Interview with Princeton AlumniCorps’ New President Kathy Miller ’77

Kathy graduated from Princeton in 1977 with an independent major in Healthcare Resource Allocation: The Economics and Politics of Healthcare.  After working full time for several years, she returned to graduate school part-time and obtained a Master’s in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the New School for Social Research as a NYC Mayor’s Graduate fellow.  Kathy has worked in healthcare since graduation, becoming a hospital assistant executive director in 1983 and holding successive leadership positions in ambulatory care services and hospital administration and planning since that time.  She has worked with the NYC public hospital system, several voluntary teaching hospitals and most recently served as Vice President for Clinical and Community Health Programs at Public Health Solutions, an independent non-profit public health corporation providing services and research in the areas of women’s health, obesity prevention and nutrition, family services and HIV in New York City.  Kathy is now running her own independent healthcare consulting business. She has participated in AlumniCorps for years as both a partner agency and as a mentor for NYC fellows in the Project 55 Fellowship Program. She joined the Board of Directors in 2007 and was elected President of the Board in December.

 

How/why did you first get involved with Princeton AlumniCorps? What has kept you engaged over the years?

About eight years ago, when I first began working at Public Health Solutions, I was looking for smart, inexpensive help in the office. I went onto the University website, and that’s when I saw a reference to Project 55 fellowships. The next thing I knew, Chet Safian ’55 and Steve Houck ’69 were on my doorstep telling me about PP55 and convincing me it would be a great match. I had already recruited two students at the time, and Chet offered to make them fellows. In addition, he convinced me that I should be a mentor. Part of what really sold me was when, the following year, I went through the whole PP55 process and was amazed at the candidates; they were well screened and well matched with my organization’s needs. Later, I got involved with Jim Gregoire’s initiative to start public health fellowships.

As an alumna, I was personally really excited to find a community service opportunity that related back to Princeton. My own class tends to be more internationally focused when it comes to service work, and I wanted to participate in something that gave back to Princeton. It was a perfect fit for me in that sense. I was later asked to be on the Board, and the rest is history.

 

What is your background regarding nonprofits/volunteering? How have you demonstrated “Princeton in the Nation’s Service”?

I have spent my entire career working in nonprofits—especially in healthcare—which was my major. I have always felt that there was a certain need for capable, intelligent people in the sector, and it has given me a lot of personal satisfaction to give back. I spent my first ten years out of school working in public hospitals in New York City in a variety of roles. I then moved into the voluntary hospital sector in NYC, working in large medical centers, primarily doing work with community based ambulatory care and programs that were essentially safety net healthcare programs. When I moved to Public Health Solutions, I continued to work on these programs but also got involved with research and specialized in maternal/child  and reproductive health.

Upon leaving Public Health Solutions I began exploring my opportunities and realized there was a tremendous need for people adept at helping organizations to develop and implement strategies to deal with the changing landscape of healthcare regulations today.  I am now working for two clients in that role.  One is the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, where I’m directing a project to provide their member organizations with tools to survive and thrive as the world changes around them; funding which has traditionally come from grants is now being transformed to Medicaid/state sponsored insurance. The second is a large NYC network of ambulatory care sites where I will be working with the leadership team to improve their quality of service and improve the health of the population they care for by making better use of technology and the patient information it can provide.

 

What is the most important thing you look for when supporting an organization or serving on a nonprofit board?

The most important thing I look for, after affirming that I believe in the mission of an organization, is the vision of the leadership. Strong leadership has a vision of where it wants to go as well as the management skill to move the organization forward.

 

What role do you think AlumniCorps plays in the broader Princeton community and in communities around the country?

AlumniCorps plays a key role in bringing alumni together in the common pursuit of public interest opportunities. This is important for several reasons. First, when alumni are brought together through a program, connections are made, and amazing partnerships and bonds are formed which otherwise may not have been. For instance, in Chicago, Paula Morency ’77 and Tom Allison ’66 have recently begun working together on developing the Community Volunteers program, and have together discovered common interests and passions to channel into their community. When alumni meet other alumni in this way, it is really compelling, and “Princeton in the Nation’s Service…” is really brought to life.

The other important aspect of   AlumniCorps’ work is intergenerational as alumni of all ages can connect to one another and to their common heritage as Princetonians. This is exemplified within the Board and also in the structure of AlumniCorps’ programming (recent graduates are paired with mentors of older classes, for example). While the alumni community is strong on its own, AlumniCorps excels at leveraging initial alumni connections into relationships that can contribute meaningfully and effectively to civic engagement, all the while strengthening the bonds of the alumni community in the process.

