AlumniCorps Welcomes Five New Board Members

Princeton AlumniCorps is pleased to announce the addition of five new members to its Board of Directors. Chaired by Liz Duffy, President of International Schools Services, the Board now includes 27 members from around the country.  New Board members are Harold Colton-Max; Claire Fowler; Lisa Swedenborg Getson; Dan-El Padilla Peralta; and Marcos Vigil. New members attended their first Board meeting in Princeton on September 16, 2017.

Additionally, two current Board members were re-elected for a second three-year term. These are Margaret “Peggy” Russell, Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law in Santa Clara, CA and Judy Hole Surratt, long-standing AlumniCorps volunteer, of New York City.

AlumniCorps regularly seeks new Board members who represent the diversity of the communities AlumniCorps serves. “Our new Board members bring such a wide variety of talents and accomplishments,” noted Ms. Duffy. “Dan-el’s personal experience and research interests speak to key issues today; Lisa brings her volunteer experience as well as her first-hand knowledge of the early days of our Princeton Project 55 Fellowship Program. Marcos provides the perspective of state and local public service; Harold is a nonprofit executive director with deep experience with housing issues; and Claire is not only the parent of a former Project 55 Fellow but also sees first-hand the trends in undergraduate student interest in civic engagement. As we work to mobilize people, organizations, and networks for the public good, we know these experienced leaders will help advance our mission, bring AlumniCorps programs to the next generation of nonprofit leaders, and help nonprofit and public service organizations build capacity.” Board members, many of whom are active volunteers and advisors to the organization, can serve up to two consecutive three-year terms.

Harold Colton-Max, Princeton class of 1991, has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey (JCHC) since 2004. Before that he served for seven years as Executive Director of the Fairmount Housing Corporation in Hudson County, NJ. Harold lives in South Orange Village, NJ with his family, where he has served as the Chairman of the South Orange Planning Board since 2014.

Claire Fowler, Ph.D. from Columbia, currently serves as Senior Associate Dean of the College at Princeton University, where her responsibilities include oversight of the residential college program and academic advising. Her eldest daughter was an AlumniCorps Princeton Project 55 Fellow in New York City from 2015-2017. Claire also served as Director of Studies at Wilson residential college and as Dean at Butler residential college, both at Princeton University.

Lisa Swedenborg Getson, Princeton class of 1993, is an active volunteer with her children’s school; Kids in Crisis— a nonprofit that assists Fairfield County, CT children dealing with crisis; and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern New England.  From 2004 until early 2017, she worked as a litigator with the firm Friedman, Kaplan, Seiler & Adelman, LLP in New York. Lisa served as an AlumniCorps Princeton Project 55 Intern in Stamford, CT with St. Luke’s Family Services (n/k/a Inspirica). She was also a Project 55 Fellow at the Women Employed Institute in Chicago, where she worked until 1997. Lisa lives in Riverside, CT with her husband and their two children.

Dan-el Padilla Peralta, Princeton class of 2006, is an Assistant Professor of Classics at Princeton University, where he teaches and writes about Roman cultural history and classical reception. His 2015 memoir Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to Ivy League (Penguin) received an Alex Award from the American Library Association. In the spring of 2017, Dan-el taught a new course on “Citizenships, ancient and modern” out of the Classics Department that was cross-listed with Politics, African-American Studies, and the University Center for Human Values.

Marcos D. Vigil, Princeton class of 1997, serves in Mayor Steven Fulop’s administration as Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, overseeing economic development and real estate, and developing strategies for sustainable development and affordable housing in Jersey City, NJ. Prior to his current role, Marcos served four years as Deputy Secretary of State for New York in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration, leading and managing the operations for its Divisions of Consumer Protection, Licensing Services, Corporations, Cemeteries and the NYS Athletic Commission.

About Princeton AlumniCorps

Princeton AlumniCorps mobilizes people, organizations, and networks for the public good.  The organization was founded in 1989 as an independent 501(c)3 entity called Princeton Project 55. AlumniCorps has grown into a dynamic multi-generational network of alumni of all ages and collegiate affiliation and nonprofit organizations working to build communities and deepen social impact. AlumniCorps’ core leadership programs help nonprofits further their goals while engaging participants in significant public service activities throughout their lives, from the moment they graduate college to their encore careers. With nearly 2,000 program alumni, 200 volunteers, and a network of nearly 600 nonprofit partner organizations, Princeton AlumniCorps is a unique catalyst of dynamic engagement of people and organizations committed to building not just a new generation of civic leaders, but civic leadership across generations.

For a full list of board members, visit

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.

AlumniCorps’ Celebrates the Emerging Leaders Program’s Inaugural Year

Emerging Leaders Class of 2012

Members of the nonprofit community gathered in Washington, D.C. on March 13th to celebrate the success of the Emerging Leaders program’s first year. AlumniCorps board and staff members, participants’ employers, mentors and family members joined other supporters to congratulate the 2012 class of Emerging Leaders. Within three intimate groups, participants shared the ways that the program has changed their professional lives. Attendees were inspired to hear firsthand the exponential impact this program has achieved in just one year. As one participant said, “This program didn’t just transform eleven individuals. It transformed the workings of at least eleven nonprofit organizations in DC, and it will continue to improve how effectively those different organizations serve their employees and their community moving forward.”

The celebration culminated a series of monthly sessions facilitated by an executive coach and featuring executive-level guest speakers within the nonprofit sector along with skill development activities. The Emerging Leaders implemented these learned skills in their work, and acted as role models for their peers. The program is expanding to New York in its second year, set to begin in June. The nonprofit professionals who recently completed the program are helping to fill a significant leadership gap within the sector as AlumniCorps Board President Kathy Miller ’77 noted: “A recent extensive study by the Meyer Foundation and Compass, Daring to Lead 2011, found that two thirds of nonprofit executives plan to leave their jobs within five years.”

An Emerging Leader summed up her gratitude for the program. “This is a phenomenal experience that is easily worth 10 times what our organizations contributed to support this work. I hope your work is able to expand to support even beyond NY, as I found this immensely helpful to my personal and professional growth. Thank you!”

Emerging Leaders participant and Alumni Liaison Kyndall Parker ’06 announced an alumni fundraising effort with a goal of securing $10,000 by June 30, 2012. If you would like to support Emerging Leaders continued growth please donate now:




Congratulations to the Class of 2012 Emerging Leaders!

Princeton AlumniCorps’ 2011-12 Annual Report is Here!

Princeton AlumniCorps is pleased to announce the release of our 2011-12 Annual Report.

We are conducting four programs to provide  a continuum of opportunities for alumni to engage in meaningful civic service throughout their lives. The report showcases these programs and  highlights our recent accomplishments, including:

– Launching Emerging Leaders, a program designed to propel aspiring nonprofit professionals forward in their careers and address the growing leadership deficit that the nonprofit sector faces.

– Placing 51 young graduates in fellowships at public interest organizations around the country through our flagship Princeton Project 55 Program, whose alumni now number more than 1,300.

– Channeling the activist spirit in alumni from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s by finding them skills-based Community Volunteers opportunities in Washington, DC, Chicago, and the Princeton area.

– Helping college students and alumni around the country organize initiatives inspired by the PP55 example through The Alumni Network, which welcomed two new affiliates this year.

– Engaging more than 200 volunteers and more than 450 donors in supporting and driving all facets of our work.

All of this is possible because of the support and shared effort of our donors, volunteers, board, and staff, who ensure that our programs and impact continue to grow.  We thank you for your continued belief in our work!

Click here to view the full report.

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 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.