January 29, 2014

Charity Begins at Home for 101: Fund Volunteers and Scholarship Recipients


HOMEGROWN SCHOLAR: Princeton High School graduate Olivia Rand sports her 101: Fund T-Shirt in front of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she is currently a freshman. Ms. Rand is a beneficiary of an award from the 101: Fund, which holds its annual fundraiser this Friday, January 31. Tickets for the event, an indoor “Tailgate Party” at the Cannon Club, are $125 each, and are available online from: http://fund101.org/dance.html.

The 101: Fund, which provides need-based scholarships to students at Princeton High School (PHS), is an example of the benefits of the “give local” philosophy and is among the non-profit organizations to which users of the One Princeton Card can donate a percentage of their purchases.

The 101: Fund helps bridge the gap between skyrocketing college costs and the resources of student family savings and financial aid packages. Its biggest fundraiser of the year will take place this Friday, January 31, at the Cannon Club on the Princeton University campus.

“It will be an indoor ‘tailgate’ party where people can bid for items such as a chance to name a sandwich at Hoagie Haven,” said education consultant Elizabeth Hamblet, the Fund’s volunteer publicity chair and the parent of a PHS sophomore. “Kids in their sophomore year at the high school are required to complete 50 hours of community service and some students are dedicating their time to the 101: Fund with a variety of activities, not least of which is the upcoming student-run talent show on February 28,” she said.

It is hoped that the Cannon Club event and talent show will not only raise support for the 101: Fund, but also contribute to the organization’s effort to recruit supporters for its cause. Over the past four decades, more than $1 million has been provided to PHS seniors through the organization, which was founded by a PHS secretary in 1970 as the Princeton Regional Scholarship Foundation.

After acquiring a new logo and a new name in 2008, it has continued to help PHS graduates get their start in higher education with financial aid calculated, with the assistance of Princeton University, according to standard assessment formulas. In 2010 alone, initial awards were made to almost three dozen graduating seniors.

With no paid staff and minimal administrative costs, almost 100 percent of the donations goes to student education and is paid directly to the institutions they attend. The 101: Fund’s board is led by Riva Levy and its advisory board includes Robert K. Durkee, vice president and secretary of Princeton University, Rush Holt, and the actor John Lithgow a 1963 graduate of PHS.

The awards, which are given out each June, range from $1000 to $10,000 and are granted to students who apply in the spring through the PHS Guidance Office. Recipients have gone to Bowdoin University, Rutgers. the State University of New Jersey, the School of the Visual Arts in New York, Tulane University, University of New Mexico, and Mercer County Community College (MCCC), among other institutions. For those attending MCCC and qualifying for the $10,000 award, this covers a semester of full-time tuition.

“There are students who think post-secondary education is beyond their reach and the assistance from the 101: Fund gets them to college,” commented PHS Principal Gary Snyder. “As they grow and mature, they feel like they belong, and they have the confidence to reach further in life.”

“When students who have received gifts from 101: come back to visit, they are always appreciative of the opportunity,” said Mr. Snyder. One such student, whose story is shared on the 101: Fund website, graduated with distinction from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in 2006 and then earned a Master of Music degree in Cello Performance at Ithaca College, where she held the teaching assistantship in cello. She then went on to study for a Master’s degree in Cello and Suzuki Pedagogy at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Recent PHS graduate, Olivia Rand, now a freshman at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, demonstrated her gratitude for the support of the organization by proudly sporting her 101: Fund T-shirt for a recent photograph.

Over the past few years, the 101: Fund has grown by means of an increasingly active Student Auxiliary at PHS and by recruiting dedicated volunteers like Ms. Hamblet. Among its plans for the future, said Ms. Hamblet, is a mentoring program that will assist students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend higher education, navigate and persevere in the college environment.

For more information on lending a hand with 101: Fund, email: info@fund101.org.