 “When alumni are brought together through a program, connections are made and amazing partnerships and bonds are formed which otherwise may not have been.”

What do you see as some of the challenges and opportunities you will encounter in your upcoming term as President? And what is your hope for the future of Princeton AlumniCorps?

I think the challenges and opportunities are very similar. We are really striving to increase the engagement of alumni from classes of the ’60’s, ’70’s, ’80’s, ’90’s, and ’00’s to create a strong, alumni-driven organization to include graduates of all ages. The challenge is reaching those alumni who graduated before Princeton AlumniCorps (then Princeton Project 55) became an institution. Another challenge is conveying the mission of the organization and how it is relevant for ’60’s and ’70’s graduates. We have to be strategic in considering all the ways they can participate that might match up with their current passions, interests, and desires.

Our opportunity lies in expanding our outreach, involving more classes, and helping to grow more programs. With the addition of Emerging Leaders and Community Volunteers, AlumniCorps has created many more outlets for alumni to get involved. These two new programs enable us to work not only with individual alumni but also to partner with class service projects that utilize AlumniCorps’ experience and skills. Through these partnerships, we can help officers and class members refine and implement their visions.

My hope is that AlumniCorps would become known in the alumni community as an organization that provides both individual alumni and class leadership with opportunities to be efficiently, effectively, and jointly engaged in civic service.


Is there anything else you would like to share as incoming President?

While we continually seek donations to make our programs possible, and ensure that AlumniCorps has a sound financial base moving forward, our primary goal is to engage alumni in ways that incorporate their time and talent.  There are many ways an alum can give to the organization: with their time, their money, their potential connections with other sources of funding, volunteer opportunities, mentoring opportunities, or opportunities to be trainers for Emerging Leaders, etc. There is a broad array of ways to be involved and contribute to AlumniCorps. While money is always greatly appreciated, it is not the only thing for which we are looking.

 

Interview With Bill Burks ’55, A Founder of Princeton AlumniCorps

 

Bill Burks ’55 is one of the founders and an active supporter of Princeton AlumniCorps. Bill majored in biology at Princeton, and earned his M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. After a five-year surgical residency in New York City, Bill served two years in the Army Medical Corps, including a year as a trauma surgeon in Vietnam. He practiced general and vascular surgery in Princeton from 1966 until his retirement in 1998. Since 1993, he has been a Trustee of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, and served as Chairman for nine years (1997 to 2005). He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Princeton Healthcare System. 

Q: How and why did you get involved with Princeton AlumniCorps? 

BB: I joined Princeton AlumniCorps (then Princeton Project 55) in the beginning in Washington, when Ralph Nader’s speech really hit a responsive chord in many of us. It was such an attractive concept for us to use our contacts to assist new graduates, who were eager and enthusiastic, into worthwhile career pursuits.

Q: What role do you think Princeton AlumniCorps plays in the Princeton community and in communities across the country?

I think the key benefit of the PP55 Fellowship Program is the opportunity to get extraordinary people into community service and volunteerism, and the benefits that then flow into the organization and communities. Students also benefit, as it gives them the opportunity to work with a mentor and a chance to experience a lot more in the early stages of their career than they might have done on their own.

Q: You were a founding member of Princeton AlumniCorps – then Princeton Project 55 – in 1989. How do you think the organization has changed in the past 22 years? 

BB: I think the organization has changed dramatically but without losing sight of its original mission. After the first couple of years I wasn’t so much involved but there were a very hard-core group of classmates who supported the concept and made it work. The organization has become an important part of Princeton University’s mission and it has been strongly supported by Presidents Shapiro and Tilghmen.

The concept has spread to other colleges and the membership and leadership has changed to include other classes. Princeton AlumniCorps has evolved into a self-sustaining organization and is raising endowment funds to sustain it long term. Its effectiveness with young people is unquestioned and many PP55 interns have become very successful in their careers and their involvement in civic causes.

Q: Towards the end of your career, and since retiring, you’ve been very involved with the Princeton Community Foundation, can you share a little bit about that?

 BB: I started working with the Princeton Community Foundation in 1993 when I received a call from a ’55 classmate recommending the organization to me. When I retired from my surgical practice in 1998, I had become Chairman of the Community Foundation Board and since then I have worked there 4-5 days a week. The Foundation works to promote philanthropy in central New Jersey by building permanent endowment as well as flexible funds which support not-for-profit organizations. We continue to grow with over $75 million in assets and are making over $3 million in grants per year.

