This year’s Project 55 Fellow placements are complete! We received 161 completed applications from students and recent alumni, and 47 Fellows have confirmed acceptance to the 2017-18 Program. We also have four continuing Fellows who are returning to their partner organization and wish to fully participate in the Fellowship program for a second year. Orientation was held for incoming Fellows on May 12, 2017; 34 Fellows were in attendance.
Toni Seaberry Murphy ’05, Former PP55 Intern at the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, Washington, D.C.
Which aspect of your internship was most impactful to you and why?
I enjoyed the different Project 55 gatherings for alumni and folks working in DC. I remember going to one such gathering at the home of a U.S. Senator who was a Princeton alumnus. It was amazing – I was 18 and being exposed to different circles of people with power and influence.
We were in the midst of the tech boom/ bust, and the housing market was severely affected. We were determining which local banks to fund based on their role in the local economy in different parts of the U.S. I loved working for CDFI because it was altruistic, but it helped me understand financial markets. My internship gave me a window into the financial world and set the bar high. Had it not been for my Project 55 Internship, I don’t know if I would have gotten a Bank of America internship the next year and gone into public finance for my sophomore internship.
What advice would you offer a Princetonian who’s considering a PP55 Fellowship?
Working with an organization like the CDFI Fund as a PP55 Intern/ Fellow gives you a great entree into the business world with the safety net and support of your alumni family to ensure your success. You can enter the workforce without all the brokering you usually have to do to get into the system. With PP55 you’re allowed to make mistakes and learn from the ground up.
Why give to Princeton AlumniCorps?
When I give to AlumniCorps, it’s easy to see where my money is going. I find that the mission is clear, the influence is there, it’s giving back and paying it forward. AlumniCorps is a small, nimble organization and I know my dollars are going to go a long way.
Princeton AlumniCorps is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As such, we rely on the generosity of our donors, who provide nearly 80% of our operating budget. Our programs in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, New Jersey, and Washington DC, annually provide mentorship, training, and professional development to approximately 80 talented
passionate university graduates and nonprofit professionals who in turn, directly affect thousands of people served by our partner organizations. Your contribution ensures that the next generation of leaders at nonprofits across the spectrum including community development, social justice, education, the environment, public policy and more, can develop the skills and knowledge they need to effect long-term, systemic social change.
The Keystone Society is comprised of a select group of donors who have chosen to assure the long-term health and sustainability of Princeton AlumniCorps by including AlumniCorps in their estate planning. Society members know that the assets they commit now will continue to aid AlumniCorps for generations to come, as it develops civic leaders, builds an
expansive community, and creates social impact. For more information on how you can ensure your legacy with AlumniCorps, please visit the Keystone Society website.
“Project 55 offers a chance to work ‘In the Nation’s Service and in the Service of Humanity’ in a structured, supportive environment with the freedom and time to reflect on one’s efforts, purpose, and ultimate goals. Fellowships involve high impact projects supervised by leaders in the field who are dedicated to our success.”
“I’m the Founding Director of Sinai and Synapses, which bridges the worlds of religion and science…The work I did [as a Fellow at] Facing History, which uses the Holocaust as a lesson in human behavior, still influences me today. I use many of their methodologies in teaching. Their belief that history is a moral enterprise guides my rabbinate.”
“The number of amazing PP55 alumni that are working for systemic change in our country is inspiring! These are smart people who are dedicating themselves to helping solve some of society’s toughest problems.”
Brian Leung ’12, ARC Innovator at Harlem RBI (now DREAM Charter School)
Brian Leung is a senior analyst at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. On a daily basis, he uses analytical and statistical methods to lead and evaluate projects that minimize disparities and injustice in the City’s youth population. He volunteered as an ARC Innovator with Harlem RBI (now DREAM Charter School) in 2016-17.
How did you discover ARC Innovators?
I learned about the program from the Princeton Alumni listserve. I’d been looking for an education-based pro bono project and it seemed to be a great fit given the skills I use in my day job. At work, I frequently deal with underserved populations. I live about ten blocks away from Harlem RBI, so this project hit close to home because it’s in my community. In the Mayor’s Office, my work is mile-high. At Harlem RBI, I was working on the ground and making a tangible difference.
