Through the Class of 1978 Foundation, our class continues to help new generations of Princeton University students explore commitment to public service through community service projects in the United States and overseas.In its last 21 years of giving, the Foundation has awarded more than $300,000 in grants to help underwrite the summer volunteer work of 140 Princeton students.
Each spring, the Foundation solicits proposals from Princeton undergraduate and graduate students. Applications are carefully reviewed and ranked by board members who award five to ten grants of up to $4,500 annually. The number of grants varies depending upon the quality of proposals and the available resources.
The Class of ’78 Foundation began in 1983, after our Fifth Reunion. Through our classmates’ foresight and generosity — and the numerous classmates who have subsequently contributed to the Foundation or served on its 15-member board — our class has sustained a program that has helped new generations explore commitment to public service through a truly stunning array of community service projects in the United States and overseas.
Grant recipients have worked in soup kitchens and halfway houses and in job placement and homeless programs. They’ve started libraries and nutrition programs in communities that lacked them. Their work charts the course of profound global issues, as seen in the increase in applicants seeking to work with HIV/AIDS prevention and climate-sensitive service projects in Africa, Asia, and South America. They work with established agencies or implement projects of their own design. What matters is that our recipients gain first-hand experience battling systemic, often intractable social problems while living among and laboring alongside the people whom they have chosen to serve.
While support for student research is not part of the Foundation’s mission, our recipients’ reports and reflections attest to the invaluable learning experiences our grant recipients gain. Our program design reflects David Kolb’s theory that learning is the result of a four-step cyclical process involving concrete experience, abstraction, experimentation and reflection. In this way, we aim to set recipients on a path of a lifetime of purposeful and productive social engagement, regardless of the career paths they ultimately choose.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that we marched through the Fitzrandolph Gates, full of youthful idealism and bursting with ideas for how to make the world a better place. Your gift to our Class Foundation ensures that future generations of Princeton students will have an opportunity to bring their own energy and vision to the nation’s service – and the service of humanity.