Q: What are the most important things you look for when supporting an organization or serving on a nonprofit board?

BB: I have always enjoyed working with people and feeling productive. I loved my surgical practice and it was emotionally rewarding. With respect to community service I look for organizations which stimulate my interest and where I think I can make a difference. When my children were in school I served on their school boards for 10 years; during my years of surgical practice I served on the hospital Board and recently have had the opportunity to go back on the board as Princeton is building a new hospital and the changes are fascinating. And my work with the Community Foundation has been a genuine pleasure as I believe totally in the concept and have learned a great deal about the not-for-profit world.

Q: Princeton AlumniCorps just placed our newest class of 54 PP55 fellows. What advice do you have for them?

BB: As I think the new fellows would already be aware, the fellowship program is an incredible opportunity for them to realize some of their goals and to be more productive straight out of college. It’s a unique way for them to use the gifts that they have been given much earlier in their careers, a chance to make new contacts, and for many fellows, an opportunity to secure longer-term employment at the end of their fellowship year.

New fellows should realize the opportunity that has been given to them and make the best use of their talents to stimulate their partnering organizations. It is a two way relationship, and organizations also have the chance to get a lot out of these kids, who are creative, hard-working and wonderful.

Q: What is your hope for the future of Princeton AlumniCorps?

BB: When Princeton Project 55 was first established, I don’t think we realized its full potential. At that stage, we had been out of college for about 30 years, and many of us had children at college or some recent graduates. Our hope was to give our children the best, and we asked: How can we give them the best start? How can we give them the opportunity to best use their talents?

I think the original premise of Princeton Project 55 is so solid, and I trust that the organization will continue to grow and evolve with this in mind. My hope for Princeton AlumniCorps is that they will play a significant role in maximizing the incredible talent pool of university students who avail themselves of this opportunity.

Interview with Princeton AlumniCorps’ New Board Member, Alejandro Perez ’10

Alejandro Perez ’10 graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Spanish Literature, one that, despite Spanish being his native tongue, he did not discover until his college years.  Hailing from a small town in south Texas, he is a first generation American and first generation college graduate.  He worked for a year through Princeton AlumniCorps. As a Parent Outreach Coordinator for New York Center for Child Development, Alejandro spent two days out of the week in Spanish Harlem where he worked alongside a psychologist.  

This year Alejandro plans to work for the same clinic in Spanish Harlem as a Health Education Outreach Worker, where he will implement new initiatives to better track the patients.  Apart from this, Alejandro’s central focus is writing, from poetry to short fiction.  While he does hope to attend graduate school in clinical psychology, he knows that writing will always be an important part of his life. 

Q: How/Why did you get involved with Princeton AlumniCorps? Did it surprise you to learn that Princeton AlumniCorps is a multigenerational organization?

I knew my senior year in college that I wanted to do some form of public service, whether abroad or here in the US.  I wanted an experience that would combine my interest in public service and clinical psychology.  When I got a position at New York Center for Child Development, I knew it would be a formative experience, one that would make a meaningful impact on the people of East Harlem.

Yes, it surprised me to discover that Princeton AlumniCorps. engages different generations either through programs or initiatives for different classes or just through the network of people involved with the program.

Q: What is your background regarding nonprofits/volunteering? How have you demonstrated “Princeton in the Nation’s Service?”

I have been volunteering since I was a sophomore in high school.  I started volunteering in an ER at a local hospital, then taught an ESL class for YWCA, and then proceeded to apply to public service programs.

Working in East Harlem as an assistant to a mental health team has taught me that change can be on an individual or institutional level.  By normalizing mental health services in a community where it still holds a stigma and by treating patients from that same community, I have been a part of movement that combines both the individual and institutional change.  Ultimately though  I think our motto speaks to our awareness and engagement with the community around us in whatever capacity that may be.  I think I have accomplished this.

Q: What’s the most important thing you look for when supporting an organization or serving on a nonprofit board?

I look first at the mission and then at the projects in which an organization is involved.  These two things indicate who the organization engages and how they do so.

Q: Please discuss the importance of what Princeton AlumniCorps does for the Princeton community and communities across the country.

It creates a counter culture in some sense, one of engaged graduates of all ages.  As Princeton AlumniCorps expands and encompasses other classes, I think more and more people will see public service as a lifelong commitment, just as the founders of Princeton AlumniCorps envisioned it.

