PCOP Panel on Education Reform in Philadelphia

Education Reform Panelists


On November 8, Princeton AlumniCorps and the Princeton Club of Philadelphia collaborated to organize a panel discussion on education reform in Philadelphia.  Katie Thaeder ’09 introduced the panel. The panel featured Dr. Leroy Nunery, the acting CEO and Superintendent of the Philadelphia school district; Marc Mannella, CEO of KIPP Philadelphia; Edward Mensah, Director of Steppingstone Scholars; Alyson Goodner ’00, founder of The School Collective; and Matt Troha, Principal of Mastery Turnaround School Thomas Campus.  The panel was moderated by Rosalind Echols ’05, a high school teacher at the Science Leadership Academy.


Speaking from their experience as leaders and educators within the Philadelphia school system, the panelists identified key challenges and opportunities for reform within this historically under-achieving school district.  Questions and topics addressed included: how can Philadelphia attract the best teachers and keep them?  How can teachers from charter, public, and private schools collaborate to ensure that they are using the most innovative and effective learning techniques?  How does the School District work most effectively with the Teachers Union?  How do we provide a quality public education with limited funding that continues to be cut?


Katie Thaeder '09


The overall message of the evening was that while the challenges facing the Philadelphia’s educational system are difficult, they are not insurmountable.  As demonstrated by the panel, there are many dedicated educators and reformers who are committed to improving classrooms and making sure Philadelphia’s students are college-ready and are prepared for life in our new global system.

By Joseph Sengoba ’10, 2011-2012 Project 55 Fellow and Katherine Chatelaine, Project 55 Fellowship Program Assistant

Princeton AlumniCorps is Hiring!

Princeton Project 55’s (PP55), soon to be Princeton AlumniCorps, mission is to inspire and build civic leadership among alumni across generations by engaging them in significant activities that influence and improve our society. We are an independent 501(c)(3) based in Princeton, New Jersey. We have a dedicated and active board of twenty-nine and staff of five. To learn more about our current programming, visit www.alumnicorps.org.

Princeton AlumniCorps is seeking a dynamic individual to guide, support, and facilitate the raising of funds for our organization. Title and salary will be determined based on previous experience.

Princeton AlumniCorps Development Position Announcement

Position Overview and Responsibilities
Princeton AlumniCorps is seeking a dynamic individual to guide, support, and facilitate the raising of funds for our organization. Title and salary will be determined based on previous experience.

• Plan, organize, and implement an integrated and comprehensive annual development plan in collaboration with Executive Director and board of directors
• Develop cultivation/solicitation goals, strategies, and timelines; evaluating results and adjusting strategies on an on-going basis
• Write letters/proposals and develop supporting materials
• Work collaboratively with Executive Director, board, staff, and volunteers to support, foster, and leverage their involvement in fundraising efforts
• In conjunction with Board and Executive Director, establish long-range (3-5 year) development planning with interim objectives to aid in tracking progress
• Coordinate and grow foundation support, including identification and research, cultivation, grant writing, reporting, and tracking
• Oversee endowment fundraising efforts including individual gifts and encouraging planned giving.
• Oversee Raiser’s Edge and NetCommunity
• Staff the Development Steering Group (DSG), the Princeton AlumniCorps fundraising advisory group.
• Prepare progress reports for committee and board meetings

Outreach and Communications
• Serve on the Communications Committee to help develop a comprehensive communications plan that will support resource development and further Princeton AlumniCorps’ mission
• Work with program staff, Executive Director and local volunteers to organize local outreach and fundraising events
• Manage the creation of branded fundraising collateral pieces, including, but not limited to, appeals and supporting materials, annual report, newsletters, website, and other as needed
• Ensure that Princeton AlumniCorps’ brand and messaging are consistent across communications efforts
• Coordinate the production and distribution of Shared Effort, Princeton AlumniCorps’ quarterly newsletter
• Be a positive representative of Princeton AlumniCorps in the community and help create institutional visibility

• Maintain guidelines and policies for the acceptance, valuation, recording, acknowledgment, and stewardship of gifts
• Track gifts against pledges and challenge grants
• Manage and process stock gifts
• Run monthly reports for Executive Director, treasurer, and accountant
• Work with treasurer and accountant on reconciliation with bank accounts as needed

• Take on additional projects and responsibilities as requested
• Participate in general staff tasks
• Manage development intern

Skills and Qualifications
• Excellent written and oral communication skills
• Adept with building and maintaining relationships
• Strong attention to detail
• Flexibility
• Interest in marketing and communicating to diverse audiences
• Comfortable interacting with wide variety of constituents
• Sense of humor
• Steadiness under pressure
• Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite and willingness to learn new technology
• Experience with Blackbaud software a plus
• Comfortable working in a small office environment
• Excitement for Princeton AlumniCorps mission and vision
• 1- 5 years of professional experience in the field of development and outreach
• Event planning experience a plus
• B.A./B.S.

Applicants should be willing to make a two-year commitment.

Starting salary will range from $40,000-$50,000 depending on previous experience, with potential for increase in subsequent years. Compensation includes medical and dental insurance, retirement benefits, 20 days of paid time off, and generous holidays.

