The University announced Jan. 30 its plan to contribute more than $50 million over five years to the Municipality of Princeton, community organizations and lower- and middle-income residents to support mutual community interests including college access, sustainability and resiliency, socioeconomic diversity and equity, safety and emergency services, mass transit and municipal infrastructure.
“These financial contributions to the municipality, local nonprofit organizations and residents reflect the University’s long-standing commitment to support the vibrancy of the Princeton community that we call home,” President Christopher L. Eisgruber said. “We are pleased to advance these shared priorities in collaboration with local government and nonprofit organizations to provide meaningful services and resources across our community.”
For decades, the University has made steadily increasing voluntary contributions to the municipality. The new framework, effective this month, outlines contributions to the municipality totaling $39.5 million over five years, which includes $28.2 million in unrestricted cash contributions and $11.3 million dedicated to specific municipal projects and programs. In addition, the University expects to provide $10.8 million over five years to local agencies and lower- and middle-income residents.
The dedicated funding to the municipality will support the following projects and programs:
- $7.5 million to improve and repair municipal sewer infrastructure.
- $1.5 million to support the municipal shuttle service.
- $1 million over five years to support career fire department personnel in the Princeton Fire Department.
- $1 million to support the municipality’s purchase of a new fire department tower truck and high-water rescue vehicle.
- $250,000 toward the construction of a new cold-storage facility for the Department of Public Works.
- $100,000 to the municipality’s Department of Human Services to help provide emergency housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Additionally, the University intends to provide funding to nonprofit organizations for programs that aid lower- and middle-income residents. These include:
- Up to $10 million over five years to a nonprofit organization to provide property tax relief for lower- and middle-income Princeton homeowners. Eligible households will be based on income limits set by the New Jersey ANCHOR Program.
- $500,000 over five years to the nonprofit 101: Fund to support scholarships for low-income students who graduate from Princeton High School.
- $300,000 over three years to the nonprofit Housing Initiatives of Princeton, to support a rental assistance program for residents and families facing housing insecurity.
University Vice President and Secretary Hilary Parker said: “The University has for many years made discretionary unrestricted voluntary contributions to the municipality to support its budget. We took a new approach in developing this framework, engaging in a series of collaborative conversations to identify shared priorities for University support. We think the outcome is a positive one for the municipality, the University, and the residents of Princeton, and we are grateful to our municipal partners for the thoughtful and rigorous discussion we have had over many months.”
“This outcome is a testament to the strong and collaborative relationship the University has with our local leaders,” Parker continued. “As we advance the University’s teaching and research mission, we have a strong interest in strengthening our regional ecosystem to enhance the quality of life and economic well-being of our host community, the surrounding region and the state of New Jersey.”
The municipality was represented in the discussions by Council President Mia Sacks, Councilmembers Michelle Pirone Lambros and Eve Niedergang, and Municipal Administrator Bernard Hvozdovic. The team issued the following statement:
“We welcome this significant increase in financial support from Princeton University that will benefit all residents of Princeton. For more than a year we have engaged in a series of productive conversations with University representatives. These planned contributions reflect our mutual commitment to addressing the urgent challenges of affordability, sustainability, and equity within the community we share.”
Parker and Kristin Appelget, assistant vice president for community and regional affairs, led the discussions with municipal officials on behalf of the University.
In addition to the new contributions starting in 2024, the University announced last March it planned to contribute more than $14.6 million over five years to the Princeton Public School District. The University also made a voluntary unrestricted contribution of about $1.34 million to Mercer County in 2023, with plans to provide a gradually increasing annual payment in following years.
The University is the largest taxpayer in Princeton and the second largest taxpayer in Mercer County. In calendar year 2023, the University paid a total of $7.7 million to the municipality of Princeton in property and sewer taxes, which includes $2.8 million in school taxes for the Princeton Public Schools and $1.6 million for Mercer County.
Along with its voluntary payments and taxes, the University supports the Princeton community and local businesses through numerous other contributions, programs and partnerships.