The Community Foundation administers a number of special awards to recognize achievement and dedication in our community.

Our Rebecca Annitto’s Service Opportunities for Students (SOS) Fund Internship Award and our Diana Rochford Memorial Fund Service Award give high school students the chance to have meaningful summer employment at nonprofits.

Our Thomas George Artists Fund Award helps support young artists immediately following college graduation, and our Leslie “Bud” Vivian Memorial Fund Award recognizes community members who have spent years making this region a better place to live.

Rebecca Annitto

Rebecca Annitto’s Service Opportunities for Students (SOS) Fund Internship Award

The Award: 
The Fund exists to encourage high school students to participate in the work of their communities. Recognizing that students must choose between working for pay and an enriching volunteer experience, the SOS Fund offers three awards of $2,000 each to allow motivated, service-oriented young people paid work experiences at nonprofits.

To be eligible for this award, students must:

  • Demonstrate an ongoing interest in volunteer or community-based work, including a track record of meaningful activities in the community
  • Describe a specific opportunity that is of interest to them
  • Indicate why this opportunity would be meaningful

To Apply:
Please submit:

  • A resume or overview of your activities and volunteer commitments;
  • A one-page essay describing the opportunity you want to pursue and why it is meaningful to you, including contact information for a staff member at the proposed employer who can verify details of your project; and
  • A letter of recommendation from a person familiar with your prior volunteer work.

About Rebecca
Rebecca Annitto was tiny in stature but powerful in heart, spirit and passion for life. Her wide eyes looked broad and deep. She saw all the wonder and sorrow in the world. She loved being coxswain for Mercer Junior Rowing; adored fashion and beauty; loved friends and family and felt a special kinship towards others who were less fortunate.

In 2005, Rebecca was working to develop her vision to connect students with meaningful service opportunities, helping local organizations identify and harness the talent and vitality of her fellow students. Rebecca recognized that high school students have school-based community service requirements and their own desires to contribute. She saw how difficult it was for kids to find suitable, interesting and accessible volunteer websites. She thought it would be great if students could find local volunteer opportunities that matched their interests, abilities and schedule.

Rebecca Annitto was about to turn 15 when a tragic accident took her life on September 14, 2005.

Diana Rochford 

Diana Rochford Memorial Fund Service Award Internship Award

The Award: 
The Fund exists to encourage female high school athletes to participate in the work of their communities. Recognizing that students must choose between working for pay and an enriching volunteer experience, the Fund offers two awards of $2,500 each to allow motivated, service-oriented young people paid work experiences at nonprofits.

To be eligible for this award, students must:

  • Female student
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Soccer player
  • Mercer County, Middlesex County or Burlington County resident
  • Volunteer work/community service experience

To Apply:
Please submit:

  • Resume or overview of your activities/volunteer commitments and soccer team experience;
  • High school transcript;
  • One-page essay: What is a global cause you feel strongly about, and if you had the means and time how would you contribute to it?

About Diana
Diana Rochford was one of those people who everyone admired. Her beautiful smile lit up the room and she was a devoted friend who always championed the underdog. She consistently gave 110 percent to everything she did, whether it was her education, soccer, school musicals, or church choir. She especially loved helping those in need, which led her to participate in mission trips with her church. She lived by the motto “Small things done with great love can change the world.”

Diana also loved being on the soccer field. When she tore her ACL in her freshman year, she was determined not to let that stop her. She worked her way back into the starting lineup as a sweeper, her favorite position, and into a leadership role as captain of the team when she was a sophomore. For Diana, being a leader went beyond the soccer field, and she found herself helping her teammates with personal problems as well. They always felt safe coming to her for help, knowing she was a good listener, truly cared about each one of them, and would never betray their trust. She also dedicated time to her travel team, where she played sweeper and outside midfielder.

Diana’s other love was singing. She participated in school musicals, the school choir and a select a capella group. These friends were devoted to each other and she adored being with them. Diana also sang with the celebration choir at her church, which is where she was on the evening of Aug. 24, 2002, just before the beginning of her senior year. After Diana left church, she spent some time at a friend’s house.  It was on her drive home that Diana had a tragic accident.  She was 17-years-old.

Thomas George

Thomas George Artists Fund Award

Thomas George (1918-2014) was an internationally recognized artist with works in major museums, universities, corporations and private collections worldwide. He donated most of his paintings and drawings to the Community Foundation, where he set up the Thomas George Artists Fund to assist young artists at the outset of their careers.

The Thomas George Artists Fund awards grants to support an artist engaged in drawing and painting for up to six months directly following his or her graduation from art school or college; or for a student studying art but not seeking a degree, directly following his or her completion of the school or college’s art program coursework.

