Novogratz gift endows Bridge Year program

Jan. 9, 2019 10 a.m.

A transformative gift from an alumni couple will enable Princeton to expand its Bridge Year program, which allows a group of incoming undergraduate students to spend their first two semesters as Princetonians engaged in community service abroad. 

Sukey Cáceres Novogratz and Michael Novogratz

Michael Novogratz, a member of Princeton's Class of 1987, and his wife, Sukey Cáceres Novogratz of the Class of 1989, have given a gift to endow and name the Bridge Year program. The gift expands the number of students from 35 to 42 each year.

The gift from Michael Novogratz of the Class of 1987 and Sukey Cáceres Novogratz of the Class of 1989 will allow the program — now known as the Novogratz Bridge Year Program — to offer its life-changing experiences to more students.

“Since 2009, the Bridge Year program has oriented its participants to the wider world, heightened their commitment to service, prepared them for leadership, and inspired personal transformation,” said Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber. “I am deeply grateful to Mike and Sukey Novogratz for their generous support of the program since its inception, and for making Bridge Year a permanent part of our educational program. Their extraordinary gift will enable generations of Princetonians to embark on a path of global citizenship as Bridge Year scholars.”

Bridge Year is a tuition-free program that allows a select number of incoming students to engage in nine months of University-sponsored service at one of five international locations — Bolivia, China, India, Indonesia and Senegal. At each location, Princeton works with a partner organization that has a history of running meaningful and engaging programs and a strong track record for managing student health and safety.

“I believe that Bridge Year gives students an incredible opportunity to prepare for their role as leaders of an increasingly interconnected world,” said Michael Novogratz. “At the same time, it offers abundant opportunities for introspection and personal growth. Students return from it with a real sense of purpose, and an interest in being of service to their communities, and to the world. The combination of the stellar Princeton education and a commitment to helping others is powerful.”

Michael Novogratz, a member of the Class of 1987 who earned an A.B. in economics, is the CEO of Galaxy Digital. He was the president of Fortress Investment Group and a former partner at Goldman Sachs. He is governing board chair of the Bail Project, which works to keep people accused of crimes from spending long periods of time in jail before their cases are addressed because they can’t afford to pay bail. He is also the founder of Beat the Streets, a nonprofit organization that builds wrestling programs in New York City schools; chair of Hudson River Park Friends; and a member of the board of the NYU Langone Medical Center. He is also a member of the board of the Princeton Varsity Club. 

“Mike and I have met many Bridge Year scholars; the positive impact the program has had on their lives — and on the lives of the people in the communities they have served — is extraordinary. We’re very happy to help make that possible,” said Sukey Novogratz.

Sukey Novogratz, who graduated in 1989 with an A.B. in anthropology, is the vice chair of the Joyful Heart Foundation, whose mission is to change culture’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. She is also the author of “Just Sit,” a guidebook for meditation. Mike and Sukey have volunteered on behalf of the University’s Annual Giving effort and have been generous supporters of Princeton. Three of their four children are Princetonians.

“Bridge Year lets students immerse themselves in cultures around the globe, where they live in homestays proximate to the intimate lives of others,” said Dean of the College Jill Dolan. “Their service-oriented work allows them to learn about themselves and the local culture from inside organizations devoted to improving lives. Mike and Sukey Novogratz have my deepest thanks for sustaining and strengthening a program that transforms our students’ perspectives and global understanding even before they enter a Princeton classroom. Their educations are ever richer for what they learn during Bridge Year.”