Reunions Recap 2017

Reunions Panel on Moving the Needle:
Princeton AlumniCorps and Systemic Social Change

Reunions Panelists: Arthur McKee ’90, Director of Research, CityBridge Education; Sodiqa Williams ’05, VP External Affairs, Safer Foundation; James Burgess ’09, Executive Director and Co-Founder of OpenBiome

AlumniCorps hosted a panel discussion entitled Moving the Needle: Princeton AlumniCorps and Systemic Social Change on Friday, June 2 during the 2017 Princeton University Reunions weekend. The discussion was moderated by AlumniCorps’ Director of Programs and Strategy, Caryn Tomljanovich and it focused on three AlumniCorps partner organizations that work to create systemic social change through philanthropy, policy, and research. The panelists were Arthur McKee ’90, Director of Research, CityBridge Education; Sodiqa Williams ’05, VP External Affairs, Safer Foundation; and James Burgess ’09, Executive Director and Co-Founder of OpenBiome. They spoke about their organizations and the contributions AlumniCorps programs–especially Project 55 Fellows–have made to their work.

Panelists Sodiqa, Arthur, and James field questions from the audience.

James said that OpenBiome in Boston is lucky this year because many of their PP55 Fellows are staying at the organization. “By the end of the first year they’re really doing a lot.” He commented to a laughing audience, “The main problem with the Project 55 program is that they’re all really good at getting into medical school… We feel so lucky to be able to have these types of folks coming on.”

Sodiqa spoke about the impact that their Project 55 Fellow, Aswari Sodhi ’15, had on Chicago’s Safer Foundation’s efforts to support clients with criminal records and facilitate their re-entry into the workforce. When it comes to funding advocacy for those with arrested convictions, Sodiqa asserted:”We need to invest in people, not property.” Aswari was vital to helping the organization draft and defend legislation that enables re-entry in Illinois.

Arthur sang the praises of the eight Fellows that CityBridge has had in Washington, D.C. Former Project 55 Fellow, Caitlin Sullivan ’07, was in the audience and asked how a sense of civic duty and public service can be encouraged in students while they’re still enrolled at Princeton. This question sparked great dialogue between audience members and panelists.


Farewell to Andrew Nurkin: A Luncheon

About forty people attended a luncheon on June 2 during Princeton Reunions to say farewell to outgoing Executive Director, Andrew Nurkin. Andrew is now serving as the Deputy Director for Enrichment and Civic Engagement at the ‎Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation. See below for photos of the event!

AlumniCorps Welcomes New Executive Director, Kef Kasdin ’85!

On behalf of the Princeton AlumniCorps Board of Directors, Board Chair Liz Duffy ’88 and the Executive Director search committee are excited to announce that Kef Kasdin ’85 has been hired as the next Executive Director of Princeton AlumniCorps.  Kef has immediately transitioned from serving as Interim Executive Director to this new role. 

Kef began working with AlumniCorps as a volunteer in 2010 after reading about the organization in the Princeton Alumni Weekly.  She piloted and led the expansion of AlumniCorps’ ARC Innovators program, which provides opportunities for experienced professionals to do meaningful pro bono projects in the nonprofit sector.  She oversaw the expansion of the program from a pilot in New Jersey to full-fledged operations in New Jersey, New York, and Washington, DC, as well as a doubling of the number of ARC Innovator annual projects.  Kef joined AlumniCorps’ Board in 2012 and became active in all of AlumniCorps’ programming. She was instrumental in developing two strategic plans for the organization, including the most recent plan approved in February 2017, as well as a campaign plan approved in June 2017. Kef was elected Board President in May 2016 and has served as Interim Executive Director of AlumniCorps since the departure of former Executive Director Andrew Nurkin in mid-April 2017.  