Q: For 2011-12, AlumniCorps placed 51 Project 55 fellows. What would your advice be for our newest class of PP55 fellows, and to those Princetonians who are still looking for a job next year?

For those PP55 fellows, take advantage of the opportunities that this program gives to you.  It is an opportunity to meet people across all industries that care and are passionate about making a meaningful change.

To those young Princetonians still looking for a job, this time of transition can be an opportunity to try new hats that you never thought would interest you.  Be flexible with your goals and where they may lead you.

Q: What is your hope for the future of Princeton AlumniCorps?

My hope for Princeton AlumniCorps is that it grows to incorporate not just all classes but also people of different industries.  Public service is not just a career or an internship, it is a actively engaging with the world around you. 

Princeton AlumniCorps is Hiring an Office Administrator

Princeton AlumniCorps (formerly Princeton Project 55) is an independent alumni-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that inspires and builds civic leadership among alumni across generations by engaging them in significant activities that influence and improve our society.

Position Overview and Responsibilities

The Office Administrator ensures the smooth operation of this fast-paced and innovative community. The office administrator position requires an organized self-starter and team player to oversee day-to-day functions of the administrative and program staff at Princeton AlumniCorps; and is in many cases the first person to the organization encounter. The office administrator must have the ability to move capably and confidently between a wide range of responsibilities including reception, administrative office operations, human resources and finance.

OFFICE OPERATIONS

  • Answer the main AlumniCorps phone line, welcome guests and vendors, sort mail.
  • Maintain a requisition and ordering procedure for office supplies including postage, paper, etc. assuring inventory control and cost effectiveness.
  • Manage office printings and mailings
  • Maintain conference room schedules; arrange for meeting space and room reservations as requested by staff.
  • Assist in organizing/arranging Board meetings and trainings.
  • Maintain central office files including board meeting minutes and attendance sheets
  • Supervise building maintenance, cleaning staff and AlumniCorps interns
  • Provide administrative and planning support for staff
  • Schedule regular maintenance of the office facilities

HUMAN RESOURCES

  • Work with PP55 program manager to coordinate and participate in fellowship interviews with alumni and nonprofit partner organizations during the month of January.
  • Work with PP55 program manager and PP55 interviewers to decide on fellowship placement referrals.
  • Manage the job board for fellowship alumni and partner organizations
  • Manage the volunteer board for Princeton AlumniCorps
  • Lead recruitment of Princeton AlumniCorps interns from Princeton University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and surrounding colleges and universities
  • Interview, hire and assign tasks and corresponding staff managers for Princeton AlumniCorps interns
  • Orient and coordinate enrollment, collection of hours and associated academic credit for AlumniCorps interns
  • Assist in all hiring processes to include scheduling interviews, conducting reference checks, preparing hiring packets, verification of documentation and document completion.
  • Assist the Executive Director with the payroll process including: collection of employee’s time sheets/cards, verifying accuracy and preparation.

FINANCE

  • Maintain donor and vendor files
  • Enter bills, deposits, and petty cash expenditures in QuickBooks; prepare and process payments and deposits
  • Prepare acknowledgement letters to annual giving donors via Raiser’s Edge for signature
  • Update Raiser’s Edge when new address/contact information is received
  • Interact with vendors on related matters to ensure good and proper business relations.
  • Work closely with executive director and accountant to ensure payment of taxes, filing of appropriate forms, and effective accounting practices

GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

  • Lead special projects as needed
  • Help to design and maintain the AlumniCorps website
  • Help to design and maintain AlumniCorps’ Shared Effort newsletter
  • Collaborate with other staff as needed and appropriate
  • Collaborate and communicate with alumni volunteers as needed
  • Aid in organization-wide initiatives and events
  • Work by the Princeton AlumniCorps Staff Values

QUALIFICATIONS

  • A minimum of Bachelors Degree, plus one to five years experience in administrative support
  • Good knowledge of office support functions including word processing, filing, telephone etiquette, data entry
  • Must have basic math skills with minimal bookkeeping knowledge
  • Ability to prioritize tasks effectively and to manage multiple projects
  • Must have very strong interpersonal, communication and organizational skills.
  • Ability to understand and uphold the highest level of confidentiality
  • Computer knowledge and proficiency required including Microsoft Office applications including, Word, Excel, Power Point, Publisher and Outlook. Experience with RaisersEdge and Quickbooks preferred
  • Experience supervising or participating in an internship program a plus
  • Flexibility and openness to new ideas and feedback
  • Sense of humor

Salary
Starting salary will range from $30,000-$40,000 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.

