Q: What is the mission of The Class of 1978 Foundation?

A:   Founded in 1983 around the time of our fifth reunion, the Class of 1978 Foundation’s mission is to encourage and support new generations of community service by Princeton University students by providing financial support to Princeton students to  work with communities or constituencies in need through direct, hands-on community service activities.  Our mission is premised on the Class of 1978’s deep commitment to addressing inequalities, injustices and dangers in society. 

Q:   What does the Foundation mean by “community service?”

A:  The Foundation  defines “community service” broadly to include working to improve a local, regional or global constituency’s or population’s well-being in terms of mental or physical health and well-being (addressing issues such as hunger, housing and health care); providing services to improve the quality of life (including education, art, music, transportation, sanitation, etc.); or encouraging economic development, social justice and human rights.

Q:  Can you give some examples of projects that have received support from the Foundation?

A:   We have funded a wide range of domestic and global projects. These have been as unique as the grant applicants themselves.  Here are some examples:

  • Helping to build homes in the slums of Belfast;
  • Documenting the plight of Syrian refugees in Greece;
  • Working in Bangladesh with street youth;
  • Helping to build a library in Ghana;
  • Undertaking grassroots economic development, including projects on eco-tourism, clean water and sustainable agricultural projects in Peru, Honduras and Belize[JM1] ;
  • Addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa
  • Working with organizations serving Aborigines in Australia;
  • Teaching underserved and minority students academic and test-taking skills they’ll need for college;
  • Educating U.S. immigrants on their legal rights and protections;
  • Working on criminal justice reform; and
  • Supporting Pioneering therapies and programs for hearing-impaired elementary students.

Q:  Must my project be one that I created, or may I support a project designed by my sponsoring organization?

A:  Creative project ideas designed by students themselves are encouraged.  However, the Foundation does award grants for internships and similar opportunities.  In the SAFE system both independent projects and internships are eligible for consideration.  Supporting community service is the overriding goal.

Q: What types of projects are not eligible for funding?

A:  Grants will not be given to support academic research projects. Projects supporting a senior thesis, junior paper, or supporting a professor’s research will not be considered. No grants will they be given to support particular religious beliefs.

Q:  Can I apply if my project will take place during the academic school year?

A:  No, only summer projects are eligible for consideration.

Q: What is the maximum award amount?

A:  The current maximum award is $5,000.  In determining the actual award amount, the Foundation Board takes into account a variety of factors, including a proposal’s overall quality and the budget submitted as part of the application process.

Q:  Can any part of a of grant award be applied to a student’s summer earnings requirements for their financial aid package?

A:  Yes. 

Q: Are seniors eligible to apply for projects occurring after graduation?

A:  Yes, seniors may apply for grants for projects occurring during the summer immediately following graduation.

Q: May graduate students apply for funding?

A:  No.  At present, grants are only available to undergraduates.

Q: How long does the typical project last?

A:  While there is no minimum duration, the Foundation Board looks to fund projects that will provide meaningful interaction between grant recipients and the communities that they serve.  Accordingly, most awards are for projects lasting approximately 4-8 weeks .

Q: Must applicants work with a sponsoring organization?

A:  We prefer that projects be conducted under the auspices of a sponsoring organization that represents the constituency in question.   Projects that do not have a sponsoring organization may be considered if the applicant provides a letter of support from a collaborating organization or relevant community leader.

Q: My project is a group project. Can we apply together for joint funding?

A:  Only individual applications are accepted. Applicants working on a group project may apply as individuals, but their application will be judged solely on the merits of their personal application.   

Q: How and when should I expect to receive my funding if my grant request has been accepted?

A:  The Foundation Board meets approximately 2-3 weeks after the deadline for grant applications and reviews all properly submitted requests. With few exceptions grantees are notified before April 30 that their applications have been accepted and are asked to confirm their agreement to submit a final report to the Board following the conclusion of their project (see next question). Grantees are asked to supply a mailing address where the grant check can be sent (typically but not always the student’s mailbox at Frist). Checks are sent in the first weeks of May.

Q: Once a project is completed, are any follow-up activities required?

A:  Awardees must agree to submit a written summary report to the Foundation at the conclusion of their project (with 5-10 photos and 1-2 short smartphone videos).

Q: Any final hints as to what makes for a successful application?

A :  Detailed application instructions can be found on the SAFE system.  To be considered for funding, candidates must submit an essay that specifically addresses all of the topics identified on SAFE.  Great weight is given to this essay in the grant selection process.  Applicants who create “generic” grant applications for use on multiple funding sites have not fared well.

Q: Whom should I contact with any other questions I have during the application process?