Erb Internship Funding Guidelines
This document reviews Erb Institute internship funding guidelines. In cases where any detail is not clear,
the final determination will be made by Rick Bunch, Erb Institute Managing Director.
The Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise seeks to develop leaders capable of contributing to
many kinds of organizations, including non-profit, hybrid and government agencies as well as private
businesses. Therefore, the Institute provides internship stipends intended to encourage MBA/MS
students to take internships in qualifying organizations that offer valuable learning and professional
development experiences but pay less than typical corporate internships.
Qualifying internship employers include non-profits, government agencies and start-up social ventures,
as defined below and subject to additional qualifying criteria. Consistent with generally recognized
objectives of MBA summer internships, internships of less than 10 weeks will not qualify for funding.
Institute funding is capped at $5,000 per student. Further, in most cases, the Institute stipend will not
exceed compensation paid by the employer; exceptions include low-budget non-profits and government
agencies with restrictive intern compensation rules.
By beginning of fall semester, students must submit a completed Erb internship report form, and copy of
thank-you note to internship funder. Stipends will be disbursed as nonrefundable credits to the
student’s term bill only after these reporting requirements are satisfied. However, students may
request to receive up to 60% of their stipend at the beginning of the summer; the remaining 40% will be
disbursed after reporting requirements are satisfied.
The Erb Institute cooperates with Zell Lurie Institute to provide support for internships with start-up
social ventures. ZLI usually administers jointly awarded stipends and applies different program rules.
Students will be notified which Erb program rules continue to apply; for example, students with ZLI-
administered stipends will still be expected to thank donors of Erb funds that supported their stipends.
Process and Timeline
The Institute applies distinct processes and criteria for internships with start-up organizations versus
Internships with Start-up Organizations (private sector or non-profit)
The Erb Institute and the Zell Lurie Institute cooperate to provide joint funding for internships with start-
up social ventures, whether private or non-profit. Complete an application for Zell Lurie Institute’s
Marcel Gani internship program, either for a Student-Initiated Internship or a Self-Hosted Internship.
Submit the complete application to Rick Bunch, email@example.com. Do not submit the application
directly to Zell Lurie Institute. Erb will make a quick determination of eligibility under Erb internship
criteria then pass it on for Zell Lurie consideration. The Erb eligibility determination focuses on the
social, environmental or sustainability relevance of the internship; the Zell Lurie determination focuses
on the employer’s qualification as a start-up organization.
MBA/MS students who receive joint Erb-ZLI funding are eligible to earn up to $14,400 for a 12-week
internship. This amount exceeds the $10,000 target for Erb-only funding, thanks to the additional
funding provided by ZLI. For a student-initiated internship, Erb and ZLI together will match the
employer’s contribution to pay up to $7,200. For a self-hosted internship, no employer contribution is
required and the Erb + ZLI contribution will be $7,200.
Any MBA/MS student intending to intern with a startup organization should apply under this process as
early as possible, because s/he can earn more than with Erb-only funding and ZLI funding is usually
exhausted earlier than Erb funding. If a student does not receive ZLI funding for a start-up internship,
s/he is still eligible for Erb funding under the process outlined below, but the summer earnings cap is
Internships with Established Organizations (private, non-profit or governmental)
Subject to funds availability and the number of MBA/MS stipend applicants in any given year, the
Institute supplements employer-paid salary to bring the student up to the target internship salary set by
U-M’s Nonprofit Management program, set at $10,000 for a 10-week internship in summer, 2011. The
Institute will contribute no more than $5,000 toward this $10,000 target. With some exceptions, the
Institute’s contribution to intern pay cannot exceed the employer’s contribution.
Applying by March 18th: submit on-line funding application for pre-approval. Include a copy of your offer
if you have already received one. If you don’t yet have an offer, include your three most likely internship
options. Pre-approved funding may be applied only to employers listed on the pre-approval application.
Application available at http://erb.umich.edu/prospectives/financial-aid/erb-funding/
The Erb Managing Director will notify each applicant of their pre-approved stipend eligibility by
March 19th. The award amount will depend on a combination of matching requirements, funds
availability and number of applicants. For for-profit sustainable ventures, the Managing Director
will also confirm whether or not your internship is mission relevant and therefore eligible for Erb
In order to “lock in” their pre-approved funding allocation, pre-approved students must submit
firm offer letters to the Institute by April 18th. A final Erb funding determination, depending
mostly on the final compensation offer from the employer, will be made as soon as the firm
offer is submitted. After April 15th, pre-approvals are no longer valid and awards will be made to
students on a rolling basis in the order in which they submit an application and firm offer.
