What is Project 351?

We believe that eighth graders are a remarkable force for good in their community and our world.  And, we take greatest joy and pride in the privileged opportunity to celebrate and support these inspiring young leaders in their efforts to lead positive change.

Project 351 is a youth service nonprofit organization that develops a rising generation of “community-first” leaders. Founded by Governor Deval Patrick in 2011 and now convened by Governor Charlie Baker, Project 351 fosters unity and strengthens the ethic of service through the engagement and enrichment of an 8th grade Ambassador from each of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. 

For a year’s term, Project 351 invests in the Ambassadors’ capabilities and inspires their sense of possibility through customized service experiences, results-driven leadership training, and exposure to issues, role models, and opportunities that challenge and enrich. United, Ambassadors progress the values of social justice, drive transformative impact for a portfolio of nonprofit organizations, and commit to a lifetime of civic responsibility and service.

Project 351 is an independent 501c3 registered nonprofit, and does not receive state or federal funds.

What is an Ambassador?

An Ambassador is an 8th grade student selected by educators in his or her community based on an exemplary ethic of service and the values of kindness, compassion, humility, and gratitude. A special premium is placed on the recognition of unsung heroes and quiet leaders, and the rich diversity of our Commonwealth.

There is no application process, rather, educators nominate and select their community’s Ambassador based on criteria and a process provided by Project 351.  

Ambassadors share a common passion for making a positive difference in their community and our world.  And, are invited to participate in 12 months of unique service and leadership development opportunities.  The Ambassador's term spans from January of their 8th grade through December of the 9th grade.

When is Project 351's Annual Launch & Service Day for the Class of 2018?

The Class of 2018 will kick-off their year of service on Saturday, January 13, 2018 in Boston. 

Convened by Governor Charlie Baker, Ambassadors will celebrate and serve in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The day kicks off with a morning ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library & Museum, followed by high impact service at nonprofit organizations across Boston, and an end-of-day celebration at the John F. Kennedy Library & Museum. 

This full day of programming includes enrichment, inspiration, team building, high-impact service, and fun with peers from across the state.  There is no cost.  Transportation, two meals, and a breakfast snack are provided for the Ambassadors.

Unfortunately, due to space constraints, we are not able to accommodate family or guests on Launch Day.


What are the expectations of an Ambassador?

Ambassadors are known for their open minds and hearts, respect for others, enthusiasm, passion to make a difference, and Project 351’s core values of kindness, compassion, humility, and gratitude.  From every corner of the state and diverse in all ways, Ambassadors forge bonds of friendship based on a shared commitment to service.

As a member of Project 351, Ambassadors represent their family, school, and community with honor, humility, and pride. Over a year's term, he/she engages with a community of peers in team-based service projects and leadership development opportunities. Respect, a cooperative spirit, and fun are hallmarks of successful Ambassador teams.

Ambassadors are expected to be their best self as a member of Project 351. They are encouraged to use the service and leadership skills they develop to address important issues facing their local communities. 

Participation in January’s Launch Day is required for the Ambassador.  We invite, but do not mandate, participation in four additional cornerstone initiatives: Leadership Reunion at Gillette Stadium (May), and Spring, 9.11 Tribute, and Fall statewide service.  These three service campaigns unite the Class in a common mission and provide scale for our non-profit partners. Ambassadors are invited to lead a project in his/her hometown and are provided with comprehensive training, mentoring, and support from Project 351.  Together, Ambassadors demonstrate the extraordinary change made possible when young people unite in service.

What are the program highlights of the Ambassadors' year?

Ambassadors serve from January to December and have the opportunity to continue to participate in Project 351 service as Alumni.

