PATERSON, NJ –  Though 2020 has proved to be a challenging year on many fronts due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Paterson Alliance still wanted to highlight the efforts of community members, especially those who are working to help the city make it through this incredibly difficult time.

Each spring, the organization presents its Extra Mile Awards, a special luncheon to recognize superstars in the city’s non-profit community, but this year’s celebration was sidelined by the public health emergency. 

On Thursday, the coalition turned its awards ceremony into an online affair, virtually honoring a dozen individuals from local organizations.

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In a message to the community, Inge Spungen, executive director of the Paterson Alliance, said, “We are so grateful for all you do and to be able to honor those who have gone above the extra mile at our virtual celebration.”

For the awards, the alliance – which is made up of more than 70 local non-profits–invites its member groups to nominate staffers and volunteers who have gone above and beyond. The idea for the award was introduced in 2007 by Mayor Andre Sayegh, who, at the time was serving as executive director of the Paterson Alliance.

The 2020 Extra Mile Award recipients were:

  • Patricia Quispe – Paterson Education Fund

  • Michael Cassidy – New Jersey Community Development Corporation

  • Jessie Wasserman – Circle of Care

  • Jan Rowland – Lighthouse Pregnancy Resource Center

  • Christine Ricardo – Northeast New Jersey Legal Services

  • Minowara Begum – BAWDi

  • Barbara Kushner – William Paterson University – SCPE

  • Rosemary Matute – 4CS of Passaic County

  • Darry Jackson – Paterson Habitat for Humanity

  • Tiffany Thompson – CAMP YDP

  • Sarah Panayiotou – Renew Life Center

  • Tanya Mann – Paterson Alliance

Speaking to NJCDC’s Extra Mile Award recipient was Bob Guarasci, Founder and CEO of the large non-profit that was first launched in 1994 to transform the area around what is now known as the Great Falls Promise Neighborhood.

Michael Cassidy, Director of Planning and Real Estate for NJCDC, is responsible for all of NJCDC’s real estate, property management, and facilities management functions. Saying that he is “passionate about his work and his love for the city of Paterson and its people,” Gaurasci credited Cassidy for overseeing the construction of the Park Corner Apartments project, the rehabilitation of a 111 year-old mill building to serve as the middle school for the Community Charter School of Paterson, and is currently leading our efforts, in partnership with St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, to construct a 56-unit “healthy homes” apartment building.  

Click here to watch a video and to learn more about this year’s honorees.

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