Project 55 Publishes Book Based on the Legacy of our Founders

By Kim Hendler
Executive Director, Princeton Project 55
November 6, 2007

“What are YOU going to do with the rest of your life?”

That was the challenge Ralph Nader ’55 posed to his Princeton classmates at a 1989 mini-reunion in Washington, D.C. For dozens of those who heard him, an important part of their answer turned out to be an organization that didn’t exist until they got it up and running — and fully incorporated as a nonprofit — before the year was out. They called it Princeton Project 55.

The story of PP55’s early years is told in Shared Effort, Shared Values: Princeton Project 55 — The Founders, a new collection of reminiscences by its founders, to be published next month.

The book was proposed by an Ad Hoc Memorials Committee formed to consider what should be done to recognize the founders’ varied and vital roles in PP55. Committee members Charlie Bray ’55, Pete Milano ’55, Chet Safian ’55, Liz Duffy ’88, and Elizabeth Perriello Rice ’90 agreed that such a publication could capture the spirit of the Project’s early days and convey the founders’ intentions to future generations. They believed, “the fruits of this effort would be both inspirational and instructive to future Board members and others involved in PP55.”

Thirty-four individuals involved in the formative years of the Project — as Board members, program leaders, other volunteers, and paid staff members — contributed to Shared Effort, Shared Values. They were urged to describe the “distinct ideas about the Project, significant contributions, philosophical debates, and discussions of mission” which were key to the successful formation of PP55.

A committee of volunteers including Milano, Perriello Rice, Jim Lynn ’55, Caroline Moseley s’55, and Dick Turner ’55 collected and edited the essays, drafted accompanying text, and oversaw the selection of photos and layout. Princeton Project 55’s CBLI Derian summer intern, Katie Fallon ’09, completed the layout and final editing of the book.

Princeton Project 55 is self-publishing Shared Effort, Shared Values with the help of generous donors. Each contributor will receive a book, and additional copies will be available at the Project 55 offices in Princeton. Those wishing to purchase a copy can do so at cost, estimated to be under $20. To reserve your copy, please email Kim Hendler at

Stay tuned for word on the publication date.

Volunteer Spotlight – Jessica Johnson ’98

By Treva Nolen
Communications Consultant, Princeton Project 55
November 6, 2007

Jessica Johnson '98
Jessica Johnson '98

Jessica Johnson ’98 joined the Princeton Project 55 community as an summer intern at the Community Media Workshop and then as a fellow at The Chicago Foundation for Education through the Public Interest Program (PIP) after graduating in 1998.

When she completed her fellowship, Jessica volunteered to mentor other PP55 fellows. Since then she has continued to be a solid source of support for the organization. Her experience came full circle this year when she joined Project 55’s Board of Directors, agreed to co-chair the PIP alumni annual campaign for the second year in a row, and also answered the call to become the next New York Area Coordinator for PP55’s Public Interest Program. And she does all this while working full time as the Development Officer at the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP)!

Jessica will be carrying on the great work of Board member and former New York Coordinator, Chet Safian ’55, who has coordinated the New York program since 1989. Chet Safian has seen first hand the impact Jessica has had on this organization since her fellowship 9 years ago. As a member of the founding class of 1955, Safian is happy to see younger alumni fulfilling Project 55’s mission of engaging alumni in the public interest. “The future of PP55 is secure thanks to former fellows like Jessica. We are all justifiably proud of what she has accomplished and will continue to accomplish,” said Safian.

Jessica will serve as the alumni contact person for fellows, organizations, mentors, and Princeton Project 55 staff in the New York City region. Along with the members of the New York steering committee, Jessica will spend a great deal of time and effort helping to organize events, recruit applicants, and support fellows and partners throughout the fellowship year.

The Alumni Network Conference Welcomes David Bornstein

By Stephanie Mirkin
Program Manager, Princeton Project 55
November 6, 2007

On November 30, alumni and staff from alumni-driven public interest programs around the country will gather in Princeton, New Jersey for the annual Conference of The Alumni Network. In addition to workshops and networking opportunities, we are honored this year to welcome as our keynote speaker, award-winning author, David Bornstein.

Bornstein wrote How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, which recounts the inspiring stories of people around the globe who are solving many of the world’s toughest problems. Bornstein is also the author of The Price of a Dream: The Story of Grameen Bank which won second prize in the Harry Chapin Media Awards, was a finalist for the Helen Bernstein New York Public Library Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, and was selected by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the best business books of 1996. Bornstein was recently presented with the 2007 Human Security Award for the profound difference he has made in helping to protect and empower the world’s most vulnerable people. Bornstein’s keynote address is sure to inspire the affiliates of The Alumni Network to continue their hard work and dedication in the public interest.

Bornstein will also be speaking to the campus community at 4:30 pm on Friday, November 30. This event will be open to the public.

Register for the TAN Conference online by going to and clicking on the Project 55 Connect login tab. The conference agenda as well as transportation and accommodation information can also be found on our website at

Fellowship Offers Firsthand Exposure to Public Health

By Stephanie Mirkin
Program Manager, Princeton Project 55
November 6, 2007

Ruby Greywoode
Ruby Greywoode

Like many Princeton Project 55 fellows, Ruby Greywoode ’07 graduated from Princeton and immediately jumped into her Public Health Fellowship at Norwalk Community Health Center. From the very beginning, she was inundated with the daily tasks and responsibilities of operating the health center, which provides high quality, comprehensive primary health care to the uninsured and underinsured residents of Norwalk, Connecticut and the surrounding towns.

