Rebecca Stich ’03: International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Rebecca Stich, a Social Work/MBA dual degree student received a CORPS fellowship to work with the IRC, a leading international nonprofit organization that provides emergency services, long-term assistance and resettlement support to refugees around the world. “I’ve been interested in post-conflict reconstruction for a number of years,” she says, “and wanted to see if my business school knowledge could be relevant to refugee assistance.”
Stich coordinated the startup phase of an initiative to place AmeriCorps volunteers in 10 sites to design financial asset development projects for resettled refugees, and in particular women and youth who face special barriers to integration. These projects include microenterprise training and support, and Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) which help low-income individuals save for a house or other major assets.
Stich assisted in hiring the VISTA members, and conducted research to design a set of training materials to help the sites plan for the further development of asset development programs. IDAs require familiarity with the structures of banking, even if the organization is not administering these accounts. “Having come from a nonprofit background, I could translate the business terminology into terms the organizations and clients were comfortable with,” she says.
“The nonprofit sector needs more people with business skills,” says Stich, “Some of the most cutting-edge anti-poverty programs involve a much closer tie to business and private enterprise than in the past. With the help of the CORPS fellowship, I was able to bring a new perspective and some useful tools to help the organization better serve some of the world’s most needy people.”