Hilary Cramer '05

JOB TITLE: Executive director

ORGANIZATION: American Friends of the Israel National Museum of Science

LOCATION: New York, New York

GRADUATE DEGREE: M.S. in nonprofit management, The New School

What was your first position after college? During my undergraduate years, I had internships at a few nonprofits in NYC that served children. After college, the “I Have a Dream” Foundation–New York offered me a job. My first position was a direct service role, but I quickly moved into the management and fundraising side of the organization. I now work in New York as the executive director of the American Friends of the Israel National Museum of Science, raising funds and awareness for Madatech, the Israel National Museum of Science in Haifa, Israel.

Has a liberal arts education helped you in shaping your career? In general, I feel that it’s important to have a well-rounded education. A liberal arts education taught me basic skills (including writing, which has been extremely important in my career) and to talk intelligently– if not expertly–on a wide variety of subjects. The Educational Studies Department at Trinity exposed me to the Hartford community directly, and I became interested in working with low-income communities and children in particular. From there I found internships that helped deepen this interest, and I ultimately got a job at an educational nonprofit. While I now work on the management side of nonprofit organizations, I will always be grateful to Trinity for helping me cultivate this interest. 

What advice would you give to Trinity students to prepare for a position in your field? Any social science major is suitable for students to then pursue work in the nonprofit sector. However, it is important to be passionate about the focus of your organization. For example, if a student is deeply committed to saving the environment or advancing women’s issues, it would be a good idea for them to major in one of those subjects. Having an internship at a nonprofit will also provide an inside look at how an organization runs and will give students real, hands-on experience. I worked part time while going to graduate school in nonprofit management, which took about three years. My other advice to students is: if you are going into a field like nonprofit management–which doesn’t traditionally pay very well during the early part of your career–consider going to school part time and applying for various scholarships and/or fellowships.

What is the biggest misconception about your field? That the nonprofit field isn’t a business. In truth, it is sometimes an even harder than a traditional for-profit business because you are always competing for scarce dollars and resources.