The position is located in the Princeton Project 55 office at 12 Stockton Street in Princeton, NJ.

Application Process
Interested individuals should email a resume and a letter of interest and qualifications, using subject line “AlumniCorps Development Position” by Tuesday, July 13, 2010 to Natasha Robinson, Development Officer at nrobinson@alumnicorps.org.
This will be an expedited interview and placement process. Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis, so please submit your materials as soon as possible. The projected start date is August 3, 2010.

Project 55 Welcomes a New Staff Member!

Princeton Project 55 (soon to be Princeton AlumniCorps) is pleased to welcome a new staff member to 12 Stockton, Ms. Sara Gordon. Sara will manage the Project 55 Fellowship Program. Sara will be responsible for recruiting applicants and organizations to participate in the fellowship program, and supporting our alumni leaders in our PP55 cities across the country.

Sara has previously worked at the national non-profit for the UN Refugee Agency and she volunteers with Brem Foundation to Defeat Breast Cancer, both based in Washington, D.C. She has lived, studied and conducted primary research in South Africa. Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts Summa Cum Laude in government and Africana studies from Franklin & Marshall College.

We are confident that Sara will bring energy, innovation, and continued success to PP55!

Keynote Speaker for Gala to be Mayor Cory Booker of Newark

The Honorable Cory A. Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ

The Honorable Cory A. Booker, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, will be the keynote speaker for Princeton Project 55’s 20th Anniversary Gala on Thursday, May 27th, 2010!

Mayor Booker’s outstanding leadership of Newark, passion for justice and political change, commitment to education, and dedication to empowering individuals and families all commend him as a fitting speaker for the celebration of Project 55’s past 20 years.

“We are very pleased that the Honorable Cory Booker will be our keynote speaker for the Gala. The systemic changes he is implementing as the Mayor of Newark clearly resonate with the mission of our organization,” commented 20th Anniversary Committee Chair Anne-Marie Maman.

The Stanford University alum and Oxford Rhodes scholar earned his law degree from Yale before serving as Staff Attorney for the Urban Justice Center in Newark. Mayor Booker then rose to prominence as Newark’s Central Ward Councilman in 1998. As Councilman, he earned a reputation for his innovative and bold leadership; he introduced dozens of legislation and resolutions impacting housing, youth, safety, and jobs to create a better government.

Following his electoral sweep in 2006, Mayor Booker has made notable strides in achieving the Newark city mission to set a national standard for urban transformation. Since his election, Newark has seen a 40% reduction in crime, and affordable housing production has doubled. Mayor Booker has also committed to a $40 million transformation of the city’s parks and playgrounds through public and private partnerships.

Mayor Booker’s achievements have merited him recognition in numerous publications, including Time, New Jersey Monthly, and The New York Times Magazine. His membership on numerous boards and advisory committees –including Democrats for Education Reform, Columbia University Teachers College Board of Trustees and the Black Alliance for Educational Options – reflect Mayor Booker’s strong commitment to education.

In October 2009, Mayor Booker was asked to deliver the Toni Morrison Lectures at Princeton University.  His imaginative leadership and dedication to changing lives through civil leadership highly qualified him to give the lectures, which spotlight the new and exciting work of scholars and writers who demonstrate the expansive literary imagination, intellectual adventurousness and political insightfulness that characterize the writing of Toni Morrison.

Project 55’s mission to inspire, enable, and promote the creation of public interest initiatives is one truly reflected in Mayor Booker’s civic leadership. It is certainly an honor to have Mayor Cory Booker join Princeton Project 55 as we celebrate the milestones that mark our 20 years of success.

Meet Princeton AlumniCorps! New Name, Broader Reach, Enhanced Mission

At its meeting in February, the Board of Directors of Princeton Project 55 approved a new name for our
organization: we are now Princeton AlumniCorps!

During the committee's deliberations more than 300 possible new names were proposed and considered.

The change in our name culminates a two-year process growing out of our strategic plan. “Our name of Princeton Project 55 served us well for 20 years,” said Board Chair Kenly Webster ’55. “It honors the legacy of our founders, as indeed it should. Now, looking forward to our next 20 years, we will be able to grow and broaden our impact with a name that both reaches out to Princetonians of all ages and compellingly characterizes what we do.”

The Board has discussed a possible name change many times over the past two decades, but the issue became more urgent when members recognized that Project 55 needed to reach out more vigorously to attract Princetonians of all ages and to communicate its actual mission more effectively to everyone. In June 2008 the Board asked its Communications Committee to research a potential naming strategy. Committee members conducted research on several fronts:

  • How we communicate now and what our name should say about us
  • The story of PP55, its founding and evolution
  • The current mission and strategic priorities
  • Board feedback and discussion at its quarterly    meetings
  • Surveys and interviews with key constituents and peers, and eventually…
  • A proposal for a new umbrella name

Between December 2008 and February 2010, Communications Chair Lanny Jones ’66 and his committee held in-person or teleconference meetings about once a month. Board Chair Kenly Webster ’55, President Bill Leahy ’66, and Executive Director Kathleen Reilly were also involved throughout the research process, as was trademark attorney Dick Woodbridge ’65, who donated his services pro bono. During the committee’s deliberations more than 300 possible new names were proposed and considered.


