Community LIFT

by justineh

PICS Organization Name
Community LIFT


Community LIFT:

Memphis, Tennessee

Weekly Stipend

Public Transportation

Housing Provided

Former Interns
Dee-Dee Huang '20

Organization Description
Community LIFT’s mission is to fuel the revitalization of Memphis’s underserved neighborhoods by investing in capacity-building and economic and community development that lead to sustainable, thriving communities.

A leader in the community development sector, LIFT manages two unique re-granting programs and a small business loan fund, through the city’s only local CDFI (Community Financial Development Institute). They are:

  1. The Memphis Empowerment Fund- provides small dollar grants to support resident driven neighborhood improvement projects.  
  2. The CDC Capacity Fund- provides grants to community development corporations to build the operational capacity.
  3. River City Capital- provides low interest loans to businesses in low income communities that cannot obtain a loan from a tradition banking institution.

Community LIFT has a strong internship program that has fueled the careers of several young people with a passion and commitment to the public sector and community development. We believe exposing young leaders to our organization and teaching them how public and private partnerships work together to stimulate neighborhood revitalization, is vital to the future success of our organization.

Internship Description
Community LIFT’s summer project will focus on the Memphis Empowerment Fund, our newest grant program. The Princeton Internships in Civic Service intern would undertake a comprehensive analysis of strategies and best practices for measuring the impact of investments in ordinary citizens working on small-scale, neighborhood-based projects. Community LIFT currently funds 29 projects across 22 neighborhoods in Memphis.

With the supervision and guidance of Community LIFT’s staff and professionals in the areas of impact and sustainability, the PICS intern would dedicate time for researching and reviewing national case studies on grassroots leadership, analyzing our current Empowerment grant funded projects and intended outcomes, and writing a report on summary of findings and recommendations.  The report ideally would be used to develop a case statement that includes a theory of change for why more funds locally and/or nationally should be given directly to resident leaders to improve their neighborhoods. The development of this analysis and subsequent report would position Community LIFT to advocate for a shift in the funding priorities, practices, and policies of local foundations and government entities; as well, how they allocate some of their dollars for neighborhood revitalization in areas plagued by persistent poverty.

The intern will work closely with and directly report to LIFT’s Grants Director for the duration of the internship. We are also pleased to share that we are fortunate to have the support of two Princeton alumni who serve as Community LIFT board members, Ms. Sarah Ray and Mr. Josh Poag, and they will be available for contact.

Internship Qualifications
Strong analytical skills, a keen interest in community development, and public policy, strong research skills, summarizing research and communicating results, a motivated self-starter, a background in statistics, and basic knowledge of project management preferred, but not required.

Preferred intern would be a sophomore or junior at the beginning of the program with an interest in public policy, social justice, community development, urban anthropology, urban planning and/or sociology. 

**Writing sample required: provide an individual research paper from school*

Expected Start Time
8:30 am

Expected End Time
5:00 pm

Required Dates

Internship Length
8 Weeks

Meets Certificate Requirement

Additional Info
There is no housing available however, we may be able to work with some of our board members or stakeholders to offer low rent housing for the period of 2 months.

Some research & meetings/events take place on nights/weekends.

**Writing sample required: provide an individual research paper from school*

Evaluation Excerpt

I learned quite a deal from this internship especially about how complicated solving the issue of poverty can be, from dealing with gentrification to creating jobs that have upward mobility. I was incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to directly work with a low-income neighborhood and see the good that Community LIFT has done in these areas.
—Dee-Dee Huang '20

To see whether this internship is still accepting applications for 2018, please check the Second Round page.


To read evaluations written by former interns, please contact the
Student Program