Gifts to the virtual event will be 100 percent tax-deductible and will benefit the Hackensack Meridian Health Circle of Compassion program.

Edison, NJ – October 19, 2020 – In lieu of its annual gala, Hackensack Meridian - Meridian Health Foundation will host a virtual program to raise funds for the Hackensack Meridian Health Circle of Compassion program, which provides compassionate, timely and equitable financial assistance to team members affected by a disaster or personal monetary hardship. Called the Circle of Compassion Virtual Celebration – Essential Workers, Essential Needs, the virtual event will take place on November 19 at 4 p.m. and can be viewed at The celebration will feature updates from Hackensack Meridian Health leadership, stories from COVID-19 survivors, moments of gratitude for frontline caregivers, a special appearance by Jon Stewart and more.

There is no cost to view the program, however gifts can be made in support of the Circle of Compassion program at are 100 percent tax deductible.

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“There are no words to express how grateful we are for our team members’ commitment, especially during this time. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our teams came together, staying focused and dedicated; a true testament to the term, ‘health care heroes,’” says Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “The pandemic impacted all of us, yet when faced with the unimaginable, our colleagues stepped up to face the challenges head-on. We recognized the incredible personal strain that many were under, compounding the stress of fighting a new and terrifying virus, which is why it was so important for us to also care for their financial health through the launch of the Circle of Compassion program, in addition to the mental, emotional and spiritual support the network was already offering.”

To date, the program has provided financial assistance to over 1,300 team members, raising more than $2 million and awarding more than $1.5 million to team members who have demonstrated emergent need. Donations from generous community members have been received, however the program was kickstarted by gifts from 100 percent of the senior leadership team at Hackensack Meridian Health

“Although a team member assistance fund previously existed at the network’s various foundations, the COVID-19 pandemic elevated the need for a comprehensive, network-wide program, as team members coped with the loss of their partners’ jobs, increased household expenses with children at home, the weight of caring for elderly parents and more,” says Joyce Hendricks, chief development officer, network philanthropy, Hackensack Meridian Health. “The recipients of these funds never thought they would need financial assistance and their gratitude has been immeasurable. I am so proud of our organizational leadership for recognizing this great need and personally making gifts in support of this important cause.”

In addition to general donations to the Circle of Compassion fund, community members, corporations and foundations may elect to make a donation to the event itself. Event participation levels remain in line with Meridian Health Foundation’s traditional sponsorships, however, support at certain tiers specific to this program will result in recognition at the Hackensack Meridian Health Reflection Garden at Roosevelt Park in Edison, NJ, which is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2021.

“This virtual event will offer an opportunity for everyone to pull together for a critical cause,” says Joseph Stampe, president and chief development officer, Meridian Health Foundation. “Recipients of these funds are frontline workers who have been working tirelessly to support our community, and I am hopeful that the community will join me in supporting this vital resource for them. Gifts to this program can truly make a difference and without exaggeration, could literally help ensure that a family doesn’t go hungry or lose their home.”

To make a contribution in support of this event and cause, please visit For more information, call 848-444-3275 or email

ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HEALTH - Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. 

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children’s hospitals - Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; nine community hospitals – Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals - JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Shore Rehabilitation Institute in Brick.

Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 35,000 team members, and 7,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The network’s notable distinctions include having four hospitals among the top in New Jersey by U.S. News and World Report. Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and being named to Becker’s Healthcare’s “150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare/2019” list. 

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University opened in 2018, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its second class of 96 students in 2019 to its On3 campus in Nutley and Clifton. Additionally, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to find more cures for cancer faster while ensuring that patients have access to the highest quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

For additional information, please visit