January is the best and busiest month at AlumniCorps. As the chill sets in and the holiday cheer recedes, we open our doors and get to work interviewing Project 55 Fellowship applicants. Our staff and alumni interviewers read through hundreds of essays, resumes, and transcripts. The office buzzes with students talking excitedly about why they want to do a Project 55 Fellowship. We go through a lot of coffee. As we consider which of our 162 applicants—a record!—will comprise the 27th class of PP55 Fellows, the AlumniCorps mission feels very alive.
This year in particular, as our political life together has taken increasingly concerning turns, my spirits were buoyed by the stream of brilliant and passionate students who marched through our office door. One applicant I met is utterly determined to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, and I left our interview sure that he will make major contributions to solving this challenge. Another, who first heard of PP55 when she attended Princeton’s admitted students’ gathering in Chicago four years ago, aspires to a policy career promoting gender equity. It is inspiring to imagine what the next class of fellows will contribute to our partner organizations, and also the ways they will be transformed by Project 55.
In the middle of all this, I took a day to attend our Emerging Leaders session in New York. Guest speakers Liz Duffy ’88
and Peter Daneker ’95
talked about their experiences leading and working with nonprofit boards. As the group of sixteen Emerging Leaders reflected on Liz and Pete’s comments, I was reminded that the qualities a leader exhibits correlate to the kind of change she creates. In that room I saw reflective, empathic, dedicated, and self-aware leaders prepared to run highly effective organizations. This kind of leadership is desperately needed, and Emerging Leaders creates the conditions for its growth.Perhaps less visible but equally as important for the future of AlumniCorps, our strategic planning work continued in January. When the Board meets later in February they will vote on a plan that envisions AlumniCorps first and foremost as a network of individuals and organizations ready to be mobilized for the public good. If you are reading this issue of Shared Effort,
you are part of our network, and I hope you will be part of bringing our plans to life in the coming years.
A month of PP55 interviews is both a little draining and totally exhilarating. Our long January days didn’t just keep us distracted from the news this year; they deepened our commitment and raised our hope. Every day, the AlumniCorps community works together to solve public problems, train future leaders, learn from different perspectives, and create community. That is work worth doing for the long haul.
Our Mission and Scope
The mission of Princeton AlumniCorps is to inspire and build civic leadership among alumni across generations by engaging them in significant activities that influence and improve our society.
By engaging alumni in significant public service initiatives, we will:
- Contribute to constructive social change;
- Strengthen the University as a source of civic leaders;
- Expand each Princetonian’s ability to make a difference, by engaging with others;
- Enrich and expand the lifelong Princeton experience;
- Multiply our impact through collaborating and sharing our vision with other universities;
- Further extend Princeton’s service to the nation and to the world.
Princeton AlumniCorps is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with annual operating expenses of $565,000. Our programs are national in scope and operate in Boston, Chicago, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, DC. We are volunteer-led, with an actively engaged Board of Directors and more than 200 volunteers whose time and talents make our programs possible.
Since our founding in 1989, we have provided alumni with opportunities, training, and support needed to put their energies to work addressing significant social issues. Our current programs engage alumni in significant public service activities throughout their lives, from the moment they graduate college to their encore careers. We also serve as an active model and catalyst for other universities and alumni groups to achieve their goals of alumni-driven civic engagement. With more than 1600 program alumni and a network of more than 500 nonprofit partner organizations, Princeton AlumniCorps is a unique convener of people and organizations committed to building not just a new generation of civic leaders, but civic leadership across generations.
For a copy of the most recent AlumniCorps strategic plan (2013-16), please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Princeton AlumniCorps: Engage at Every Age from Princeton AlumniCorps on Vimeo.
During the 1989 class mini-reunion in Washington, DC, Ralph Nader '55 planted the seed for an organization of classmates to give back to our alma mater (see resolution)
. In 1990, small group founded Princeton Project 55
to share their talents, achievements, experience and motivations with Princeton upper class undergraduates. In 2010, the name of PP 55
was changed to Princeton AlumniCorps
to reflect its expansion and success in involving alumni from many classes. However, the soul of Princeton Alumni Corps remains in the Princeton Project 55 Fellowship Program.
More than 1,500 Princetonians have been awarded fellowships since the inception of the program. Over 10% of the class of 2016 applied for PP55 fellowships. Each year, more than 1/3 of fellows continue with careers in the nonprofit sector. Financial support from 1955 classmates remains essential. About 1/4 of the costs of running Princeton AlumniCorps are contributed by our classmates.
