Raise Your Hand If You Eat Food. Then Take Action!

We all eat food, but few of us care to think about what systems, policies, costs, and risks are associated with bringing that food to our tables. The production and consumption of food affects every aspect of our lives as individuals, as members of a local community and as agents of a global economy.

A former PP55 fellow in Boston slices fruit at a farmer's market.

In September 2010, Gordon Douglas MD ’55 and Sheila Mahoney began a conversation about food.

The Focus on Food initiative was conceived with the goal of cultivating Project 55 fellowship opportunities for recent Princeton graduates at organizations committed to food-related issues in this country. The issues range from obesity to farm factory pollution to food safety regulation to farm worker rights—all of which may be linked to our industrial food system, which is itself a product of government policies and business practices that support the production of vast quantities of low-priced, low-grade food, whatever the costs to the common good. As diverse and numerous as the issues may be, Focus on Food recognizes four broad areas of advocacy in today’s food movement: public health, environmental sustainability, social justice and animal welfare. Alumni have the opportunity to advance the issues in any one of these areas, whether by examining policy, promoting awareness or effecting change on the ground.


Take Action.

–   Are you an experienced professional? Put your principles into practice. Become an AlumniCorps Community Volunteer and donate your expertise to a food-related nonprofit.

–   Look at your own personal and professional networks. What organizations in your community are working on the food problem? Who might take a Project 55 Fellow or a skills-based AlumniCorps Community Volunteer?

–   Are you passionate about sustainable, healthy food? Help us to organize an educational panel or event for alumni in one of our AlumniCorps cities.

–   Are you a professional working in food and public health, social justice, the environment, or animal welfare? Contact us about speaking at an AlumniCorps seminar or panel for Project 55 fellows.

–   Join the conversation. Which of the four food system issues most concern you?  How can we start a dialogue? Click here to apply for membership in the AlumniCorps Focus on Food online discussion.

How Does Princeton AlumniCorps Achieve Our Mission?

Princeton AlumniCorps envisions a day when all Princeton graduates will embrace civic involvement as their responsibility as alumni and citizens, throughout their lives. To that end, we provide alumni with opportunities, training, and support needed to put their energies to work addressing significant social issues.

Princeton Project 55 Fellowship Program

  • 54 PP55 fellows are serving at 44 public interest organizations this year.
  • In total, alumni of the program now number more than 1,300.
  • Fellows are currently serving in seven geographic areas: Boston, Chicago, Connecticut, Philadelphia, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, DC.
  • About 10% of the senior class applies for a PP55 fellowship each year.





Emerging Leaders

  • Princeton AlumniCorps’ newest initiative, launched in June 2011 in Washington, DC.
  • A 10-month professional development program designed to transform young nonprofit professionals into the sector’s future leaders.
  • First class of 11 participants are alumni of the PP55 program, Princeton, and other institutions.
  • The program curriculum interweaves the development of leadership, management, and hard nonprofit skills with mentoring, peer support, and networking within the sector.
  • Emerging Leaders put their learning into action by designing and executing projects that generate real results for their organizations.


Community Volunteers

  • The Community Volunteers program connects alumni from the classes of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s to innovative civic engagement opportunities.
  • Volunteers offer nonprofits cost-free access to professional expertise while nonprofit partners offer alumni opportunities to serve their communities in a truly meaningful way.
  • Community Volunteers matches alumni with such opportunities as service on nonprofit boards, pro bono work addressing specific organizational needs, individual volunteer matching, and more.




The Alumni Network

  • The Alumni Network (TAN) helps other groups of college alumni to organize programs modeled on our example.
  • Affiliates include more than 30 public interest programs at colleges and universities across the country (e.g. at Harvard, Dartmouth and Stanford), including some working abroad.
  • Taken together, TAN affiliates have placed more than 7,000 interns and fellows since the Network was formed.
  • In many of our cities, we work with TAN affiliates and host joint seminars and social gatherings, to connect fellows with an extensive community of nonprofit professionals.

Click here to get involved!

AlumniCorps Launches New Program for Emerging NonProfit Leaders

Princeton AlumniCorps has launched our newest initiative, the Emerging Leaders professional development program.

In its pilot year, we are welcoming applications from alumni in the Washington, DC area who are currently working in the nonprofit sector. We hope to expand to new communities in the near future.

Learn more and apply today!

We hope that Emerging Leaders will help us to continue the chain of programming AlumniCorps offers to alumni throughout their lives. Our Project 55 fellowships offer exposure to the nonprofit sector, Emerging Leaders helps to support and equip the nonprofit leaders of tomorrow, and Community Volunteers provides meaningful civic engagement opportunities for alumni in mid life.

Thank you for your support and interest as Princeton AlumniCorps engages alumni of all ages, from all institutions, in the public interest.

Oprah’s Angel Network Grants $1 million to PP55 Alum & DSST Public Schools

Bill Kurtz 91 (third from right) accepted $1 Million Check for DSST Schools from Oprah's Angel Network

DSST Public Schools (DSST) announced today that it has received a $1 million grant from Oprah’s Angel Network to support DSST’s expansion to serve more students in Denver. Bill Kurtz ’91, CEO of DSST Public Schools, is a proud Project 55 alumnus.

Oprah announced the gift to DSST on the September 20 episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The show features the documentary film Waiting for Superman, which focuses on the state of public education in the U.S. The documentary focuses on the staggering signs that American children are falling way behind their counterparts in other countries, even as school spending increases.

