Thank You, 2009 Interviewers

By Stephanie Mirkin,

PP55 Program Manager


This past January, alumni volunteers assisted with interviews for each applicant. Interviews provide a great opportunity for fellowship applicants to interact with members of our vibrant alumni community, and for alumni volunteers to hear more about how and why these young Princetonians hope to put their principles into practice through a PP55 fellowship.


Thank you to the following interviewers for your time and commitment to the mission and vision of Project 55:



·       Clara Botstein ’07

·       Gordon Douglas ’55

·       Anna Douthat ’08

·          Steve Houck ’69

·       Professor Stanley N. Katz

·       Maureen Kimball S72, P07

·       Scott Levy ’02

·       Katie Lewis-LaMonica ’08

·       Sheila Mahoney S55

·       Anne Marie Maman ’84

·       Mimi Murley ’76

·       Rebecca Nemec ’05

·       Joseph Robinson ’04

·       Chet Safian ’55

·       Misha Simmonds ’97

·       Sam Suratt ’55

·       Marcia Willsie S86, P07


Contact if you are interested in participating in the fellows’ orientation this May, or helping with fellowship interviews next year.

Project 55 Benefits from Pension Protection Act

By Natasha Robinson ’04,
PP55 Development Officer

Princeton Project 55 received more than $20,000 in 2008 through charitable donations from IRA funds. Four members of the Class of ’55 generously chose to take advantage of the opportunity generated through the two-year extension of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA).

Individuals age 701⁄2 or older may make gifts directly from an IRA account to Princeton Project 55 and other qualified organizations without being subject to federal income tax on the IRA withdrawal. This extension is available through December 31, 2009, with a maximum gift level of $100,000.

IRA gifts are most appropriate for individuals who do not need the income from their Minimum Required Distribution; have a taxable estate and wish to avoid the “double taxation” of inherited IRAs; do not itemize their deductions on tax returns; are subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax; or have been phased out of other deductions and exemptions because of high income.

For more information about the extended Pension Protection Act or other gift planning strategies, please contact Natasha Robinson,Development Officer, at (609) 921-8808, x7 or

Project 55 & The Economy

By Natasha Robinson ’04,
PP55 Development Officer

The downturned economy is reverberating through all aspects of society, especially in the nonprofit sector. With reports of record unemployment numbers across the nation, Princeton Project 55 has seen an increase in the number of applicants for 2009-10 fellowships and a decrease in the number of nonprofit organizations that can afford to participate. Project 55 has also seen a decrease in fundraising this year.

Nearly half of our partner organizations had to withdraw from the application process this year. Seventy open positions are available for 2009-10, for our sizeable number of 145 applicants.

“We have a highly competitive applicant pool and a limited number of partner organizations able to participate, which only increases the competition this year,” says Program Manager, Stephanie Mirkin, “Although it is difficult to turn down applicants, those organizations that are able to participate will have their pick of even more quality individuals to help serve their mission next year.”

Despite reaching the $55,000 Starr Challenge, in terms of fundraising, PP55 has seen an almost 20% decrease in individual giving from donors this fiscal year.

The current economic state of affairs only increases the significance of the impact and vitality PP55 programs have as we continue improving communities nationwide.

“Project 55 has a rich history of thinking big, even when presented with challenges. As we build on this legacy and engage alumni across the generations, we are in need of your continued investment in the mission of PP55,” says Executive Director, Kathleen Reilly.

To make a gift that will help carry forward the vision of Princeton Project 55, you can send a check to Princeton Project 55, 12 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ 08540. You may also use your credit card by visiting our website ( and clicking on the “Donate” button. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Spotlight on a Supervisor: Elizabeth March

Partner Organization Name: Children’s HealthWatch

Name: Elizabeth March, Executive Director

Fellow’s name: Karen Jeng ’08

What does your organization do?
Children’s HealthWatch was established in 1998 to monitor child health effects of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. The original project revealed a strong need for clinical research around child health and nutrition. Over time, we developed a unique niche as a source of both scientific research and informed, non-partisan policy analysis in this field. Led by a national network of pediatricians and public health researchers, the center collects data and produces original, timely research to inform policy decisions that prevent child hunger and promote children’s health.

Why is Children’s HealthWatch involved with Project 55?
Princeton Project 55 provides us with a great worker at a low cost. Our lean organization appreciates the addition of a wonderful, cost-effective employee. It is exciting to have a bright young person who initially knows very little about our work come in and gain a confidence and mastery of their job day by day. There is great pleasure in watching a fellow get their hands around the exciting new work and opportunities at Children’s HealthWatch.

Spotlight on a Fellow: Karen Jeng ’08

Name: Karen Jeng ’08

Where are you a fellow? I am a Research and Policy Fellow at Children’s HealthWatch.

Who is your mentor? Rebecca Nemec ’05

Share a memorable experience you have had as a PP55 fellow:
One of my most memorable experiences as a PP55 fellow has been attending conferences centered on health, hunger prevention, or homelessness prevention. At these conferences, I have heard wonderful talks from professionals in the field who effectively demonstrate the positive effect of our advocacy work. I have also been able to interact with both my colleagues at work and other advocates around the state who are very passionate about their work in the public health sector.

PP55 Fellow Karen Jeng '08
PP55 Fellow Karen Jeng '08

Children’s HealthWatch has also been wonderful in catering to many of my future interests. I am interested in medicine, so Debbie Frank has allowed me to shadow her. I have also had the chance to volunteer in the Pediatric ER where I conduct policy interviews. Through this activity, I see first hand the disparities in healthcare and the importance of Children’s HealthWatch in helping close these gaps.

What have you learned during your fellowship?
I think the most important and interesting thing I’ve learned is how passionate people in the nonprofit world, especially Children’s HealthWatch, are about their work. The people I work with are incredibly intelligent, talented, and dedicated to their work. The most rewarding thing about my fellowship is the feeling that I am making a difference through my work. Children’s HealthWatch has involved me in the frontlines of the advocacy work that they do – giving me, essentially, a crash course in public health. The passion people have for their work is compelling and inspiring; interacting with them has given me many ideas for my future. It is a wonderful environment to be exposed to coming right out of college.