Princeton AlumniCorps ( formerly PP 55) is a nonprofit organization established to mobilize alumni, students, and others who share our concerns, to provide civic leadership and to develop and implement solutions to systemic problems that affect the public interest. PP55 was born of the realization that there is a vast untapped resource among groups of college alumni which could be made available for the public good.
Letter to the Class of 1955
Dear ' 55 Classmates, October 7, 2016
We are in our eighth decade. There is not a lot of time remaining to make
a lasting difference.
You have succeeded magnificently in your careers; in public
life, in business, in
education, in the professions. You have built hundreds of great personal
legacies. You have used your education to add enormous value in many places, giving back substantially, making family and
Now, as members of the Glass of' 55 we have
the opportunity to be part of yet another great legacy.
Twenty-six years ago
we founded and gave lasting meaning to Princeton Project 55. I
t has been the successful creation of hundreds of our participating classmates in
partnership with thousands of younger Princeton graduates.
We have inspired countless responsible careers which, grafted with other communities, ripen the fruits of civic growth.
Classes and groups from thirty other
universities have listened to the voice of classmate Chet Safian through our Alumni Network and placed 600 students a year in city social
institutions in the same way Project 55 envisioned an army of young partners playing a transformational
role. We have enlisted a new, young board of
directors who chose to expand all we do under the umbrella name AlumniCorps.
Today they have expanded on Project 55 and added two major projects: Emerging
Leaders, the educational program producing well trained leaders for future civic
ARC Innovators, the
placement of experienced retirees or career seniors who can play an expert role
in the social give and take of their communities
. Project 55 continues as the flagship program of AlumniCorps,
a young and powerful organization.
Let's continue i
ts success and ensure its future. That's
another legacy for you, for your class and for Princeton.
Thank you for your past support. Again this year,
please give generously to the AlumniCorps annual fund, and also please join the Keystone Society.
We need your support now for the annual fund. We need it
later for years to come. It's your legacy. Don't
leave life without it.
Class of 55 Solicitors,
George Hackl (
Chair) Pete Milano Pete Hawryluk Frank Crews Alan Willemsen
Charles Mapes Rogers Woolston Myron Lee Kenly Webster Bill
How can I make a gift to AlumniCorps?
Make a Secure Credit Card Donation Online:
There are several ways to give to AlumniCorps. Regardless of how you give, your investment in Princeton AlumniCorps allows us to continue to inspire and support generations of alumni working in the public interest.Gifts to Princeton AlumniCorps may be allocated to the annual fund, the endowment, or to a specific program area. For more information about how your donation will be used, please see our Giving Priorities
To make a gift immediately click here.
Contribute via US Mail: To donate to Princeton AlumniCorps via US mail, please send a check or money order to:
Make a Gift of Stock:
12 Stockton Street
Princeton, NJ 08540
The most convenient way to make a gift of stock is through electronic transfer. For general operating support, please use the following information: Vanguard DTC # 0062 Vanguard Account # 71975296 Please notify Princeton AlumniCorps of a gift of stock by faxing a copy of your broker instructions to (609) 921-2712 so that we can value and acknowledge your gift accurately.
Many companies have matching gift programs. If you or your spouse are employed or serve on the board of a company or foundation that matches individual contributions, please obtain a matching gift form and submit the completed document, along with your gift, to Princeton AlumniCorps. This is an easy way to double or triple the value of your gift.
Gifts in honor or in memory of an individual are always appreciated. Simply indicate your wish on the check, stock transfer instructions, or the online form.
Amazon Smile: Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of eligible AmazonSmile purchases. You can use your existing account and have the same shopping experience as on Amazon.com; sign into smile.amazon.com and select Princeton Project 55 Inc as your charitable organization.
Make a Planned Gift: Members of the Keystone Society have made a planned gift to AlumniCorps. For more information about our planned giving program, please see our Giving Priorities.
Remembering Mike Robbins
September 19, 2014
Dear AlumniCorps Community,
With sadness we share the news that Mike Robbins ’55 passed away on Saturday, September 13th
at his home in New York City. Mike was a longtime champion of AlumniCorps and the Project 55 Fellowship Program. He and his wife Lois were well known among the Project 55 fellows and volunteers in New York City for their hospitality and generosity, hosting welcome dinners in their home and encouraging class after class of young graduates as they began working in the public interest.