Kef has a breadth of nonprofit board leadership experience.  She is currently Board Chair at Rachel’s Network, a vibrant community of women at the intersection of environmental advocacy, philanthropy, and women’s leadership, and she has previously served on other nonprofit boards including Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Kef also created and has taught the introductory course, “Foundations of Entrepreneurship” at Princeton University, where she has mentored 50 Princeton undergraduates each semester, inspiring them to launch innovations that can create value and make a difference in the world. Earlier in her career, Kef held senior leadership roles at 3Com Corporation (a data networking company) including a term as general manager of a $1B division. She became a technology-startup consultant in the late 1990s, a venture capitalist in 2000, and a founding general partner of Battelle Ventures, where from 2003 to 2015 she led the firm’s investments in clean energy and started several companies based on U.S. Department of Energy Lab technologies.

Originally from Israel, Kef grew up on Long Island. She holds a B.S.E degree in operations research from Princeton University, with a certificate in science and policy from the Woodrow Wilson School, and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University.  Kef’s husband Jeremy, also Class of ’85, is a Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton and their twin daughters, who both graduated from Princeton in 2014, are pursuing careers in the nonprofit and government sectors.

The search committee included AlumniCorps Chair Liz Duffy ’88 and board members Dale Caldwell ‘82, Kirk Davidson ’55, Debra Kushma ‘80, and Andrew Protain ‘08. According to Duffy, “Even though Kef served as interim executive director, she went through the application process along with several other highly qualified candidates. Kef not only had the deepest understanding of Princeton AlumniCorps and Princeton among the finalists, but she also had the broadest leadership experience and very savvy insights about what it will take to move the organization to the next level of impact and sustainability. We are confident that under Kef’s leadership, we will both realize the aspirations of the strategic plan and have a successful capital campaign.”

Kef commented, “I firmly believe AlumniCorps has an important part to play in expanding our society’s collective capacity to address the world’s most pressing challenges. I look forward to helping us fulfill our new mission: to mobilize people, organizations, and networks for the public good; and to helping to secure the resources to ensure Princeton AlumniCorps’ next quarter century is as impactful as its first 27 years have been.” Kef can be reached at kkasdin@alumnicorps.org or 609-921-8808 x2.

A message from Interim Executive Director, Kef Kasdin ’85

Kef Kasdin ’85, Interim Executive Director of Princeton AlumniCorps

Princeton AlumniCorps’ Network is in the midst of a busy spring, as you will read in this Shared Effort. Though I have served as ARC Innovators Program Leader since late 2010, as a member of the AlumniCorps Board of Directors since 2012, and as its President for the past year, I am struck by how much more I have learned about AlumniCorps in the past several weeks since stepping into the shoes of our previous Executive Director, Andrew Nurkin. For one thing, I learned that our home at 12 Stockton was built in 1824 by a famous Princeton architect and builder, Charles Steadman. I have also learned of the professionalism and dedication of not only our small, hardworking staff at 12 Stockton, but also of our multitude of volunteers across the country, and it is awe-inspiring. Over the last month, I had the opportunity to visit with some of our partner organizations, Fellows, and Area Committee members in Chicago; I am repeatedly struck by the variety of work our partner organizations do and the significant contributions of our Fellows to those efforts. We have concluded our pilot year of Seminars from Stockton and have received many of our Fellows’ capstone projects – both firsts for the program. We are about to welcome our newest class of Fellows (at least 46 this year) from the class of 2017 and have completed the selection of our next Emerging Leaders cohort. In both cases, we have seen record numbers of extremely well-qualified applicants.

I also want to thank the Board for their support during my transition, and most importantly for the hard work they have done to create a bold vision for the next several years of Princeton AlumniCorps with our Common Purpose: A Plan for Princeton AlumniCorps 2017-2021. We firmly believe AlumniCorps has an important part to play in expanding our society’s collective capacity to address the world’s most pressing challenges.
Our new mission, which was formally adopted by the board in December, is to mobilize people, organizations, and networks for the public good.

A new strategic plan was recently approved. Here is a brief summary:

AlumniCorps Values:

  • Thoughtful Engagement
  • Systemic Solutions
  • Empathic Partnerships
  • Intergenerational Insights
  • Vigorous Dialogue
  • Reciprocal Mentorship
  • Longevity

Five key strategic goals:

  • Mobilize our network
  • Strengthen existing leadership programs
  • Expand existing leadership programs
  • Launch new “Bold Idea” initiative
  • Ensure long-term organizational strength

You can take a look at the full strategic plan below:

You can also download a printable copy here. We look forward to working with all of you in the coming months and years to realize this vision.

