SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Don “Skip” Browne of Scotch Plains will receive the Joan D. Murray Volunteerism Award at Greater Newark Conservancy’s “Making Our City Bloom Gala” on May 10th at Nanina’s in the Park in Belleville.

As a volunteer, Browne has mentored the homeless, veterans returning from service, and high school students. After retiring from the banking industry as a corporate executive, he continued his role as a volunteer, making the New Jersey Reentry Corporation (NJRC), located at Greater Newark Conservancy, his primary focus. Since 2015, the two organizations have been helping formerly incarcerated men and women from Essex County.

Through the City Bloom Landscaping Program, the Conservancy and NJRC provide job and life skills training for hundreds of Newark residents as they move towards full-time employment and reclaimed lives. 

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The Conservancy also provides educational programs that enrich the lives of thousands of inner city children from pre-school to high school. Sustainably-raised produce grown on the Conservancy’s urban farms in Newark increase access to fresh, nutritious food for thousands of low income residents of the City, including many senior citizens. 

“Skip has become a full-time mentor to many of the NJRC clients who need assistance in resume writing, financial literacy, and job preparedness,” noted the Conservancy’s Executive Director, Robin Dougherty. “No task is too big or small for Skip. His motto is one of the greatest gifts you can give is your time.” 

Linda Bowden, New Jersey Regional President of PNC Bank, will be the event emcee. Other honorees include Hugo and Marilyn Pfaltz, who will receive the “Founder’s Award”, Jane Houston, “The Shipley Family Award for Philanthropic Endeavors”, and Bill and Sharon Brown, “The Nelson Mandela Freedom Award”.

You can support the continued good work of the Conservancy, which has earned a 4-star rating for sound fiscal management from Charity Navigator, the nation’s premier charity evaluator, by purchasing tickets for the Gala on Thursday, May 10th, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  To reserve tickets online, visit bidpal.net/citybloomgala or call 973.642.4646.

For more information about the benefit, including sponsorship opportunities and ad placement, visit www.citybloom.org. You can also visit the site to learn about other programs and services and volunteer opportunities and follow the Conservancy on social media at Facebook.com/GreaterNewarkConservancy, plus Twitter and Instagram @Citybloom87.