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Alexandra Marcaccio has worked in Philanthropic Services as a summer intern for the past two years at Hamilton Community Foundation.

For the past two summers, I have had the honour and privilege of working as an intern with the Philanthropic Services department at HCF. As my time here comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on these last two summers and what I have accomplished.

When I heard that I got the job last summer, I was nervous. I realized that although I am a born-and-raised Hamiltonian, there is much I don’t know about the city. I wondered how I would be able to do my job when my knowledge was, in my opinion, lacking. Thankfully, the staff saw the position as an opportunity for me to explore and learn more about the city.

I was welcomed by a warm, inclusive team who was more than happy to answer all my questions. In fact, they encouraged me to inquire, explore and learn about everything — from the structure of the Foundation, to the different organizations we grant to, to what on earth does “impact investing” mean. There was quite a learning curve, and I set aside time each week to speak with the different departments and the work they do. Each staff member spoke passionately about their work, and about their interest in the city.

Working at HCF gave me a surge of pride in the city I have always called home. Through my work, which included writing personal stories about our donors, I came to see new sides of the city and its people. I saw people taking an interest in food and community engagement, developing unique initiatives like McQuesten Farm. I saw a group of women who knew that if they combined their shared assets they could make an even bigger difference in the lives of young girls. I saw the beginnings of ABACUS — a program dedicated to helping students graduate from secondary school and encouraging them to pursue higher education. I saw a number of unique projects that all shared a common goal – improving the quality of life for all Hamiltonians.

When you walk through the front doors of HCF offices, you immediately sense the warm, inclusive environment. Everyone is happy and willing to help one another, whether it is fixing a tech issue, or giving feedback on a research project. This kind of teamwork is what allows the Foundation to do so much good work in the community. I want to say thank you to everyone at HCF for the past two summers. While I am excited for the next chapter of my life, I am certainly sad to be saying goodbye.