VC Internship @ Mercy Corps in Portland, OR

Mercy Corps is a global nonprofit organization that empowers people to survive through crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good.Mercy Corps sees complex global challenges as an invitation: to pioneer paths out of poverty, to forge new partnerships, to create solutions that break through entrenched challenges.

But the traditional grant-based model of funding international development can be limiting. It rarely promotes the flexibility and experimentation required to test new models — models that could deliver social benefit to millions of people in the developing world.

Mercy Corps’ Social Venture Fund provides early-stage financing and post-investment support to accelerate the growth of scalable, self-sustaining businesses that improve people’s lives in an enduring way.

We do this by pairing our deep, on-the-ground insight into local customs and markets with a unique blend of capital and targeted business expertise.Capitalized by philanthropic contributions, we structured the Mercy Corps Social Venture Fund so that our highest-potential emerging ventures receive the early-stage support needed to learn, adapt and grow.

Those that demonstrate financial sustainability, social impact and scale in the proof-of-concept and acceleration phases are connected with investors for follow-on funding to reach commercial viability.As of March 2018, the Social Venture Fund (SVF) has completed eleven investments in Indonesia, Kenya and Colombia in our four focus areas of: last mile logistics & distribution, agriculture, financial services, and youth employment. Our portfolio entrepreneurs are channeling an era of radical change to benefit communities around the world.

We are looking for a creative, diligent, resourceful, and empathetic intern who can help us celebrate their successes, tell the story of how an INGO can add value to a startup, and craft the honest lessons of where we got it wrong.

We Expect The Intern Will Work With Us On Several Projects Over The Summer Including

Our Impact Management & Storytelling Intern will be an integral member of our team of former entrepreneurs and investment professionals.

  • SVF’s annual impact report. Last fall we released our first impact report–our initial attempt to tell our story. In it we detailed what we invest in and why; how we look at impact and the SDGs; what our portfolio companies are accomplishing; and what we learned along the road of supporting them and connecting them to Mercy Corps’ global platform. It was a nice mix of the qualitative and quantitative and we loved the result. But, that was last year. How can we do better? What can we do more of OR less of? You will help us figure this out by looking into best practices, talking to others in the field, and leading work sessions with our team. Once we figure out an outline, you will take point on gathering information from portfolio companies and plug into the writing and graphic design process. We want to geek out on combining insightful data aggregations with compelling narrative in a way that will blow last year’s report out of the water.
  • Develop other communications. This bullet is intentionally vague and full of possibilities. We have some amazing examples of how Mercy Corps has deeply partnered with our portfolio companies to amplify our impact that we could capture through a blog or a podcast or both; communications we want to do for new companies in the portfolio for internal and external audiences; and help we could give portfolio companies in telling their story to customers and potential follow-on investors. Together, we’ll assess the highest priority and best learning opportunities and complete those projects first.

The intern will work closely with Amanda West and the other members of the Social Ventures team during the internship period. The SV team will ensure the intern has access to documents and resources necessary to complete any assignment given.

Learning Objectives

The intern will gain significant insight into the impact investing and impact measurement fields as well as social ventures more generally. Specific learning objectives include:

  • How to measure impact to enhance business performance;
  • Best practices on impact reporting and communications;
  • Using data in storytelling; and
  • Social venture start-ups and impact investing in challenging contexts.

This is a unique opportunity to gain insight into an innovative and growing movement and work with a team of industry thought leaders dedicated to nurturing disruptive social enterprises to achieve sustainable impact at scale.


Deliverables will be agreed upon through the co-creation of a work plan at the start of the internship and will relate to the program description above. Deliverable will likely include:

  • One annual impact report
  • Two to three Social Venture Fund blog posts
  • One Socual Venture Fund podcast

Ideal Candidate Should Possess The Following Qualifications

  • An college degree or one in progress
  • A strong interest in social enterprises and impact management

Relevant skills to this position include:

Very strong writing abilities, research, project management, primary and secondary data collection, and interviewing.We’re looking for someone who can learn fast, be creative, produce results, meet high expectations, and have fun in the process. If you’re hungry for a challenge and to connect with some amazing people solving entrenched development challenges, then we’re eager to meet you.

Living Conditions

This position can be based at Mercy Corps’ global headquarters in Portland, OR. However, the location is flexible and will be assessed on a candidate-by-candidate basis.Mercy Corps interns and volunteers represent the agency both during and outside of work hours and are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC’s policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Application Process

Candidates interested in this internship should submit a resume, a 2-minute, unedited video stating your interest and why you’re qualified, and a writing sample (of any type). In your video, you are encouraged to discuss any experiences related to the projects outlined, your career interests, how your skills are a good fit for the position, etc. Your application will be reviewed by the hiring team within 3 weeks of submission and shortlisted candidates will be contacted directly for interviews.

All applicants will receive notification once a decision has been made.The writing sample and resume can be uploaded to the Jobvite platform. The video should be uploaded to YouTube (or other service) with a link included in the resume.


If interested, please apply here. 

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