PATERSON, NJ- Launched by local non-profit leaders that  “knew that they could accomplish more together than each individual organization could on their own,” the Paterson Alliance hosted its 20th anniversary gala on Friday.

The founders, according to Inge Spungen, Executive Director, “had the insight to gather and create a collaborative team that supports the needs of Paterson residents.”

Several of those leaders who helped give birth to the 70-member strong organization, including Bob Guarasci, NJCDC; Gwenn Levine, St. Joseph’s Hospital; Dr. Mary Garner, Paterson Community Health Center; Barbara Dunn, Paterson Habitat for Humanity; and Irene Sterling, Paterson Education Fund; were among the honorees at the dinner which drew over 200 guests and supporters. 

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Thanking the organizers for putting the event together, Guarasci said after the event “Twenty years ago a few colleagues and I decided to form an alliance of non-profits serving the people of Paterson. Tonight we marked the milestone and celebrated the work the Paterson Alliance does every day.

Mayor Andre Sayegh, who served as Paterson Alliance’s first Executive Director, and Leah Dade who led the Alliance from 2011 to 2016, were also honored.

Calling the honorees and other founders “courageous,” and their leadership “inspiring,” Sayegh suggested that his initial role with the organization isn’t that different from his current one as mayor. 

Then, like now, his job was to “recruit, recruit, recruit,” first non-profits to join the Paterson Alliance, now investors and others to be part of Paterson’s future.

“While industry powered Paterson into existence it is the people that are powering our city’s renaissance,” Mayor Andre Sayegh told TAPinto Paterson. “With the Paterson Alliance and its 70 member organizations continuing to harness that energy, and passion, we are on a path to surpass the dream Alexander Hamilton had of ours being a world-class city.”

Listing off projects such as the Breakfast After the Bell initiative and the Think Pre-K! campaign Spungen said that the Paterson Alliance has made a difference, as do its members, in countless lives.

“Paterson nonprofits have touched every neighborhood in Paterson, bringing support, compassion and community,” Spungen said. “Together they serve all areas of need, from food and housing to childcare and education, from health and homelessness to job and life-skills training.”

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