Kurtz ’91 says, “DSST Public Schools is thrilled by this national recognition of our work to help more than 1,000 Denver students get a college preparatory education. Waiting for Superman does an outstanding job of outlining our country’s crisis in public education and the urgency with which we need to act on behalf of students nationwide. DSST is very grateful for the support of Oprah’s Angel Network to help us expand in order to double the number of four year college-ready graduates from Denver Public Schools. “

Bill Kurtz '91 was a PP55 fellow at the Holy Cross School in the South Bronx.

DSST was one of six high-performing charter networks from around the country featured on the show as examples of public schools that are serving stude

nts well. The money received by each school network from Oprah’s Angel Network will be used to expand and open more schools to provide more students with a high-quality college preparatory education.

Kurtz describes his experience with Project 55 , saying  “I spent four years working at Holy Cross School in the South Bronx as an Assistant Principal.  In that job, I taught history, coached basketball, created a fundraising program, started an advisory council, served as the Assistant Principal for the middle school.  It was an incredible experience that certainly built the foundation for the last 12 years I have spent in education. My experience as a PP55 fellow was life changing.  It provided me the opportunity to transition from Wall Street to seeking educational solutions for underserved students first in the South Bronx, then Newark New Jersey and now Denver, Colorado.  My fellow experience taught me a great deal about serving low-income students, educational leadership, and how to work on a team.  The mentorship of Pete Milano and Chet Safian was instrumental in my growth and something I will always be grateful for.”

About DSST Public Schools
DSST Public Schools (DSST) operates open-enrollment STEM charter schools and is part of the Denver Public Schools (DPS) system. DSST Public Schools currently serves over 1,000 students on two campuses. DSST Public Schools has been approved to open three additional secondary school campuses (grades 6-12) in 2011, 2012 and 2013. At full enrollment, DSST Public Schools will serve over 4,200 students, and will double the number of four year college-ready DPS graduates by 2020.
DSST Public Schools was founded as the Denver School of Science and Technology in 2004 with the founding campus at Stapleton. DSST: Stapleton serves students from all parts of Denver with a student population of 65% minority and 45% low income. DSST: GVR’s student population is 83% minority and 55% low income.
DSST: Stapleton is widely considered to be one of the leading open enrollment STEM schools (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in the U.S. and has become a destination for educators nationwide. DSST: Stapleton has consistently been the highest performing secondary school in DPS and in Colorado, based on growth and absolute performance. DSST: Stapleton’s first three graduating classes earned 100% acceptances into four-year colleges. Fifty percent of DSST’s 2010 graduating class is first generation college-bound.
Additional information about DSST Public Schools and the admission process is available on the school’s web site at www.scienceandtech.org.

John Tucker ’55, Founder and Friend, dies

The PP55 founders, and greater family and Board of Princeton AlumniCorps are sad to share the news that John Tucker, a founder and friend of this great organization, died on October 9, 2010. John Tucker served two terms on the PP55 Board of Directors, and faithfully served as a fundraising volunteer for the past 21 years.

In one of PP55’s earliest outreach efforts, John wrote, “At age 55 we are at a point in life when, after spending most of our time trying to take care of ourselves and our families, we have the time, the ability and the desire to contribute to the public good.”  John lived his life devoted to his family, friends, and the public interest. He will be deeply missed, and his impact and hard work endures through the sustained efforts of PP55 fellows, Princeton AlumniCorps, and John’s membership in the Princeton AlumniCorps Legacy Society.

John was a gifted writer. In the PP55 Founders Book, John wrote the following about his experience:

“In 1985, after nearly 30 years as a trial and appellate lawyer with Jenner & Block, a large law firm in Chicago, I moved to Virginia with my wife, Jayne, who was beginning a new career as a law professor. A major impetus for the move was my own long-held plan to pursue a second career of my own, as a writer. As a result of the move, I had both the time and the geographical proximity to attend the fateful mini-reunion in Washington which gave birth to Project 55.

Although I believe my friend Ralph Nader is one of the greatest Americans of our generation, I was not especially looking forward to his luncheon speech that weekend. I had attended some of his speeches before and found them important, but a bit dry and earnest for my taste. I was therefore delighted at the light touch and wit with which he addressed us—and thrilled when he proposed honoring our 35th Reunion by creating an organization that would serve the public interest in a concrete way. What Ralph proposed that day would ultimately become the Public Interest Program. And when Charlie Bray raised Ralph’s ante by suggesting that we also provide a framework for our classmates to create projects of their own, I was hooked. I had devoted a lot of time as a lawyer to working pro bono for people and projects I believed in, and this seemed like a wonderful opportunity to continue public interest work while pursuing my new career.

A few weeks after that meeting I joined a core group of classmates in Washington to begin the concrete planning for Princeton Project 55. Lots of meetings later, but well in time for that 35th Reunion, PP55 was a reality.

Other than those early planning sessions, I cannot honestly say my contributions to the organization have been great. I wrote the first brochure describing Project 55 and a long article about it for a magazine. I served two terms on the Board of Directors, during which Ann Spaeth and I began trying to articulate the role of what we call the Center for Civic Leadership. I also worked on efforts to assure the long-term continuation of PP55, and tried unsuccessfully to enlist other classes and schools to create similar organizations—a task that Chet Safian has brilliantly brought to fruition. But if I cannot claim to be one of PP55’s real heroes, I can say that I am enormously proud of the organization and its accomplishments, of my classmates who created and sustained it for all these years, and of the small parts I have played in its creation and success.”

Click here to read John’s obituary in the Virginia Gazette.

John is survived by his wife, Jayne Barnard, Cutler Professor of Law at Marshall-Wythe; his four children, Katie Tucker Trippi, Cynthia Tucker, Laura Tucker, and Michael Tucker; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Contributions may be made to Princeton AlumniCorps, 12 Stockton St., Princeton NJ 08540. Plans are pending for a memorial service in November.