In the competitive world of summer internships, a new route to plum spots is emerging: buying them at auctions, often at elite private schools. This spring, internships at Morgan Stanley, NBC, Miramax, WebMD, Electronic Arts and a host of other companies have been put out to bid at auctions across the country. Bids often reach into the $2,000 to $5,000 range. Some internships are unpaid; in other cases the winners' kids receive a salary.
Schools say internships have strong appeal at charity auctions with parents who see them as résumé builders for college applications. When a stint at investment bank Friedman, Billings, Ramsey went on the block at Georgetown Prep's spring auction, so many parents bid on it, the school immediately added a second position, for a total of $10,000, says spokesman for the North Bethesda, Md., school. Companies say they view these internships as charitable contributions with a unique return: mentoring young talent from top schools.
This also demonstrates how a great deal of “charity” is not about charity at all but is really a status building and social activity for rich people. This why I'm opposed to the policy of giving income tax breaks for "charitable" giving.