Location
The position is located in the Princeton AlumniCorps office at 12 Stockton Street in Princeton, NJ.

Application Process
Interested individuals should email a resume and a letter of interest and qualifications by Friday, January 20th, 2012 to info@alumnicorps.org.
A start date in early March will be determined by mutual agreement.

Interview with Princeton AlumniCorps’ New Board Member, Janice Nittoli ’85

Janice Nittoli ’85 is the incoming president of The Century Foundation, a progressive public policy think tank endowed by Edward Filene in 1919 as The Twentieth Century Fund. Until recently, she served as Associate Vice President & Managing Director at the Rockefeller Foundation, which she joined in 2006. There, she provided leadership and strategic direction for select Foundation initiatives with grantmaking and related activities in the areas of domestic policy, economic security, urban innovation and the philanthropic sector. Prior to joining the Rockefeller Foundation, Janice was a senior executive at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation dedicated to improving the lives of poor children, their families, and communities. Prior to foundation work, she served as President of the National Center for Health Education, a national nonprofit that designs and disseminates school and community based health education programs. Ms.Nittoli has served in several capacities in New York City government. She was the assistant commissioner in the Department of Health, managing the city’s correctional health system, and she also was a senior official in the City’s Human Resources Administration and at the Board of Education, where she ran foster care services and dropout prevention programs, respectively.  Before these appointments, she worked on child welfare, employment and income support issues for New York City Council President Carol Bellamy.

Ms. Nittoli has published book chapters and articles on a variety of issues in human services and public policy and has taught graduate-level classes in research methods and public policy. She is active on several nonprofit boards dedicated to youth and community services and a charter high school dedicated to runaway and homeless youth and young people in foster care.  She is a member of the New York State Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Group and the New York City Advisory Committee on Youth and Family Justice. Ms. Nittoli received a bachelor’s degree from Marymount Manhattan College and a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Q: How/Why did you get involved with Princeton AlumniCorps? Did it surprise you to learn that Princeton AlumniCorps is a multi-generational organization?

When I was working at Rockefeller, AlumniCorps approached us and asked if we would be interested in working with the Princeton Project55 program. I had the profound pleasure of working with five Fellows through that program and it was a fabulous experience – the Fellows did real work we needed to accomplish and they fit right in with the Rockefeller community. It was not until several years of working with PP55 did I learn  there was such a rich network of people and programming behind it. I had no idea!

Q: What is your background regarding nonprofits/volunteering? How have you demonstrated “Princeton in the Nation’s Service?”

I first volunteered when I was in elementary school.  My parents were always active civically and it never occurred to to me do anything else. I have found that volunteering has always added a rich dimension to my life; it keeps me connected to issues in the world and has helped me refine my own career goals and my sense of how I can contribute to a greater good. When I finished school and as my career progressed, I supplemented my volunteer nonprofit service with working directly for nonprofits.

Q: What’s the most important thing you look for when supporting an organization or serving on a nonprofit board?

I look for three things: an engaged board for whom the organization is a top priority for each director; a clear mission and plan for executing on it; and a capable management team at the helm.

Q: Please discuss the importance of what Princeton AlumniCorps does for the Princeton community and communities across the country.

AlumniCorps brings prepared and proven talent to hundreds of tasks in neighborhoods all over the US. They strengthen communities and tie them together through the AlumniCorps network and make each place bigger, more effective together than each is alone.  To me, AlumniCorps makes realizing community aspirations not only possible, but probable.

Q: For 2011-12, AlumniCorps placed 51 Project 55 fellows. What would your advice be for our newest class of PP55 fellows, and to those Princetonians who are still looking for a job next year?

In my own career I have found that my volunteer service helped both prepare me for my jobs and also helped me get jobs!  It increases knowledge, know-how and networks in a way that you just can’t get without direct experience.  It is also a great way to try on ideas you have about roles or fields of work you’re curious about but are not sure is for you. And for employers, it’s the best way to get to know how someone might perform as potential staffer.

Q: What is your hope for the future of Princeton AlumniCorps?

That we continue to get the word out and bring the benefits of AlumniCorps service to more professionals at all stages of their career – beginning middle and end.  If today’s economy proves one thing, it’s that we all need to stay engaged with a fast-changing marketplace for talent, current with changing practice and motivated through new connections with other civically oriented professionals.

