· Member Highlight ·

Julianna Joss
SECF Summer Intern

Many SECF members may already be familiar with Julianna Joss, even though she only joined the staff last week as a summer intern. 

Since coming on board, Julianna, a rising senior at Emory University, has attended events for the Atlanta Foundations Forum and Atlanta Corporate Donors, as well as this week’s meeting of the SECF Board of Trustees. The whirlwind of activity hasn’t dampened her enthusiasm, however. 

“I am ecstatic and honored to have the opportunity to intern here, so I am eager to support SECF’s efforts in any capacity I can,” she said. “I am looking forward to working on whatever projects are needed to engage members and advance the effectiveness of SECF. Thus far, I have worked to help update information in our database, but moving forward, I also hope to get involved with the conversations surrounding advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the philanthropic field.” 

Julianna’s interest in philanthropy – and in SECF – was sparked by a Community Building Social Change Fellowship she completed last summer. 

“I saw firsthand the tremendous ability of foundations to do enormous public good. I read countless case studies and saw how generous grants from foundations were transforming communities and changing lives in a real, tangible way,” she said. “In addition, many of the theories and concepts I have studied and witnessed firsthand in that community building fellowship align deeply with SECF’s values and mission. Examples of these are fostering collaboration, forging connections, building capacity, and maximizing impact.”

At Emory, Julianna is studying political science and dance. While the two areas might sound wildly different, Julianna said she’s observed some key similarities. 

“As I have come to realize through my academic journey, political science and dance share striking parallels,” she said. “Both explore connections and modes of communication. They also explore creating and sustaining change and movement, whether this manifests in the body or in state systems. I am actually writing my senior honors thesis on this notion of the body as a political entity.” 

Julianna said her political science studies have gradually drawn her to what she calls the “community sector,” which includes philanthropy and nonprofits. After college, she plans to stay within that sector – and in the South. 

“I have spent the past two summers working here on Georgia-specific projects that ranged from government accountability efforts to the undocumented student movement to improved public infrastructure,” said Julianna, who grew up in Anaheim, Calif. “I hope to stay here in Atlanta and work in this community sector I described. My priority is to ensure my career path puts me in a position to serve, give, and make meaningful contributions to the public good and greater society.”