Nancy Franz ’81 is a woman with a philanthropy plan.
“I will only fund outcomes,” she said. “I have to look at the things I value in life and from that, think about what I want to see happen in the world.”
Franz graduated from Northland with a degree in outdoor education and environmental studies; earned a masters of education and professional development from UW-Superior; and a PhD in agriculture, extension, and adult education from Cornell University.
She now serves as professor emeritus in the School of Education at Iowa State University. With guidance from Tracy Gary’s book, Inspired Philanthropy, she made a list of the things she cares about most—women in leadership, the Porcupine Mountains, nature and the environment, and empowering women in her community.
To address her first goal—women in leadership—she thought about something her friend, Tam Hofman ’80, had said: Hofman, who has worked at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for much of her career, wished out loud for an internship at the lakeshore to help give Northland College women a leg up in career development.
“Look around and there are close to zero women superintendents in the park service,” Franz said. “I want half of that leadership to be women.”
Franz pitched the idea to Northland College and then announced it to her friends on Facebook.
Together Franz and six others raised $32,825 to fund an endowment for the Women in Leadership Internship, a partnership between Northland College and the National Park Service to support women pursuing outdoor careers.
The internship is already yielding results. Abby Keller, photographed above, a natural resources major, completed the first paid internship in March 2018; and outdoor education student Jessica Schultz finished a second internship in September.
Franz has met both of them and is thrilled with what they’ve contributed, how well they represent Northland in the world, and how the experience is helping them personally and professionally.
Inspired by the experience, Franz has decided to help endow another internship in the Office of Institutional Advancement to provide alumni support. “It’s not exactly part of my philanthropy plan but I want to help get that off the ground,” she said. “And I know Northland can deliver.”