‘We took a new approach’

Princeton University donates $50 million to municipality and nonprofit groups over five years

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Princeton University will donate more than $50 million over the next five years to the Municipality of Princeton, nonprofit groups and to income-eligible residents, according to Princeton University officials.

The $50 million-plus donation, which was announced Jan. 30, follows Princeton University’s $14.6 million donation to the Princeton Public Schools over the next five years that was announced in March 2023.

Princeton University has made voluntary donations to the town to support the municipal budget for several years, but the latest round is a departure from the earlier donations, officials said.

“We took a new approach in developing this framework. We engaged in a series of collaborative conversations to identify shared priorities (that would benefit from) the university’s support,” said Princeton University Vice President and Secretary Hilary Parker.

This time, the donation includes unrestricted funds as well as money earmarked for specific projects. Also, there are donations to nonprofit groups that help residents.

The town will receive $39.5 million, officials said. It includes $28.2 million in unrestricted cash contributions and $11.3 million earmarked for specific projects and programs.

The $11.5 million includes $7.5 million specifically for improvements and repairs to the municipal sewer infrastructure and $1.5 million to support the FreeB, which is the town’s municipal shuttle bus service.

The Princeton Fire Department will receive $1 million to support the fire department’s career firefighters and $1 million toward the cost of a new tower truck and a high-water rescue vehicle to be used in floods.

Also, $250,000 will be used toward the construction of a garage for the Department of Public Works equipment, and $100,000 will be donated to the Department of Human Services for emergency housing for people who are experiencing homelessness.

In addition to the money that Princeton University is donating to the town, it will give up to $10 million to a nonprofit group to provide property tax relief to income-eligible lower- and middle-income households.

Princeton University will donate $500,000 to the nonprofit 101:Fund, which provides need-based scholarships to Princeton High School graduates who want to continue their education.

The nonprofit Housing Initiatives of Princeton will receive $300,000 for its rental assistance program.

“These financial contributions to the municipality, local nonprofit organizations and residents reflect the university’s long-standing commitment to support the community,” Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber said.

The voluntary contribution is the result of discussions between Princeton University and Princeton Council President Mia Sacks and Princeton Council members Michelle Pirone Lambros and Eve Niedergang, and Administrator Bernard Hvozdovic.

The significant increase in financial support is the result of more than one year of discussions (with Parker and Kristen Appelget, the assistant vice president for community and regional affairs) and will benefit all residents, town officials said.

Princeton University is the largest taxpayer in town. In 2023, it paid $7.7 million to the town in property and sewer taxes, which includes $2.8 million in property taxes to the Princeton Public Schools.