Summer Highlight Reel

A film reel lays unraveled

By Molly Nagappala, Minerva’s summer intern —

Summers always go by fast, but this one seems to have been especially fleeting. My few months with Minerva Strategies have taught me much more than I could have expected. Because our clients work in many different parts of the “social good” space, I’ve learned about new ways to combat hunger and addiction, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Africa down to a very micro level, and more. Just a few of the highlights:


–  I was able to witness, almost from the beginning to the end, the process of rebranding a nonprofit. This organization, who shall remain nameless at this time because their rebrand has not yet gone public, had a well-established identity in our community but a name that no longer reflected their work. To come up with the right new name took hours of research, interviews, brainstorming, getting feedback, more brainstorming, getting more feedback – you get the idea. But a rebrand isn’t just a new name; it’s a new logo, a new tagline, details of how the new brand should make supporters feel, an updated website and marketing materials. Many big and small decisions have to be made, which can feel daunting to members of a long-standing organization. It can be grueling, but our process was a lot of fun and allowed for input from multiple stakeholders, each of whom had a different perspective. I learned a great deal about the organization’s history, its present work, and the type of clients they serve – things I never would have known without Minerva.

– I was present for the culmination of a project several years in the making with our client Northwest Harvest when they opened their SoDo Community Market in June. Though I am relatively new to Seattle, I already knew that the SoDo neighborhood was something of a food desert, with no convenient grocery store and plentiful fast food options. Northwest Harvest spent years finding the right location for their grocery-style food bank, asking their clients what they wanted on the shelves, and creating the beautiful and welcoming space they envisioned. On the market’s opening day, I watched as people lined up hours before the doors opened, full of excitement for the new market where they could browse shelves and select food just like grocery store customers. I was impressed by Northwest Harvest’s dedication to their clients and their simple but urgent message: food is a basic right, and everyone should have access to it.

–  As a summer-long project, I conducted a survey of millennials asking them questions about the ways they engage with the philanthropic community and wrote a paper on my findings. The responses were fascinating to see. There were a few surprises, such as the fact that immigration was the most commonly cited major concern for my respondents. (I had expected education or health care, both of which were also mentioned but with less frequency.) I was also intrigued to learn that 57 percent of survey-takers have been giving more money to nonprofits since the 2016 U.S. presidential election. I suspected there would be some people who would give more frequently or in greater amounts, but I did not expect nearly that many. To me, this is hopeful news: despite our reputation for being cynical and mistrustful of institutions, we millennials haven’t given up on making the world a better place.


As you can see, it’s been a busy summer! Joy, Sara, and Catherine have each taught me so much about what it means to be a good communicator, and I am grateful.

About The Author

Minerva Strategies

Minerva Strategies

The Minerva team has decades of experience working with nonprofits, foundations, and values-driven companies. Minerva also partners with experts—trusted designers, web developers, global communications professionals, and others—who share our excitement for creating positive social change. Through these partnerships, we can build a team that is tailored to your needs. Learn more about who we are or what we do.