Hillary Clinton may be running for president as a champion for the middle class, but the Clinton Foundation’s interns do not get paid.
“Businesses have taken advantage of unpaid internships to an extent that it is blocking the opportunities for young people to move on into paid employment,” Clinton said at UCLA in 2013. “More businesses need to move their so-called interns to employees.”
That doesn’t happen at her own business, the Clinton Foundation that Bill started in 2001.
“The Clinton Foundation makes no promises or commitments of employment after the internship,” the Foundation says on its website. “No intern is entitled to a job at the conclusion of his/her internship experience.”
The foundation goes through about 100 interns each summer, with slightly less during the school year. Summer interns volunteer 30 to 40 hours a week, while interns who work during a college semester may work 25 hours. The most some interns receive is a $2,000 stipend for a four-month period, and that depends on financial need.
Paying them all New York’s minimum wage of $8.75, for instance, would cost a fraction of the foundation’s budget, which spent $29.9 million (PDF) on employee salaries, compensation, and benefits for about 2,000 employees worldwide in 2013.
“There is no section of the Labor Law that exempts ‘interns’ at not-for-profit organizations from the minimum wage requirements,” a New York Department of Labor handout clarifies (PDF). Unlike for-profit corporations, nonprofits in New York are allowed to employ unpaid volunteers. Unpaid volunteers can’t be required to work certain hours though (Foundation interns are), and they cannot be compensated in any way except for reimbursement for expenses (some Foundation interns get stipends).
Former interns say they don’t mind no dough, though.
Maggie Leahy interned in the Foundation’s communications department in summer 2010, a semester before she graduated from New York University. As an intern, she says she managed email correspondence, helped draft press releases, and the like. Babysitting on the weekends made ends meet, she said.“But I was excited about the internship, so I was happy to take it, even unpaid. It was such a powerful experience, and they gave us a lot of really valuable opportunities to contribute to the work they were doing.” Leahy now works at an education nonprofit.
Likewise, Talar Keskinyan scored a Clinton Foundation internship after her freshman year at Wellesley. Her internship had her collect data on the Clinton Foundation’s college partners and provided support to the students based on the data from those surveys.
“I felt like I had a lot of independence and was self-directing, especially for my age and being so early in my college career,” Keskinyan said. To afford the internship, she lived at home on Long Island. “My parents were paying for my commute.”
Though she didn’t stay at the foundation, she landed a post-graduation job at one of the startups she learned about during her internship.
“Their internship is probably one of the most well thought out internship programs I’ve ever done.”
The Clinton Foundation’s competitors do pay interns, though,
The Ford Foundation offers a paid summer internship program and its website boasts that alumni return to work part-time during the school year and that others have been offered full-time positions. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said interns receive a “competitive” monthly salary, subsidized housing and “additional benefits such as use of the foundation’s health clinic and ability to access matching charitable gifts program.”
Courts have historically used six criteria to determine the legality of unpaid internships The Clinton Foundation abides by at least two of them: a mutual understanding about the nature of the arrangement and the idea that an internship is not necessarily a precursor to a job. Furthermore, courts say the intern experience must be of benefit to the intern, something all Clinton Foundation interns who spoke to The Daily Beast said it was.
What’s not clear, though, is that the foundation derives no immediate advantage from intern activities. After all, someone has to answer emails, send press releases, and collect data on foundation partners.
The Clinton Foundation did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason.
2018 Internship Sessions
Spring: January 29, 2018 - May 4, 2018
Summer: May 30, 2018 - August 2, 2018
Fall: September 5, 2018 - November 30, 2018
Apply for an internship by sending your resume to [email protected], and answering the following questions:
Which position would you like to apply for and why should you be considered?
What is your availability (working hours) during the semester?
Positions are available in six main areas:
• CLINTON MUSEUM STORE
Interns are to provide courteous service to visitors. There will be daily tasks such as selling general admissions, processing group/school admissions and verifying the accuracy of the count and collecting payment. They will assist the manager with data entry of event, tour group and school reservations and payments. They will also assist with end day close out of the admission desk.
Skills: strong customer relations skills, experience in working with school students, working knowledge of Excel and Microsoft Office.
Back to top
There will be daily tasks such as conducting prospect research and compiling donor briefings. They will assist with the execution of major fundraising events, including providing onsite support. They will draft correspondence, including donor reports and proposals. They will provide administrative and logistical support to the Development team.
Skills: strong oral communication skills and demonstrated ability to write clearly and persuasively, adept at research, strong organizational skills, professional
Back to top
Interns are to be knowledgeable about the Clinton Presidential Center, President Clinton, and the work of the Clinton Foundation.
The intern will work closely with the Communications team, which is responsible for all internal and external communications and marketing for the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Presidential Center. The Communications intern will support the team in developing and executing media strategies, creating content, and drafting communications materials. Daily tasks may include conducting research, drafting and formatting written deliverables, designing and editing graphics, capturing photos and video, writing and developing content for social media and other digital channels.
Skills: experience in communications or media relations; experience in social media and web platforms; proven quick and thorough research and writing ability; extremely organized and detail oriented; proven capacity to multi-task in a fast-paced work environment with tight deadlines; proficient in Word, Excel and Power Point, excellent oral and written communication skills; familiar with research tools such as Vocus, LexisNexis, databases, emails and social media; graphic design, video editing, web design, photography experience would be a plus.
Back to top
There will be daily tasks such as answering and making informative phone calls, scheduling appointments, creating invoices, general office duties, and basic client correspondence. They will be asked to conduct research on new event trends and associated costs, both locally and nationally, as well as compilation of data into reliable working documents for department use.
The department schedules and executes over 300 events per year – our intern will assist in client relations as well as learning event management skills while working events.
Skills: previous event/hospitality experience preferred, proficient in Word, Excel and Power Point, strong customer relations skills
Back to top
Education interns will assist in planning, developing and implementing education programs/events, tours. They will assist in outreach efforts and promotional strategy to advance the educational mission of the Center to generate new and retain repeat attendance. They will also assist with maintaining an up-to-date database of educators.
Skills: experience in working with elementary, middle and high school students, high degree of initiative, high energy, ability to work with staff across departments in a spirit of teamwork and cooperation, strong oral communication and demonstrated ability to write clearly.
Summer interns will work primarily with the daily activities and programs of five, week-long Culinary Camps. Skills: previous summer/student camp experience with various age groups, culinary/hospitality experience a plus.
Back to top
Clinton Museum Store
Interns are to provide courteous service to visitors and assist them in finding the product they are shopping for if requested. They are to be familiar with the products in the store as well as the Clinton Presidential Center. The intern will need to be knowledgeable about all aspects of running the register, packing the purchase and providing a positive closure to the visitor.
There will be daily tasks such as learning to open and close the register, stock the store inventory, light cleaning and straightening of merchandise. Interns will also conduct research for upcoming exhibit merchandise and potential new inventory. Possibly interact with the marketing department to service their requests such as photographing merchandise for the website or advertising.
Skills: retail sales experience, marketing, outgoing personality.
BACK TO TOP