“Project 55 fellows are always hardworking, smart, dedicated, and help infuse a lot of energy into the overall group.”
-Meredith Buxton, UCSF Breast Care Center, San Francisco, CA
Project 55 fellows are intelligent, energetic, and committed young alumni of Princeton University who spend a year after graduation working in the public interest. The program connects these talented recent graduates to formative, immersive experiences that instill in each fellow a greater awareness of critical social issues, a deeper understanding of their capacity to bring about change, and a lifelong commitment to civic engagement. The Project 55 experience begins with a meaningful work placement at one of our partner organizations, which include nonprofit organizations, government agencies, philanthropic foundations, schools and education networks, healthcare institutions, social ventures, and public-private partnerships.
Our partner organizations benefit from access to a pre-screened pool of highly competitive candidates for open staff positions. Many of our partners hire Project 55 fellows year in and year out because it is an efficient way to bring on board new talent that they might not otherwise see in a traditional hiring process. Princeton AlumniCorps recruits and interviews, at no cost to our partner organizations, applicants for each placement and makes referrals based on the qualifications of the applicants and the specific needs of each organization. We refer a small handful of qualified applicants to each hiring manager for interviews. Hiring managers are under no obligation to extend an offer to Project 55 applicants. For more detailed information about our timeline, please visit our Partner Organization Applications page.
Project 55 fellows serve in a variety of roles. Some positions involve direct service, such advocating for court-involved youth, leading financial literacy or employment readiness trainings, or working with children in the foster system. Other positions may involve managing a social media campaign, crafting proposals for federal community development grants, convening meetings of civic leaders and state legislators, assisting the executive director of an organization, or preparing literature reviews on urban policy. Each year we offer a few fellowships with a strong medical research or clinical component as part of our public health fellowships, as well as some charter school teaching placements. The common thread is that each Project 55 Fellowship placement provides valuable professional experience while advancing systemic social change.
In selecting placements for the program, we look for high-impact organizations that can provide challenging, meaningful work and attentive supervision for the fellow. Project 55 fellows are ready to learn from experience, grow in their roles, and contribute to their organizations. Meaningful work and attentive supervision will maximize their contribution to your organization as well as their fellowship experience. In return, Princeton AlumniCorps staff and volunteers are committed to referring you only applicants capable of handling significant responsibility.
The Project 55 Fellowship is more than just a job in the nonprofit sector. Each fellow is required to attend regular seminars to augment their ongoing education about public issues and professional development. Partner organizations are asked to periodically excuse fellows for these educational seminars and professional development opportunities, which local volunteers will inform you about in advance. Additionally, each fellow is matched with an alumni mentor who serves as a professional and personal resource throughout the year. We encourage mentors to visit their fellows at work early in the year so they can get to know our partner organizations and be better informed about our fellows’ daily responsibilities and environment.
Partner organizations are required to pay fellows a minimum stipend set by AlumniCorps, as well to provide health insurance at no cost to the fellow other than co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions. In return, AlumniCorps will invest resources and time screening applicants and mentoring and supporting fellows once they have been placed at your organization.
The minimum 2017-18 Project 55 Fellows stipends are listed below by city. Please note that this is the minimum annual requirement.
We ask that our partners consider what other entry level employees are paid at your organization when determining the fellow’s salary. Stipend requirements are adjusted for organizations in cities with a higher cost of living.
- Bay Area: $39,345* (Employers are responsible for setting salaries in accordance with state law.)
- Boston: $35,460
- Connecticut: $33,415
- Chicago: $32,050
- New York/New Jersey: $36,840
- Philadelphia: $34,095
- Washington, DC: $34,475
Fellows should not incur any cost toward their health insurance plan aside from co-pays for medical appointments and prescription drugs. Partner organizations that require an employee contribution toward health insurance may require the same of their fellow as long as the agency increases the fellow’s stipend to offset this cost. For example, if the fellow contributes $35 to her health insurance each paycheck, the paycheck should be increased by $35 to offset that cost.
Summary of Expectations
- Orient fellow to your organization, at least four hours in first work week
- Help fellow make the transition from college to working world
- Include fellow in general staff meetings
- Meet regularly with fellow (at least weekly first two months and every other week following)
- Conduct mid-year and year-end review for the fellow even if not required by human resources
- When possible, assign fellow an in-house mentor
- Provide fellow with feedback and opportunities for improvement
- Assign challenging and rewarding work to the fellow, including at least one mission critical project by the second half of the fellowship
- Provide fellow with ownership over project(s)
- Expose fellow to how your organization operates
- Orient fellow to your organization, field, and community
- Discuss Project 55 seminar topics with fellow
- Introduce fellow to professional networks and professional/leadership development opportunities
- Discuss next professional steps with fellow (graduate school, another job, etc.)
- Meet Project 55 Fellowship Program stipend and insurance requirements
- Allow fellows agreed upon time to participate in Project 55 Fellowship Program activities
- Contact Project 55 Fellowship Program staff or volunteers with concerns or questions
- Participate in the Project 55 Fellowship Program interview and matching process
- Complete all required paperwork in a timely manner, including organization profiles, position descriptions, and evaluations