Portland African American Financial Capabilities Initiative (AAFC)

March 14, 2016 Karen Popp Internship

Organization:  The African American Financial Capabilities Initiative (AAFC) is a culturally-specific community-based collaborative focused on community asset development in Portland, Oregon. This Community of Practice (COP) brings together the expertise of Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF), Portland Community Reinvestment Initiative (PCRI), Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI), and the Urban League to provide culturally tailored work that strengthens asset-building services, sharpens policy advocacy strategies, and grows leadership capacity to benefit the Oregon’s African American communities.

Our member organization specializations range from community convening to direct service provision (education, housing, anti-poverty, reunification, etc.) to policy advocacy to youth and family services and community development. We strive to improve the health and wellbeing of our community members while also improving the economic health of our entire community.

The AAFC COP will work with the N/NE African American community in Portland, Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF), National NAACP and Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) to help establish a learning community among cohort members and to work collaboratively to provide technical assistance to African-American asset-building organizations that will serve as local anchors for the African-American Financial Capability Initiative in the Twin Cities, Seattle, Tacoma, Portland and Des Moines.

The technical assistance provided to our COP aims to support a sustainable network of African-American asset development entities that produce and deliver premium asset-building resources that better serve the African-American community and encourage financial capability. Beyond the collaboration between the cohorts themselves and the NAACP and CFED, the grant supports and promotes efforts by the cohorts to reach out and convene other organizations that can work collaboratively with groups within the African-American communities of each city.

We are pro-active in moving projects forward by leveraging our partnership to receive grant funding to work on the N/NE Housing Strategy, Anti-Displacement PDX and other local policy and community development initiatives to mitigate the disproportionate impacts of Gentrification and Displacement on our community. Our involvement increases the COP capacity to provide youth, low income families and moderate income families without assets access to financial services, products and capabilities. The project will work to create pathways out of poverty and toward prosperity for economically excluded people.

Internship Description: The Project Development Intern will report to the Strategic Manager and assist in implementing logistics of a variety of multi-faceted tasks and activities. Work will focus on aiding the coordinator in moving AAFC COP to the next steps of collaboration by developing and implementing essential tools (noted below under responsibilities). The Project Development Intern would work with the Strategic Manager, the collaborative, independently and possibly with organizational program staff. There is opportunity for the intern to pursue areas of interest that may not be captured in this description. As the intern becomes knowledgeable about collaboration, AAFC and COP, they may recognize other possible tools or ideas that would aid collaborative development and progress.

During the first few months of the internship, in order to learn the culture of collaboration, the intern will spend the majority of their time learning about collaboration, the history of serial forced displacement and Gentrification of N/NE Portland and collective impact theory. They will attend AAFC meetings, field trips, other N/NE Housing Strategy meetings, research financial capabilities, community controlled asset development, and best economic practices for minority communities and policy directives as they apply to the African American community.

Primary Responsibilities, Special Projects: The Project Development Intern will work with guidance from the Strategic Manager. They will play a significant role in the development and completion of the following tasks:

  • Researching potential funding sources, drafting appropriate grant applications
  • Developing marketing package to seek fiscal sponsorship
  • Assisting the Community of Practice in developing an intra organizational Working Agreement
  • Aiding collaborative committee in developing a guiding principles document
  • Developing a multi-party monitoring and evaluation protocol by reviewing/utilizing existing documents

Additional responsibilities may include:

  • Assisting the Strategic Manager in monthly meeting logistics
  • Establishing a tracking tool for in-kind and volunteer contributions and other organizational logistics
  • Researching new projects and opportunities
  • Helping to build a website; creating newsletter
  • Assisting in various projects as assigned

Learning Outcomes: As a result of working with the AAFC COP, the Project Development Intern will develop skills in collaborative governance, operations and rapport building, working with volunteers, meeting organization and facilitation, communication, problem solving, project development and policy advocacy.

Knowledge will be gained in: community-controlled development; financial capabilities and associated issues; cultural competency; and diversity of interests in collaborative stakeholders.


  • Be a currently registered and enrolled graduate student at Portland State University (you must be registered and enrolled for the duration of the internship)
  • Have demonstrated experience with project management
  • Interest in collaborative community development
  • Interest in mission of the African American Financial Capabilities Initiative
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Have clear and articulate writing skills
  • Have strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Be self-motivated; have an ability to work with minimum supervision; research available collaborative tools
  • Be competent with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher), Google Apps

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Cultural competency proficiency

Duration and Time Commitment: March – June 10, 2016 (12-15 hours per week – hours may vary depending on student or organization needs.)

Internship location:

Some of the work will be done remotely. However, attendance at bi-monthly meetings to gain rapport with the collaborative is necessary.  An initial in person meeting with the collaborative coordinator and Community of Practice (COP) is also necessary. The location of the bi-monthly meetings will vary among all the partner agencies working on this initiative, all located in North Portland, Oregon, 30 minutes from downtown Portland. The Project Development Intern and coordinator will have weekly progress checks in person via email and phone calls.

Deadline to apply is Monday, March 7, 2016.  Review of applications will begin immediately.

Compensation: Graduate students: $1500 per term/$500 per month; Undergraduate students: $1200 per term/$400 per month (depending on the day and month that you begin the internship). This position is being funded through the generous support of donors and the Institute for Sustainable Solutions to support student career pathways in sustainability (https://www.pdx.edu/sustainability/iss).

Application: This position requires current enrollment as a PSU student. To confirm that you are formally admitted and enrolled, please email your full name and student ID to vancem@pdx.edu. Include the name of the internship you are applying for in the subject line. Once your status is confirmed, you will receive the full application instructions via email.

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