 

 

Interview with Princeton AlumniCorps’ New Board Chair, John Fish ’55

John Fish ’55 is a founder of Princeton AlumniCorps and served as the Program Leader of the Project 55 Fellowship Program for 20 years. He developed the PP55 program in Chicago, and after a few years encouraged Northwestern University and the University of Chicago to create similar programs. The three programs work closely together, offering joint programming and a wide like-minded community for fellows.

For nearly 50 years John has been involved in numerous community organizations and associations in Chicago. From 1969 to 1997 he was on the faculty of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Urban Studies Program, an off-campus experiential semester for students from 13 Midwest colleges. John was appointed as the Chair of the Board of Princeton AlumniCorps on October 1.

Q: Your recent appointment as Board Chair is your third time serving on the Board. Why did you initially get involved with the organization and what has kept you engaged for all these years?

After the Washington meeting, my classmate Steve Boyd ’55 came out and told me about the original idea for Princeton Project 55. I immediately got excited about it. I hadn’t known Princeton University to do anything like this before, and it sounded great. My enthusiasm carried me through the first meetings, and into helping to put together the founding document. In that first year, we had three fellows in Chicago and three in Washington.

My reasons for remaining engaged with Princeton AlumniCorps are the same as the reasons for starting my connection. I love working with young people, and love staying in touch with so many interesting organizations. It helps to keep me involved in the city (Chicago) and is very inspiring.

Q: Why do you think the goals and programs of Princeton AlumniCorps still resonate with people some 22 years on?

The first year out of college is so important for young people. It’s an opportunity for recent graduates to explore different possibilities and interests. Once you get involved with a permanent job, you don’t often get the opportunity to do that again. Giving young people early exposure to public service careers through Princeton AlumniCorps will always be really valuable. I continue to be interested when a young person finds a goal or project that they find exciting.

The opportunities the Project 55 Fellowship Program provides are really exciting. Over 22 years conducting this program, Princeton AlumniCorps has developed a large community of alumni and organizations interested in the public interest. Community Volunteers, one of our new programs, leverages our dynamic network to connect alumni from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s with innovative volunteer opportunities in the nonprofit sector. Emerging Leaders, our program for aspiring nonprofit leaders, continues to develop our alumni and their impact. Our programs connect alumni with the many rewarding career and volunteer opportunities that exist in the nonprofit sector.

Q: You have often talked about how the PP55 program puts young Princetonians into challenging situations outside of the classroom. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

The first year I was involved with Princeton AlumniCorps, a fellow called Sarah was working for an organization called Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, headed up by Quentin Young. It was a great organization, but at that stage only just starting up. There was only one other staff member – the Executive Director, and Sarah. During the first year, Sarah came up to me and said John, “the Executive Director has left and I’m the only staff person, I need help.” To Sarah’s credit, she ended up keeping the organization alive, and raising money until they found a new Executive Director. It was such an experience for someone straight out of college and to this day, Quentin still speaks of her highly. 

 A lot of other interesting stories came from fellows working in North Lawndale in Chicago, where many of the organizations had a large African American membership. For fellows from very different backgrounds it was such a valuable learning experience, and so exciting to work with such an effective community group. I remember one woman who did a fellowship at an African American faith-based community organization in Chicago. She was Jewish and she asked me, “John, do you think I’ll fit in?” The first week she was there, they had a big retreat. It was so different to her existing experience, but she was accepted straight away and became immediately involved in the community.

Q: What role do you think the organization plays in the broader Princeton community and in communities around the country?

I think the greatest role we play is as brokers between nonprofit organizations and alumni. We help nonprofit organizations to find talented people, as well as helping alumni to get into something really challenging. It has a great impact on the community, because we can help these talented, smart, Princeton graduates to use their skills in important areas.

Q: What do you see as some of the challenges and opportunities you will encounter in your upcoming term as Board Chair? And what is your hope for the future of Princeton AlumniCorps?

One of the things that I’d like to focus on is to find new ways to energize Princeton alumni across the year groups. With only four or five staff members, we are limited in capacity, and I’d like to see our programming flourish – managed and led by alumni. Our board, and our wide network of volunteers, is multigenerational. Our two newest programs, Community Volunteers and Emerging Leaders, embody Princeton AlumniCorps’ recent growth, and the involvement of alumni of all ages with the organization. Our aim is to encourage and develop alumni who have the capacity and passionate leadership to deliver and manage their own innovative programs. I think the fundamental goal of AlumniCorps should be to continue thriving as an organization run by alumni for alumni, across the generations.