Project 351 includes five program milestones:

  • Launch Day, January -- hosted by John Hancock, a high energy, high impact day of celebration and service in Boston. Please see previous question regarding Launch Day for further detail.
  • Leadership Reunion, May -- hosted by the New England Patriots Foundation, a celebratory gathering for Ambassadors and Alumni that features leadership workshops, an afternoon of service, inspirational speakers, the annual Peace & Unity Walk in honor of Martin Richard with the Richard family, and an end-of-day Reunion BBQ. An annual highlight is the presentation of the Myra H. Kraft Giving Back Scholarship to a Project 351 Alumni by the Kraft family. This $20,000 scholarship honors a senior who had demonstrated exceptional service leadership in the Project 351 community and their own. Project 351 is deeply grateful to the Kraft family for their generosity and belief in the power of young people in service.
  • Spring Service, April -- Ambassador-led clothing and shoe drives in support of the homeless and economically challenged children served by Cradles to Crayons (www.cradlestocrayons.org).  In 2016, Ambassadors mobilized the largest youth-led service in the state's history. The team united 266 cities and towns -- including 281 schools -- in support of C2C.  The tireless efforts of Ambassadors and the support of their generous schools and communities collected 5,830 thirty gallon bags of clothing and shoes, which impacted 17,351 children.  The team also raised more than $6,300 in support of C2C's inspiring mission.
  • 9.11 Tribute Service, September -- Ambassadors honor and remember those lost on September 11, 2001 and in active combat since through their support of the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund (www.massmilitaryheroes.org).  In 2016, the Tribute Service team led 151 projects across the state. Citizens were mobilized to donate "wish list" items, create patriotic cards and letters of gratitude, and donate to MMHF.  Tens of thousands of Items; thousands of red, white, and blue cards; and $10,454 was collected in support of 1000 care packages for active duty service members and local veterans-in-need. On September 11th, a delegation of 30 Ambassadors and Alumni joined Governor Baker to assemble the care packages and to participate in remembrance services with Gold Star families and families of 9.11.
  • Fall Service, December -- the year concludes with the Ambassadors' campaign to end hunger in support of the 255,000 Massachusetts households facing food insecurity. The team is currently leading 116 projects in support of 96 Food Pantries.  Central to their mission are efforts to raise awareness of the local issue of hunger, generate financial support and donations of food, and recruit volunteers for their hometown Food Pantry. Fall Service places special emphasis on civic engagement, with targeted training on building partnerships with elected officials, the media, and local businesses to fight hunger.  The team is inspired to surpass last year's impact of 25,000 pounds of food and to conclude the Ambassador year with a lifetime commitment to serve.

Ambassadors participating in Spring, 9.11 Tribute, and Fall Service are provided with comprehensive training and support including Project 351's customized workbooks and weekly training, Regional Coaches (volunteer educators), and alumni mentors.  Project 351 service stresses the values of humility, gratitude, empathy, inclusion, and respect for the dignity of those we are privileged to serve.

What benefits can the Ambassador expect?

The courage, confidence, and capabilities to lead and serve.  Greater awareness of challenges facing our communities and nation. Inspiring opportunities to participate in service that creates positive change.  A statewide community of friends and mentors. Exposure to inspirational role models and leaders from every sector.  Enthusiasm and motivation to make a difference in the world.

By serving with 8th graders from every corner of the state, Ambassadors appreciate and learn from the diversity of our Commonwealth, forge friendships with similarly-minded peers, and lead service that transforms lives and their hometown.  

Alumni of Project 351 cite increased confidence, greater engagement in school and community, the development of strong and meaningful friendships, expanded leadership opportunities, enhanced skills in project management and communication, and most of all -- a deeper commitment to serve their community and our world.

Is there a cost to participate?

There are no costs associated with Project 351.  

Transportation is provided to/from Boston for Launch Day in January and to/from Gillette Stadium for Leadership Reunion in May. Ambassadors are provided with their official Ambassador t-shirt in January, and receive a short sleeve version at Reunion.  All training materials for Launch, Reunion, and three statewide service days are provided for the Ambassadors.




Is Project 351 a nonprofit organization?

Yes, Project 351 is a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization.  We partner with an extraordinary community of educators, service and nonprofit organizations, private sector and civic leaders, and volunteers to achieve our mission. 

Essential support and strategic guidance is generously provided by Carob Tree Foundation, John Hancock, Highland Street Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Martin Richard Foundation, Converse, HYM Investment Group, Governor and Mrs. Deval Patrick, and the Carmen Family. Important in-kind support is deeply valued from the New England Patriots Foundation and media partner, WBZ-TV.

We are deeply grateful for the generosity of these inspiring private sector partners and for the kind individuals of every age who invest in our young leaders and those they are privileged to serve.  

Project 351 does not receive state or federal funding.