*Does it reflect our overarching mission of inspiring and building civic leadership among alumni across generations by engaging them in significant activities that influence and improve our society?
*Is it distinctive and legally available?
*Is it short (ideally 5 syllables or less)?
*Is it inclusive and expansive?

    Guiding Principles:

    *In order to preserve brand recognition and honor the history and heritage of our organization, the original name of Princeton Project 55, or the“55” numerals, need to be included somewhere in the naming platform – either in the unchanged overall name, the subtitle/tagline, or names of key programs

    *Possible new names were tested for reactions from our key constituencies: the full Board, key founders and funders from the Class of ’55, alumni from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, PIP alumni, sponsoring organizations, the Alumni Council, and other campus groups

    From the outset, the committee concluded that, while the “55” numerals in the present name were an obstacle to recruiting Princeton alumni from other classes, it was also important that the brand-recognition built up under the original name be preserved. The result was the recommendation, approved by the board in February, that our flagship Public Interest Program now be known as the Princeton Project 55 Fellowships Program.

    As one Board member, Arthur McKee ’90, put it: “One of the reasons why I drive up to Princeton from Washington four times a year is because I have been able to get to know members of the Class of ’55, which otherwise I would never have done. And not only was I inspired, but I am currently and will be in the future inspired by what the Class of ’55 has done and what it still will do. We can and we will honor not just the legacy but the action and the lives of the members of the Class of ’55.”

    “The committee and others kept coming back to the concept of a ‘corps,’” Jones said. “With the existence of the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Service Corps, and City Corps, the term has evolved to connote innovative service. ‘Corps’ also of course conjures the image of a volunteer or unified team. Hence Princeton AlumniCorps: a cadre of alumni, shoulder to shoulder, working together for systemic social change.”

    The new name is just one piece of a larger strategic effort to engage, mobilize, and inspire alumni to be active citizens. Over the course of the next year we expect to announce new programs that will help us carry out our mission.

    Communications Committee: Lanny Jones ’66, Chair, Illa Brown ’76, Jim Lynn ’55, Anne-Marie Maman ’84, Kathleen McCleery ’75, Pete Milano ’55, Kathy Miller ’77, Natasha Robinson ’04, Chet Safian ’55, Tony Spaeth ’55

    PP55 Celebrates 20 Years in the Big Apple and the Windy City

    By Arti Sheth ’08, PP55 Board Member

    On March 3, 2010, guests gathered for a reception in New York City, one of many events taking place across the nation this year in celebration of Princeton Project 55’s 20th anniversary. The event, graciously hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, was a tribute to all of the agencies – numbering more than 75 in total – that have partnered with Project 55  over two decades of its presence in New York.

    A stunning 22 agencies were represented at the event, and all were honored with a Certificate of Appreciation recognizing their partnership. Five agencies in particular were highlighted during the evening’s program: Education Through Music, Heads Up! Pediatric Literacy Program at Weill Cornell Medical Center, New Alternatives for Children, the District Attorney’s Office of New York, and St. Mark’s the Evangelist School. Representatives from each of these agencies spoke passionately about the impact Project 55 fellows have had on their organizations.

    Speaking of two former fellows and longtime employees of Education Through Music (ETM), Rainah Berlowitz and Katherine Canning, Executive Director Kathy Damkholer said: “I have the unique distinction of having two wonderful fellows who have made ETM their life work. You have been so wonderful, and we are who we are because of you.”

    Adam Kaufmann said of fellows at the District Attorney’s Office of New York: “Project 55 fellows take on incredibly difficult, complex cases. We know that we can rely on the quality of the work that these astounding young people bring to the table.” These sentiments were echoed by all of the agencies who spoke at the event, a testament to the value of PP55’s work engaging alumni in varied public service fellowships that are often the starting point for lifelong careers in the public interest.

    The evening was much enjoyed by all, and Project 55 community members in New York look forward to an equally stellar 20th anniversary bash in Princeton this May!

    Click here to view videos of the New York and Chicago events on our YouTube Channel.

    By Kirsten O. Hull ’99, PP55 Chicago Volunteer

    On March 18, 200 people gathered downtown to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Princeton  Project 55 in Chicago.  Present were current and former fellows and mentors, Chicago non-profit leaders, and the program’s many volunteers and friends.  Since 1989, PP55 has placed 388 fellows and interns with 113 local agencies, and it has inspired the launch of similar programs at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

    The evening’s speakers included Jody Kretzmann ’66, Director, Asset Based Community Development Institute; Bill Leahy, Jr., M.D. ’66, President, Princeton Project 55;

    Michelle Saddler ’82, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services; and John Horan, President, North Lawndale College Prep High Schools. A book of special memories from past fellows was presented to John Fish ’55.  Lead sponsors of the event were: Ariel  Invest- ments, the Princeton Club of Chicago, Harrison Steans ’57, and Robin Steans and Leonard Gail.  Thank you to all who participated in this celebration.

    Click here to view more photos from the PP55 Chicago event on our facebook page.