BELLEVILLE, NJ - The Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) and COMMERCE Magazine recently hosted their Fourth Annual Chairman’s Reception – paying tribute to the kindness and generosity of the business community.
Thirty-nine companies, including leading manufacturers, retailers, hospitals, banks and colleges and universities, were honored as “Champions of Good Works” at the gala reception, attended by more than 260 business executives.
“For most of the companies that we are honoring tonight, their generosity and kindness is part of their culture,” said Andrew Silverstein, a member of the accounting firm, Dorfman Abrams, Music, who welcomed all the guests as chairman of the CIANJ board of directors. “The public is often unaware of the magnitude and scope of these good works. This reception is our way of shining a spotlight on “Companies that Care,” Silverstein added.
CIANJ is a statewide business advocacy organization, representing more than 950 corporate members from every industry sector. The organization asked the business community to share stories of its philanthropy. Their stories became a special section of the March issue of COMMERCE Magazine that was distributed at the reception, which was held at the elegant Nanina’s In the Park in Belleville.
This year’s champions were decided by a blue-ribbon panel of judges, which also named Hackensack Meridian Health and its affiliate, South Ocean Medical Center, as the 2017 Extraordinary Good Works recipient.
“Their story will bring tears to your eyes,” said CIANJ President Anthony Russo, who joined Silverstein in handing out the award at the reception.
The healthcare providers were honored for the extraordinary steps they took for Joseph Aulert, a hospice patient, had just a few weeks to live when he mentioned to caregivers that his dream was to share his photography with the public. Staffers mobilized quickly to make Joe’s dream come true.
The exhibit opened at the Southern Ocean Medical Center on Nov. 11 – a very fitting day since it was Veteran’s Day and Joe was a U.S. Army veteran -- and it was his birthday. Joe was too sick to attend even though his room was just a few floors above the exhibit. His nurses brought the show to him by taking a video. It enabled Joe to see people admiring his work and even buying some of it. A few hours later he passed away, knowing his wish was realized.
Karen Stanton, senior director of Meridian Hospice, accepted the top honor on behalf of the team who work to make Joe’s dream a reality.
The companies honored as Champions of Good Works included:
AECOM, honored for Environmental Conservation – AECOM is a dedicated supporter of Water for People, providing funds to make certain 1.5 million people have access to safe water.
Atlantic Stewardship Bank, honored for Outreach to the Homeless --The bank has contributed more than $242,000 to the Paterson Habitat for Humanity which offers housing to families in dire need.
Bayshore Family of Companies, honored for Environmental Conservation -- Bayshore employees participated in beach sweeps to collect litter from New Jersey’s coastline and raise awareness about the impact on the environment.
BDO USA, honored for Supporting NJ Charities – In the past year, the accounting firm provided support to Bridges Outreach, a nonprofit dedicated to helping the homeless. The firm also organized events to benefits Special Olympics, Toys for Tots and other charities.
Bergen Community College, honored for Feeding the Hungry – The college took the extraordinary step of partnering with the Center for Food Action to open a food pantry to help students, faculty and staff fighting hunger.
Berkeley College, honored For Supporting NJ Charities -- As part of its ongoing 85th anniversary, Berkeley College emphasized the importance of volunteerism with “85 Acts of Kindness” benefits charities across the state.
Columbia Bank, honored For Helping Children – The bank donated funds and volunteers to renovated The Phoenix Center, which is a Nutley-based school that provides education and therapeutic services to children with disabilities.
Connell Foley, honored For Volunteerism -- For the past five years, the firm has supported the Dress for Success program organized by the Professional Women’s Group. The firm held clothing drives, provided volunteers and even coaching for the job applicants.
Day Pitney, honored for Supporting NJ Charities -- The law firm provided nearly 12,000 hours of free legal service – valued at $4.9 million – as well as raising funds for many charities and civic organizations.
Deloitte, honored for Caring for Veterans -- The accounting firm provided services to the VA, sponsored the Department of Defense Warrior Games for the past seven years and sponsored more than 60 veteran-based events in 2016.
Delta Dental, honored for Helping Children -- Volunteers and staff from Delta Dental of NJ helped provide free dental screening and treatments to children 12 and under on National Give Kids a Smile Day.
Englewood Hospital and Medical Center and cancer specialist Dr. Frank Forte, honored for his Volunteerism -- Dr. Frank Forte has spent over 23 years administering to the uninsured—including so many of the greatest jazz and blues legends, who have recorded with everyone from Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday to Frank Sinatra and B.B. King.
Felician University, honored for its Outreach to the Homeless – The campus ministry along with the non-profit Midnight Run load up a small bus with food, clothing and toiletries and make four visits into New York City each year, serving as many as 75 homeless people each time.
Georgian Court University, honored for Supporting NJ Charities – The school provided more than 87,000 hours of services from its students, faculty and staff, providing assistance to Catholic Charities, the Red Cross and other organizations with an economic impact valued at $2.3 million.