In Community,

 

 

 

New Staff at 12 Stockton!

Lorraine Goodman’83, our new Development Officer

Lorraine Goodman ’83 joined AlumniCorps in November 2016 as Development Officer. Since graduating from Princeton, she has been involved with Princeton Annual Giving, served as the Director of Development and Alumni Communications for the Friends of Theatre Intime, and was recently named Co-Chair of Princeton Women’s Network of NYC.

Her professional fundraising experience includes two years working for The Red Hot Organization, which produces record albums and then donates the proceeds to AIDS-related charities. Subsequent development positions included Corporate Membership Manager at the Paley Center for Media, Grants Manager at Theatre for a New Audience, and Director of Development at both The New York Musical Festival and Roulette Intermedium.

Lorraine also has a wealth of volunteer experience with organizations ranging from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, InTouch Radio Network for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and Hearts & Voices. Prior to her career in fundraising, Lorraine appeared on Broadway and overseas in first class productions of Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Master Class, Les Miserables, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and more. Goodman has a Masters of Arts Administration from NYU’s Steinhardt.

Board Update: Strategic Planning 2016

2016-17 Board of Directors
The Princeton AlumniCorps Board of Directors met for a retreat on Sept. 9-10

How do you take a twenty-six year record of program impact, a national network of passionate leaders and effective organizations, an intergenerational community of volunteers, and an inclusive commitment to the public good and… do even more?

Building on the success of our first twenty-six years, the Board of Directors is in the midst of a planning process that seeks to answer this question and set strategic priorities for the future of Princeton AlumniCorps. Since March, six working groups of the Board have explored core questions of how to deepen consistency and community across our programs, how to extend the reach of our programming and better mobilize our national network of alumni and partner organizations, and how to ensure the longevity of the organization. These working groups developed a long list of recommendations for the next phase of AlumniCorps, which the Board discussed in depth during its two-day strategic planning retreat on September 9-10. With considerable enthusiasm for what lies ahead, the Board will spend the next few months gathering input on key ideas before its December meeting and expects to finalize the strategic plan in early 2017.

New Staff at 12 Stockton!

Kimme Carlos, Office Administrator at 12 Stockton as of August 2016
Kimme Carlos, Office Administrator at 12 Stockton as of August 2016

Kimme Carlos joined Princeton AlumniCorps as Office Administrator in August, 2016. Prior to joining Princeton AlumniCorps, Kimme founded the NJ nonprofit, Urban Mental Health Alliance, where she continues to contribute her time as the volunteer Executive Director. She has also held several positions in nonprofit leadership as Association Manager with Creative Marketing Alliance and Program Manager, Annual Meetings with the African Studies Association.

Kimme is a strong advocate for urban community and social issues and has served on several boards in and across Mercer County, NJ, including Children’s Futures, NAMI Mercer and Oaks Integrated (formerly Greater Trenton Behavioral Health). Kimme was honored in 2009 as New Jersey’s Woman of the Year by the Garden State Woman Education Foundation for her dedicated volunteer work and she is a graduate of Regent University with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Psychology. She has two children, five grandchildren and lives in New Jersey. She brings to AlumniCorps a passion for and experience in nonprofit administration and operations.


Mikaela Levons '04 joined the staff at 12 Stockton as the Development & Communications Associate in August, 2016
Mikaela Levons ’04 joined the staff at 12 Stockton as the Development & Communications Associate in August, 2016

Mikaela Levons ’04 is a native of Jamaica who has been passionate about civic engagement since high school. She has worked in the charitable sector since receiving a B.A. from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School in 2004. Mikaela served as the grant writer for New Jersey After 3 and The Martin House in Trenton. Most recently, she was the Membership and Communications Coordinator for the Center for Non-Profits. She received her M.Sc. in Non-Profit and NGO Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, and currently serves on the board of a non-profit operating in rural Jamaica. She and her husband live in Ewing with their three young daughters. She is excited to return to ‘Old Nassau’ as AlumniCorps’ Development and Communications Associate.