What did you do at Harlem RBI (now DREAM Charter School)?
They needed help with choosing an e-learning solution for distributing materials to faculty, staff, parents, and students. My final deliverable was a 50-page slide deck ranking each popular solution on the market for the implementation leader and principal. I spent about 80 hours over the course of many weekends for four months.
How did your assistance help Harlem RBI (now DREAM Charter School)?
The person who would implement the chosen tool didn’t have enough hours in the day to do the research himself, so I saved him a lot of time. In addition, I provided an outsider’s perspective and strategic insight.
How did the ARC Innovator project benefit you?
Their feedback helped me develop as a private consultant. While ARC Innovators is usually promoted to seasoned professionals, this AlumniCorps program provides opportunities that should be leveraged by both new and experienced professionals.
DREAM Charter School (formerly Harlem RBI) is a model learning community with high expectations, a strong culture of care and a vision of student success and excellence. DREAM was established in 2008 with 100 scholars in kindergarten and first grade. Today, they serve 486 scholars in PreK through eighth grade. They will open their doors to their first ninth grade class in fall 2017.
On November 3 the area committee hosted a wine and cheese reception with AlumniCorps Executive Director Andrew Nurkin, Board President Kef Kasdin ’85, and Board Member Leesy Taggart ’78. Current and former fellows, mentors, and area committee members had the opportunity to meet one another, learn more about AlumniCorps’ organizational goals and plans for the future, and to engage new volunteers in supporting the fellowship program.
Committee members also hosted a workshop on December 7 for Project 55 Fellows about “managing up,” facilitated by May Mark, a former Emerging Leader and Project Manager at OneUni. In the session attendees defined “managing up,” learned strategies to manage up effectively, and worked through real-life challenges in peer-to-peer consultancies.
Supported by the Pace Center for Civic Engagement at Princeton University, Breakout Princeton is a student-driven alternative break program that encourages engagement with domestic social issues through immersion in communities. Breakout Princeton students who visited Boston were invited to attend a mixer with Boston Project 55 Fellows on November 3.
The Breakout Princeton students spoke about exploring the impact of the 2008 recession on low-income neighborhoods in Boston. The Project 55 Fellows shared their thoughts on their current positions, and why they chose to do a Project 55 fellowship after graduation.
The Boston Area Committee also hosted a gathering with the fellows in December to celebrate the first half of their fellowship year and the holidays. Current Project 55 fellow Nina Narayanan ’16‘s hard work was featured in AlumniCorps’ December appeal and blog.
The Committee has a very exciting series of seminars coming up at the Boston University School of Public Health. The first is an all-day symposium on how public health can take a leadership role in mitigating social determinants of health including race, class, disability, and gender. The second is a lecture by a Princeton professor, Eldar Shafir, on decision-making in contexts of poverty and on the application of behavioral research to policy.
Recent seminars hosted in Chicago have included the Chicago Area Committee’s annual panel with former fellows, including Chelsea Mayo ’14 and Andrew Kinaci ’10, to help Project 55 fellows navigate life after their fellowship— whether they stay on with their organization, attend graduate school, or transition to another career. At the end of 2016, fellows also attended a dynamic and timely seminar hosted by Sharon Fairley ’82, a Princeton alumna and current chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) in Chicago.
In December, Project 55 Fellows joined fellows from Northwestern’s and University of Chicago’s Public Interest Program for a holiday party at the Galway Arms. Virginia Midkiff ’16, current fellow at National Equity Fund said, “I enjoyed this week’s seminar at the Chicago Legal Clinic. The speaker, Mr. Ed Grossman, was incredibly inspiring. It was clear that he’d made it his life’s work to meet people where they’re at, and to respond to the specific needs of various Chicago neighborhoods and the community as a whole.”