A supporter of Project 55 from the beginning, Mike served on the Princeton AlumniCorps Board of Directors from 2006 to 2013 and for many years led AlumniCorps fundraising efforts among the Class of 1955. His annual letters to his classmates in support of AlumniCorps were written with a distinctive humor and humanity that never failed to inspire, as he put it, bigheartedness in others. In one recent letter he wrote that "The Princeton Project 55 Fellowships are an exclamation point in a world of commas and dots.” The same could be said of Mike himself, who brought optimism, energy, and wisdom in equal measures to his involvement with AlumniCorps. In deliberations large and small, he was quick to identify the best course for the organization and advocate for it with succinct, and often comic, clarity.
Mike worked on Wall Street for fifty-two years as a partner of several firms, concluding his career by starting his own firm, Robbins & Henderson, in 1980. He was a member of the New York Stock Exchange for 41 years and served for three terms on the governing board of the NYSE from 1992 to 1998. Though he retired from the stock exchange in 2007, in true ’55er fashion he started an encore career in 2011 writing for Bloomberg News.
He is survived by his wife Lois; daughters Juli Greenwald '83, Jil Pollock '85, and Polly White '91; his brother Benedict; and six grandchildren, including Project 55 Fellow Alix Greenwald ’10. A memorial service will be held in New York City on Sunday, September 21st
at 11:00 a.m. at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel, 1076 Madison Avenue.
Mike’s hallmark wit and kindness have left a lasting mark on Princeton AlumniCorps. We will deeply miss his friendly presence, his keen insight, and his good cheer.
Kenly Webster '55
Conception of Princeton Project ’55 June 1989
We, the members of the Princeton University Class of 1955, having attained moderate success in our individual pursuits, look uncomfortably at an endangered world. The successes we have achieved in the private sphere have not often been matched by enhancement of the common good. Material well being for ourselves has not led to the healthy society we seek. We see a world beset by ecological deterioration and impending social crises in the United States and throughout the world.
Approaching the end of our sixth decade of life we are at a juncture where many of us have resources, time and energy to focus more clearly on the public agenda.
We observe that young men and women, now undergraduates at Princeton, share many of our concerns and commitments. They too want to be effective public citizens. They too are concerned about the environment, the cities, the disadvantaged. They too are talented and energetic.
We believe that the interaction of our classmates and students in addressing public problems, in fundamental and systemic ways, would blend idealism, experience, commitment, and talent to the benefit of students, ourselves, and the larger community.
We also believe that this interaction and this commitment to the public agenda will serve as a model for those similarly situated and so inclined.
The Executive Committee of the Princeton University Class of 1955 hereby approves this Resolution on this 3rd day of June 1989:
- WHEREAS there is a need for new thinking , new patterns of involvement, and new actions, for addressing society's problems at local, state, national and international levels;
- WHEREAS the Princeton University Class of 1955 has diverse talents and experience which can be brought to bear on devising solutions to such problems;
- WHEREAS the Class of 1955, in the tradition Princeton in the Nation’s Service, is prepared to contribute our talents and experience to public interest and civic action endeavors for the betterment of the human condition;
- WHEREAS we sense a potential of human energy within our generation that can be directed toward such projects;
- WHEREAS we recognize the untapped energy and potential of Princeton students to pursue these same goals;
- WHEREAS we envision that mutual and enduring benefits will flow from interaction between our generation and Princeton students working together on public interest and civic action endeavors; and
- WHEREAS this proposed union of interest and action can serve as an inspiration and possible model for others;
NOW, THEREFORE, the Princeton University Class of 1955 resolves to establish a permanently endowed, not-for-profit institution located in Princeton, New Jersey and dedicated to the above principles and for the following purposes:
- To mobilize the talents, experience and energies of our classmates and others of our generation on specific public interest and civic action projects towards solving systemic social problems;
- To promote and support the direct involvement of Princeton students in such public interest and civic action projects in cooperation with members of our Class or independently; and
- To generate other initiatives consistent with our guiding principles .
President: Alan Willemsen
Vice-president: Richard Herbruck
Secretary: Michael Robbins
Treasurer: Harry Berkowitz
Reunion Chairman: Hilary Lipsitz
Class Agent: Tomas Boyatt