities each nonprofit serves.


NPI, NPI Fellows