On January 28, 2017 the NJ Fellows, Kelsey Jane-Ritsch ’16, Aliisa Lee ’16, and Maya Wahrman ’16 drove to Philadelphia to visit Sahana Jayaraman ’16, who is serving her fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. They explored Penn Treaty Park and Fishtown where they took in some beautiful views, fun hipster shops and streets, cute bakeries, and delicious Mexican food. These young women have proclaimed themselves “the tightest Project 55 corps around!”
On February 2 the NJ Area Committee hosted a gathering at the residence of a Committee member in Jersey City. Fourteen attendees learned about AlumniCorps’ new strategic vision from Kef Kasdin ’85, President of AlumniCorps. Area Committee volunteer Marsha Rosenthal ’76 commented, “The conversation was lively, and Kef’s talk was right on target.”
New York City
On November 3, the NYC Area Committee hosted a Press and Politics seminar. In the days leading up to the election, Judith Hole Suratt s’55 moderated a panel discussion with journalists to discuss the role and responsibilities of media in politics. The three panelists were: Kathleen McCleery (award-winning broadcast journalist who has worked for PBS and NBC, currently a visiting professor at Princeton, teaching a course on “Politics and the Media”); Jack Holmes (assistant editor at Esquire.com, experienced in digital writing); and Bill Plante (retired reporter who has been a White House correspondent and State Department correspondent for CBS)
On January 19, the Committee hosted a seminar at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. The seminar’s key speakers were the Center’s executive director, Dr. Angela Diaz and Dr. Matt Oransky. They focused on the work that the Center does to address mental health.
On November 13, Committee members and current fellows went ice skating in Bryant Park. Then, on December 15, Victoria Lee ’16 hosted a holiday party for current Project 55 fellows, mentors, and Emerging Leaders. In addition, AlumniCorps president Kef Kasdin ’85 and Ry Beck from 12 Stockton staff, were in attendance.
On January 27, the social committee organized a group of Project 55 fellows to visit the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and take advantage of Free Admission Fridays.
The Washington, DC Area Committee hosted two panels for Project 55 fellows: Anne Goldstein ’79, AlumniCorps board member and Human Rights Education Director for the International Association of Women Judges, spoke about women’s rights. Retired Ambassador Tom Graham ’55 spoke about careers in government. The Project 55 fellows were joined by University of Chicago Public Interest Program fellows. The committee also hosted a holiday happy hour at a local restaurant for the Project 55 fellows and their mentors.
The AlumniCorps Emerging Leaders program transforms talented nonprofit professionals into the next generation of public interest leaders. The program meets the critical need for highly skilled leadership in the nonprofit sector.
According to The Bridgespan Group, surveys consistently show that nonprofit organizations are acutely aware of their leadership development gaps, but unsure about how to address them. The Emerging Leaders program was conceptualized to address this public sector issue. The program runs for a total of eight full-day, monthly sessions from June-February (skipping August), and is made possible by a lead grant from American Express.
One of the hallmarks of the Emerging Leaders (EL) program is the high caliber of guest speakers that engage and educate participants.
New York City:
In November 2016, Jezra Kaye, President of Speak Up for Success coached participants on presentation skill-building and practice.
In December 2016, Rainah Berlowitz ’97, Director of Operations at Education Through Music, spoke about Nonprofit Financial Management & Reporting. AlumniCorps Executive Director Andrew Nurkin also spoke about Inter-Organizational Collaboration.
In January 2017, participants heard AlumniCorps Board Chair Liz Duffy ’88, President of International Schools Services, and Peter Daneker ’95, Board Vice Chairman of Harlem RBI, speak about Embracing Board/Staff and Executive Director/Chair Roles and Relationships.
In November Amber Romine, an executive coach and leadership development consultant, coached participants on presentation skill-building and practice.
In December Amy Nakamoto, Program Officer at the Meyer Foundation, spoke about Executive Perspectives on Nonprofit Financial Management. Amy has spent her career working in education, nonprofits, fundraising, and youth development.
In January, James Siegal, President of KaBOOM, joined Alex Moore, DC Central Kitchen’s Director of Development and Communications to speak about Inter-organizational Collaboration.