Katie Kutney (neé Grim) a New Jersey native, majored in Religion at Princeton. She also had a broad musical background, ranging from opera to being Performance Manager of the Princeton Katzenjammers a cappella singing group.
Prior to her Fellowship, Katie had served (through a Princeton Project ‘55 program) as a summer intern in a youth arts employment and training program in Newark called Studioworks, a project of the New Jersey affiliate of Communities In
Schools National. Katie enjoyed the work, and Studioworks thought the world of Katie and needed her badly – but they didn't have the resources to hire her on a year-round basis. That’s when ReachOut '56 rode to the rescue. Listen to Katie tell about it.
"Through the Class of '56 Fellowship, I was able to design my role as Project Manager of Studioworks, a program that employs and educates underserved
youth in Newark, Montclair, and Orange through public art projects.” Studioworks is a signature program of CISNJ, helping fulfill the organization’s mission to help kids stay in school and prepare for success in life.
"During my year as a Fellow, I exercised a remarkably high level of autonomy for a recent graduate—I set my own schedule, brought my personal vision to the maintenance and evolution of the program, and implemented the Studioworks Vocal Performance Component.” The Vocal Component flourished, with the Studioworks Singers performing at events such as CISNJ's annual benefit and Continental Airlines' Black History Month Showcase at Newark International Airport.
"My supervisors/mentors offered guidance whenever needed, yet also granted me ample freedom to direct my course throughout the Fellowship. As a result, I learned to write grants and earned my salary's worth in grant funding; cultivated and strengthened partnerships with area galleries, universities, and municipalities; and recruited young singers and vocal artists to participate in the program."
During the Fellowship, the founding director of Studioworks and Katie’s direct supervisor commented that "Katie is a joy to work with. She accepts challenges
nearly on a daily basis. Everyone she touches through her work loves her. . . . from the founders to the artists, from the parents to the kids. We feel so fortunate to have
benefited from the ReachOut '56 Fellowship program. Please know how critical this
program and Katie have been to the development of the Studioworks program. We have many more mountains to climb, but we're on our way. We thank you for your very generous support."
Now seven years out from her Fellowship year, Katie feels even deeper appreciation for the opportunities ReachOut provided. “ReachOut ’56 laid the foundation for my career in public service,” Katie attests. “After two and a half years at CISNJ, I honed my grantwriting skills at the Community Service Society in New York, and then
managed development and advocacy efforts for the New York Council for the
Humanities. In both of these positions, I was able to use the communication and strategic management skills I learned on the ground at Studioworks.” Now part of the Donor Relations team at the Rutgers University Foundation, Katie works to engage donors more closely with the life-changing impact their contributions have on Rutgers students and faculty.
This summer, Katie will be a co-mentor with Jim Gregoire ‘69 to three Princeton interns working at North Star Academy in Newark. She is excited to lend whatever support she can to students embarking on an experience in public service.
Regarding current applicants, Katie tells us she is more and more impressed each year with the quality and scope of the applications presented, both domestic and international. “I am so glad to be part of this burgeoning group of Princeton alumni dedicated to service work. My ReachOut Fellowship year was invaluable in shaping me as a professional and a human being, and it’s a thrill to see the amazing projects made possible through the Fellowship year after year.”