Local auto dealership Maplecrest Ford Lincoln of Union has been named a finalist in two award programs that honor businesses and individuals for contributions made within their communities.

New Jersey Monthly announced recently that Maplecrest Ford Lincoln of Union has made its roster of nearly 60 Great Oak Award finalists, an honor given to NJ-based companies that demonstrate a strong commitment to giving and volunteering at local charities and social causes.

“This is a great honor,” Stephen Giordano, President of Maplecrest Ford Lincoln of Union, said. “We feel strongly that supporting and growing our community is a team effort, one that requires time and understanding as well as money. We do our best every day to give with compassion.”

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In 2015, Maplecrest Ford Lincoln donated nearly $50,000 in charitable contributions and in-kind services to more than 50 different non-profit organizations, including programs that impact the arts, education, health, music, senior citizens, veterans and youth. In addition, employees donated nearly 200 hours of time and contributed to a company supported matching-gift program.

Charitable giving has been part of the Maplecrest way for more than 50 years, according to Giordano. Since opening its doors in 1963 when Stephen’s late father Fred Giordano, Sr. headed up the company, the South Orange family has given considerably to local charities, impacting thousands of lives along the way.

The United Way of Northern New Jersey, one of Maplecrest’s charities of choice, nominated the auto dealership for the award in January. A team of New Jersey Monthly editors reviewed detailed information supplied by Maplecrest on its 2015 charitable efforts and named it a finalist for the last phase of judging. New Jersey Monthly will announce the full slate of finalists in the August 2016 issue of the magazine. The magazine will salute the 2016 Great Oak Award finalists and announce the winners at a dinner on September 19, 2016 at the Palace at Somerset Park. The 10 winning companies will be featured in the November issue.

In addition to the Great Oak Awards, Jen Miller, creator of Mustang Sally’s Now: Driving Women’s Leadership, a program fueled by Maplecrest Ford Lincoln, has been named a finalist for the “Visionary of the Year” category in the Believe Inspire Grow “B.I.G. Member’s Choice Awards.”

“Mustang Sally’s Now represents a metaphor for tackling tough challenges that women don’t think they can possibly overcome or confidently navigate - like cars,” says Miller, who also serves at Maplecrest Ford Lincoln’s Head of Brand Transformation and Consumer Experience. “I often speak to women and ask, ‘if you can negotiate for a car, don’t you feel as though you can negotiate for anything? And, if you can change your car tire, don’t you feel like you can change your world? Most women start smiling and shake their heads, YES!”

Mustang Sally’s Now, created to help women build confidence and connect with other women through a bi-monthly series of in-store workshops, clinics and on-line resources, celebrated its first anniversary in March. During its debut year, the program has held eight in-store workshops, from negotiating skills to financial acumen to learning how to change a car tire and what to do in a road emergency; garnered state-wide and national media interest; collaborated with academic partner Seton Hall to conduct market research; and reached thousands of women through additional social media. In addition, Miller created an in-store training program to educate the sales team (mostly male) about understanding the needs and wants of female consumers.

There is no charge to attend the workshops; however, attendees are invited to make a voluntary contribution to the United Way of Northern New Jersey Women’s Leadership Council, a group dedicated to improving the lives of women and children in our communities.

"I am excited for Jen and our Mustang Sally’s Now team,” Giordano said.  “And I am very proud of the entire Maplecrest Ford Lincoln team for embracing the program. We are committed to providing women with the tools and resources to be confident and informed about all aspects of cars.”

"Mustang Sally’s Now is about empowering women to be their best,” added Miller. “Generation after generation of women continue to pass along perceptions (and misperceptions) that women can’t negotiate well, even though women make more than 80% of household purchases. It’s a confidence issue.  As a mom of three daughters, I want to pass along a legacy of confidence.”

The next Mustang Sally’s Now: Driving Women’s Leadership event will take place on Wednesday, May 11 from  6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Maplecrest Ford Lincoln (2800 Springfield Avenue, Vauxhall). Two women from the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, Anne Kriegner, former Asst. Deputy Director and Rosemary Martorana, Director of Intelligence, will discuss “How to know ‘When You See Something, Say Something.’”

Believe Inspire Grow, “B.I.G..” a Basking Ridge-based company is a membership organization that supports and empowers women entrepreneurs and business owners in five states. Members were nominated for the award in December and three finalists in nine categories chosen in January. Winners are selected through popular vote.

Voting for the B.I.G. Member Choice Awards will take place through April 23, 2016 on TAPInto. Award winners will be named at the B.I.G. Member Choice Award on May 19th at The Rooftop Auditorium at MetLife (3 Bryant Park, New York, NY).

To learn more about Mustang Sally’s Now: Driving Women’s Leadership or to register for the next event, contact Marissa DeFeo at medefeo@teammaplecrest.com or call 908-964-7700 ext. 5566.

For information on the B.I.G. Member Choice Awards, contact Nell Conway at nell@believeinspiregrow.com.