Princess Project gives hope

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Every year for the past two years, Susan Schultz sets up the Princess Project at Paly before prom.
The Princess Project is an annual program that collects new and slightly worn prom dresses for donation in order to give girls who cannot afford their own prom dresses a chance to have one. The Junior League of Palo Alto organizes the local collection of dresses, and has been running with the Princess Project for two years.

The Princess project is a San Francisco and Bay Area-based program founded by two San Francisco locals, Laney Whitcanack and Kristi Smith Knutson. The two started the program by e-mailing a group of friends in search of a prom dress for their friend. Soon after, the two girls decided to launch the Princess Project to provide prom dresses to underprivileged girls.

According to Schultz, Paly has collected about 12 dresses so far, but is not satisfied. “It’s not enough,” said Schultz. “I want more.”

Schultz commented that the Palo Alto school district has schools that could single-handedly support the whole project. “I’d like to see on the news someday, ‘Paly and Gunn donated 50% of the dresses for the Princess Project,’” Schultz said.

Once the dresses are donated, they are sent to a store in San Francisco where girls can come to look at the dresses as if in a real store. The doors are open from March 27 to April 3. Paly is currently open to donations, and the deadline is March 26.

Not only does the Princess Project collect prom dresses, but it also collects accessories such as small purses, jewelry, and wraps. All of these items are given to high school age girls who would not otherwise be able to afford a prom dress. Dresses can be dropped off in Susan Schultz’s office at Paly or at the Anthropology store in Palo Alto during regular business hours. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

In order to increase donations next year, Schultz will start Paly’s Princess Project earlier and possibly will offer an incentive for donated dresses.

If you would like to help out with the Princess Project and donate dresses, jewelry, purses, cosmetics, etc, call (415) 986- 0521, Ext. 225 or e-mail