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The Children's Institute Names Real Estate Developer to Board of Trustees


VERONA, NJ – Dirk J. van der Sterre of Mendham, owner and managing partner of MMUFTC, a private aircraft terminal at Morristown Municipal Airport, and van der Sterre Properites, has been appointed to the Board of Trustees at The Children’s Institute (TCI) of Verona and Livingston.

Mr. van der Sterre, who  is responsible for the efficient management of a private aircraft terminal which consists of a 16,000–square-foot office facility, aviation fuel services and the 13 individual corporate jet hangars that he developed, said he has “the ability to bring awareness about The Children’s Institute” to many others and help make a difference at TCI. He is also a real estate developer and manages many properties including numerous commercial and residential buildings in New Jersey and New York.

Mr. van der Sterre has been involved with Autism Escapes, a charity that flies children on the autism spectrum on private jets to receive medical treatment. He said he decided to get involved with TCI after meeting Superintendent/Executive Director Bruce Ettinger, who inspired him when he spoke to him about all of the wonderful programs TCI offers its students. “The passion that Bruce (Ettinger) showed when talking to me about the school was enough for me to realize that I needed to get involved,” he said.

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Mr. van der Sterre offered his terminal at the Morristown Airport for two fundraising events for TCI, he said. He also has an employee with a child on the spectrum that is getting older. Mr. van der Sterre said he particularly feels passionate about The Center For Independence because as young people on the autism spectrum reach adulthood, he can imagine the many challenges they face in today’s society. “I would like to help raise money for The Center for Independence and get involved with the TCI Capitol Campaign,” Mr. van der Sterre said.

The Children’s Institute is a pioneer in the field of special education, serving preschool, elementary and middle school students at its Verona campus and high school and young adults at its Livingston campus, all of whom are on the autism spectrum. In addition, TCI serves adults ages 21 and up on the autism spectrum at its Center For Independence, located in Livingston.

Some priorities for Mr. van der Sterre, as he begins his term, include educating more people about the efforts of The Children’s Institute and everything it does for children, young adults and adults on the autism spectrum. Mr. van der Sterre has taken on the responsibility of chairing the TCI Development Committee to ensure that that there is adequate resources to fund TCI’s expanding programs and services. He attended Bryant College and graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison. He lives with his wife in Mendham, N.J.

To learn more about the programs and services offered at The Children’s Institute, please visit  

For information: contact Allison Freeman, Public Information Officer, The Children’s Institute (973) 509-3050 ext.  453 or

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