The Project 55 fellowship program, which places Princeton University alumni in organizations working on critical social issues, is set to return to Philadelphia after a three-year hiatus. The program is run by the Princeton Alumni Corps, a nonprofit started in 1989 to engage recent graduates in building civic leadership.
Project 55 aims to help these graduates gain experience and advance their careers, while also providing added capacity to host organizations, according to Princeton Alumni Corps Executive Director Andrew Nurkin.
Nurkin explained that the fellowships are coordinated by local volunteer committees, and that the Philadelphia committee disbanded around 2012 after key members moved on.
Princeton Alumni Corps is now working with a new volunteer committee, which includes Thaddeus Squire, managing director of Culture Works Greater Philadelphia and Princeton University alumnus, to rebuild its presence in the city.
Nurkin said that the Princeton Alumni Corps works with volunteers like Squire to tailor the fellowship program to meet a city’s specific needs.
“In Chicago, for example, which is our oldest program, the organizations we work with tend to be more grassroots nonprofit organizations that are focused on criminal justice reform, anti-poverty work in the North Lawndale neighborhood, youth development.”
“That’s a reflection of both the organizations that we have connections to there but also the needs of the Chicago communities we work in,” he added.
For Philly, the focus will likely be on arts and culture, education and urban development, according to Nurkin, based on what he is hearing from volunteers and what he has observed himself.
Before moving forward with the fellowship program, however, the goal is to build a strong base of volunteers.
“We want to make sure we have enough people to make it sustainable before we push the play button,” Nurkin said.
Host organizations or volunteers interested in learning more may contact Princeton Alumni Corps Partnership Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 609-921-8808 ext. 228.
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