After only four months into her fellowship, Ruby has already “learned and experienced a great deal” through her interactions with patients, doctors, and other community members. Thus far the position has allowed her the opportunity to work on numerous projects and experience many different aspects of the clinic.

Ruby has helped to organize community outreach programs to raise health awareness, to assist the nurses with basic clinical tasks, and to compile reports on clinical outcomes for the Department of Health. Working in the clinic also enables her intellectual growth in medicine by encouraging her to observe patient visits and attend lectures with the residents.

Ruby said these unique opportunities have given her, “a much better sense of how the clinic operates and some places in need of improvement.” With Ruby’s career aspirations in medicine, the chance to work in the clinical environment and get hands-on experience in health care will prove incredibly valuable to her future.

Lawrence Cross, Executive Director of Norwalk Community Health Center, comments that, “having this kind of brain power for nominal money enables cash-poor health centers to undertake projects that would otherwise be out of reach.” In fact, although the clinic is already involved in many programs on-site and in the community, it is looking to expand and enrich its services, which should make for an exciting fellowship year for Ruby and an exciting future in Norwalk.

Theresa Newhard and Vanessa Jackson ’04 Receive Reynolds Fellowships

By Kim Hendler
Executive Director, Princeton Project 55
May 18, 2007

PIP alumna, Vanessa Jackson ’04, and Theresa Newhard, the former Public Interest Program Manager, were recently selected as two of twenty New York University Graduate Reynolds Fellows in Social Entrepreneurship.

Jackson and Newhard will receive a $25,000 scholarship annually, in addition to specialized coursework and seminars throughout the year.

“The Catherine B. Reynolds Fellowship is a wonderful program, and I feel very honored to have received this award…I feel indebted to the experience I have had at PP55 and am excited to know that I will be able to pursue the work of incubating young civic leaders in school and beyond,” Newhard stated.

Both women were selected from 350 applicants from all of NYU’s graduate schools.

As a part of the application process, applicants had to submit and present on a proposal for civic change.

The proposal Newhard submitted and spoke to during the selection process was around the idea of developing a civic leadership academic curriculum at domestic and international universities, which she reports was, “based in large part off of what I have experienced working at PP55.”

“I intend to focus my studies/Fellowship on developing a civic leadership academic curriculum domestically and abroad,” Newhard said.

“This concept is, in large part, a result of my experience at PP55 and learning about the successes and efforts of its various programs. I owe that inspiration to everyone at the organization.”

Princeton Project 55 congratulates Newhard and Jackson!

TAN Affiliate Profile: Alumni Partner with Public Education

By Adam Arents
Project Manager, Alumni for Public Schools (APS)
May 18, 2007

Harold Russell doesn’t live in Chicago. He doesn’t even live in Illinois. But every Wednesday he drives for an hour and a half from his home in Lakeside, Michigan to Elihu Yale Elementary School on the south side of Chicago to work with students in the school’s Leadership Club.

Harold is part of a group of Yale University alumni who have been volunteering at Yale Elementary since 1997, when the Yale Club of Chicago formed a partnership with the school.

Since then, Yale volunteers have tutored, mentored, donated clothing and books, held a Secret Santa program, and most recently helped sponsor a field trip over spring break to Washington, D.C. for 20 students in the Leadership Club.

Peter Dickinson, another volunteer from the Yale club, says, “Tutoring at the school is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.”

The Yale volunteers are not alone in finding work with the schools to be deeply meaningful.

Who we are

They are part of an organization in Chicago called Alumni for Public Schools (APS), which promotes and supports such partnerships between college and university alumni clubs and individual Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

There are approximately thirty alumni clubs in Chicago that have partnerships with schools, doing activities ranging from sponsoring college visits to judging academic contests to helping students prepare for standardized tests.

APS grew out of a vision shared by John Fish ’55 and Oren Pollock *51, active members of the Princeton Club of Chicago who volunteered regularly at Theodore Roosevelt High School.

Alumni from both Princeton and Harvard were involved in supporting schools through a variety of activities that benefited not only the students and the schools, but the volunteers as well.

Fish and Pollock saw alumni clubs as an underutilized network, and they envisioned dozens of partnerships that would engage college and university alumni in meaningful service for students in Chicago.

Other alumni in Chicago rallied around the idea and formed partnerships of their own, and APS formed a board of alumni volunteers.

Institutional Support

For the past two years APS has been able to have a full-time staff person housed at CPS and devoted solely to supporting current partnerships and encouraging new ones.

Arne Duncan, schools CEO, provided salary support for the first year and since then APS has received private support from the Gorter Family Foundation.

APS now provides a link and a means of communication between the CPS central office, participating schools and volunteers from participating alumni associations.

Volunteers and school representatives can share best practices with each other at events such as partnership workshops, which equip them with the knowledge and resources they need to be more effective partners.

Challenges to Overcome

The alumni clubs still face challenges as they seek to support CPS students. About half of the thirty partnerships are in a development stage as they try to gather volunteers and coordinate activities with their schools.

However, it is easier than ever for alumni clubs to work together in their partnerships by sharing ideas and encouraging each other.

APS is there to help organize and energize volunteers so they can continue to make valuable contributions to the schools.

The schools face challenges, too, but APS hopes to ensure that more and more of them are enjoying help from committed alumni who care deeply about public education.

Arents is the Project Manager for APS which is housed within Chicago Public Schools (CPS). John Fish ’55, the Program Leader and Founder of the PP55’s Public Interest Program, also played a significant role in the founding of Alumni for Public Schools. For more information about Alumni for Public Schools, visit