Tom counted himself fortunate for having received financial support early on, through the G.I. Bill and from his family, to study and practice his art.

“I wanted to help ease financial pressure and provide an opportunity for young artists to concentrate on their craft, to experience it as a full-time occupation,” he said.

Each year the Thomas George Artists Fund gives an artist the financial freedom to focus on drawing and painting for a limited period. It’s a respite from the demands of school and workplace. The grants provide time for reflection and planning, and above all an opportunity to do art.

In an interview before his death, Tom spoke about the award:

“If you’re an aspiring artist, you don’t just ‘go to the job.’ There isn’t an office or a career track waiting for you. What too often happens – I’m glad I’m not facing this as a young person now – is pressure to switch from painting into practical fields like computer graphics, advertising design, and entertainment. Most people who start out wanting to paint can’t make a living at it, so this fork in the road often marks the end of their hopes.

“I’ve been working now for sixty years, and I can’t tell you how many young people are confronting this. I’ve corresponded with them and done some teaching, and they’re all talking about these challenges. I don’t know the ultimate solution. But each grant our fund makes is an answer, for now, for one person at a time.

“We work primarily with the College of New Jersey, Rider University, and Mercer County Community College. Big national universities and professional schools have great programs too, but many of them are already well-funded. I felt that our local institutions, where I know people, could use the help someone like me could give them. We’ve had very good grant applicants to choose from.

“I didn’t know anything about the Community Foundation. I was referred there by a friend and adviser, Austin Starkey, in 1999. It has been terrific. Frankly speaking, I liked the people. They’re creative. They offered ideas that pretty much coincided with what I wanted to do.

“And it’s not bureaucratic. The staff does a lot of behind-the-scenes work for donors. I go in from time to time to discuss the future of the grants, because I’m very interested in doing this as long as I can.

“It’s important to me that my own art will be preserved because it has been gifted to the Foundation. I’ve willed additional money to the Foundation to support the operations of our fund, to provide for the storage of the art while it is gradually being sold.”

Tom George had an unusually cosmopolitan artistic career, having lived and worked in France, England, China, Japan, Norway, as well as in several parts of the United States. Does he think meaningful philanthropy needs to be done on a national scale?

“No, for me it’s going the other way. I’ve been lucky, I’ve had my name in lights, had exhibitions, been asked to give talks, and I’ve certainly traveled, but now the time element is short, frankly. I think I know what’s really important. Helping people professionally, I think, at least is clear, and it’s real, and it’s a very satisfying accomplishment.

“Looking at the Foundation as a whole, I think of all the things that are happening here through donors’ grants. The Community Foundation makes me feel that together we can do some wonderful things, now and in the future.”

Does being part of it make Tom George feel like a successful philanthropist? He laughs. “I will just say that I give thanks for the opportunity to help young artists while at the same time continuing to do the work I love best.”

Watch an interview with Tom from NJN/State of the Arts, including a walk through his 2005 retrospective at the Princeton University Art Museum:

Learn more about the 2019 winner.

More information about the application will be released soon.

Leslie “Bud” Vivian

Leslie “Bud” Vivian Memorial Fund Award

In late 1995, classmates from the Princeton University Class of 1942 together with 16 local organizations established the Leslie “Bud” Vivian Memorial Fund at the Princeton Area Community Foundation to honor the memory of their friend and colleague. This memorial endowment is intended to promote in perpetuity the principles by which Bud lived, and to recognize his important contributions to the Princeton community. Bud Vivian served as Princeton University’s Director of Community and Regional Affairs for many years and his concern for his neighbors extended into all corners of the town.

The Fund makes an award annually to a member of the community who has volunteered or worked for many years to benefit Princeton’s citizens, and has demonstrated the qualities which Bud possessed and shared so fully:

  • the ability to see the need for community action to resolve a problem of human need;
  • the ability to identify and define a problem in terms that make it understandable to those most able to solve it;
  • the ability to bring different parties together to find a solution, with the knack for generating constructive compromise, and;
  • the perseverance and dedication to carry solutions through to successful completion.

A grant from the Fund is made each year to one or more local nonprofit organizations suggested by the award recipient.

Guidelines for Nominations
Submit a letter of nomination highlighting the qualities and accomplishments of your nominee. Please include written letters of support from other individuals to help inform the selection committee. Nominations and supporting documents must be sent to the Princeton Area Community Foundation. A winner will be chosen by the Vivian Award Selection Committee.

Leslie “Bud” Vivian Memorial Award Winners

For more information or support, please contact:

Nelida Valentin
Vice President, Grants & Programs
Email Nelida Valentin

Myriam Padro
Philanthropy Services Associate
Email Myriam Padro