Should a pre-approved student accept an internship that does not qualify for an Institute
stipend, the student must immediately notify the Managing Director in writing or by e-mail so
that the stipend may be re-allocated. First priority for returned stipend allocations will be to
bring other Pre-Approved applicants closer to the targeted total earnings level for the summer.
Any remaining funds will then be available to students who applied after the March 12th pre-
Applying after March 18th: Students should submit an application only with a firm offer letter. Award
determinations will be made only after the pre-approval period ends on April 15th, and thereafter on a
rolling, first-come first-served basis. Nevertheless, students should submit complete applications as
early as possible because applications will be considered in the order they were received.
The general requirement, which applies to all Erb-stipend applicants, is that the employer and the
substance of the student’s internship must have relevance to the Erb Institute’s mission and program
Must be federal tax-exempt non-profit, government, or equivalent non-profit/NGO status OR
Qualifying private-sector organization, based on mission relevance (see below) and status of
o Start-up organization as defined by ZLI Marcel Gani program (apply to Erb using Gani
Some private-sector organizations that do not meet Gani requirements may still qualify
for Erb internship support. The general requirement to qualify for stipend support is to
demonstrate that the employer does not have the resources to pay the intern $10k by
itself. They must be early-stage organizations with fewer than 50 employees, pre-profit
or marginally profitable, in which the student intern can make a significant impact over
the course of the summer. B-Corp and L3C status are favored.
Must not be organization or work of a nature that would jeopardize the Erb Institute or
University of Michigan’s non-profit status or reputation.
• The goal of Erb funding is to ensure that students interning for non-corporate, mission-relevant
employers receive a living wage.
• Erb funding is limited and every effort will be made to divide it equitably among students who
apply by the pre-approval deadline, with any remaining funds becoming available to later
applicants after April 18th.
• Students must work at least ten weeks in one internship to be eligible for funding.
• Students may receive up to $500 in non-cash compensation (e.g., subsidized or free housing)
over the course of the summer without counting it toward the $10,000 earnings target.
Students who also receive ZLI Marcel Gani funding may earn more.
• Exemption from employer matching requirements: Organizations may be exempt from
matching or exceeding the Erb stipend if they are:
• Non-profit organizations with annual budgets under $5 million and/or fewer than 10%
of employees earning over $50k a year.
• Governmental organizations that have formal pre-existing internship salary
guidelines/grades that apply (without exception) to all summer interns. Proof of these
guidelines must be provided in order for this matching requirement to be waived or
• Organizations that the students are starting themselves, such that they can be
• Private-sector organizations, with the sole exception of student self-employment
situations, are never exempt from the employer matching requirement.
Relevance to mission
Non-profit and government internships are presumed eligible for Erb internship funding, although the
managing director may require additional substantiation from the student applicant.
In contrast, for-profit ventures must positively demonstrate relevance to the Erb Institute mission to
qualify for internship stipends. Following are the priority applied research areas and questions.
Internships in other subject areas should make reference to Erb Institute publications, e.g. website or
annual report, to establish connection to the Erb program priorities. This list is illustrative, not exclusive.
Students should contact the managing director for guidance specific to their situation.
Alternative Energy and Clean Tech: Why do states adopt renewable portfolio standards (RPSs)?
How does the design of an RPS affect its performance? How does public policy affect the cost of
capital for renewable energy investments? Does electricity restructuring encourage utilities to
increase their investments in renewable energy?
Carbon Strategy and Carbon Policy: How should companies prepare for a future of carbon
constraints? To what extent are corporate disclosures regarding carbon reductions credible?
Does institutional investor activism regarding carbon disclosure affect shareholder value?
Green Buildings and Development: What are the social, psychological, economic and
technological barriers to green construction? What drives companies to participate in state
brownfield cleanup programs? Do these programs strengthen or weaken incentives for site
Base of the Pyramid and Social Enterprise: What can multinational corporations learn from
people at the base of the economic pyramid? What business models are most effective modes
of entry for social entrepreneurs at the base of the pyramid? What modes of partnership
between business and nonprofit organizations will best facilitate progress toward sustainability
in emerging markets?
Mega-city Mobility and Accessibility: How can automobile companies prepare themselves to be
providers of accessibility rather than only of transportation? How can urban planning be
integrated with transportation systems engineering to make the cities of the future more