Holy Name Medical Center, honored for Helping Children – Holy Name Medical Center collaborates with Project SEARCH and Sinai Schools to provide vocational training and jobs for high school students with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
I.C.E. Service Group Inc., honored for its Volunteerism – The group was instrumental in the creation of North Newark Move, a non-profit organization that works to improve the quality of life, advocate for and supply immediate response and help to elderly and displaced families.
InGroup Inc., honored for Supporting NJ Charities -- The marketing firm is committed to giving back to the community and provided pro bono marketing services to the Center for Hope and Safety and other local organizations throughout the year.
Inserra Supermarkets, honored for Supporting NJ Charities – For year Inserra Supermarkets has donated funds to charities throughout the state. Last year the company’s 22 Shop-Rite stores participated in an annual fund-raising event for Diabetes Research and raised a record-breaking $200,000.
Kean University, honored for Outreach to the Homeless – The “Be the Change” group focuses on helping the homeless in Newark and surrounding areas by collecting clothing and food and even making sandwiches that the students bring to neighborhoods where they know a need exists.
Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA, honored for Feeding the Hungry – The firm funded a paid internship for a local student to work at a sustainable community farm in Mahwah as part of its broad efforts to help end the cycle of poverty and food insecurity.
Lakeland Bank, honored for Supporting NJ Charities – The bank is being honored for its long-standing tradition of supporting local charities. Last year at its 44th Annual Scholarship Golf Outing, Lakeland raised more than $150,000 to provide scholarship to students from 50 high school in its market area.
LG Electronics USA, honored for Environmental Conservation – The company just broke ground on construction of a new $300 million headquarters in Englewood Cliffs that will be certified as a Gold LEED structure which will feature green spaces, 700 new trees, high energy efficient technologies and clean solar electricity onsite.
Marsh & McLennan Agency, honored for Caring for Veterans –The agencies Northeast offices created care packages for U.S. troops overseas. Staffers were encouraged to donate novelty hats and handwritten personal notes of encouragement. The service men and women get to choose what hat they want and they get excited when it’s from their hometown.
Mazars USA, honored for Feeding the Hungry – The firm completed its second annual Day of Services last year, which included 511 employees working at 23 community and non-profit programs. Some 110 employees volunteered by sorting food at the Community Foodbank of New Jersey.
Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, honored for Supporting NJ Charities – The firm’s charity initiative called upon each attorney to donate $100 to a charity or cause and to report back on it. Some 48 attorneys participated. For Thanksgiving, the firm created an e-booklet of the donation stories.
NPZ Law Group, honored for Helping Children – The law firm worked on a pro-bono basis with Burn Advocate’s Network in Teaneck and a physician in Cleveland to bring a young burn survivor from India to the United State on a special visa so she could attend Camp Phoenix, a burn camp in Ohio which focuses on psychological healing and rehabilitation.
Peapack Gladstone Bank, honored for Feeding the Hungry – In partnership with America’s Grow A Row, the bank’s employees harvested 25,000 pounds of peaches and tomatoes, picked 3,600 pounds of apples and planted 945 cauliflower plants, which were transported throughout the state to food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens.
PFK O’Connor Davies, honored for Outreach to the Homeless – The accounting firm participated in Covenant houses’ annual Sleep Out event with a team from the firm sleeping on a piece of cardboard on the streets of New York City to raise funds and awareness about the 2 million U.S. children who face homelessness.
Plast-O-Matic Valves Inc., honored for Caring for Veterans – The firm as a Support Our Troops and Veterans initiative that is involved in a wide range of efforts to help our servicemen and women. In addition to supporting fund-raisers organized by the Wounded Warrior Project, and Semper Fi Fund, the DeLorenzo family gave free spa therapy sessions to 20 local veterans.
PwC, honored for Helping Children – The accounting firm committed $190 million to the Earn Your Future program to provide curriculum, training and mentorship to help students develop financial knowledge and prepare them for their future careers.
Ramapo College of New Jersey, honored for Volunteerism – The college students and faculty collected more than 134,000 books to benefit school throughout Paterson as part of its Ramapo Readers program. The book drive was started to help school devastated by Hurricane Katrina and has evolved into a local effort.
Ramboll Environ, Inc., honored for Volunteerism – The company’s staff organized a food drive and volunteered support of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, contributing 122 hours from June 2016 through November, 2016. The employees helped serve breakfast and lunch and many brought their children along with extra hands.
RWJBarnabas Health, honored for Helping Children – The Community Medical Center and RWJBarnabas partner with the Ocean County Freeholders and Department of Parks and Recreation to construct a new fitness-themed play trail at Jakes Branch County Park in Ocean County to keep children physically active and healthy.
Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, honored for Volunteerism – More than 80 volunteers from the healthcare system came together after Superstorm Sandy and rehabbed 11 homes, helping needy families and owners with disabilities. Their work evolved into and ongoing effort to assist Habitat for Humanity.
Stryker Orthopaedics, honored for Caring for Veterans – Last year Stryker announced a collaboration with K9s for Warriors, a non-profit organization that provides service dogs to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Stryker sponsor six service dogs, many of whom are rescued from dire situations and trained for their new roles.
T&M Associates, honored for Volunteerism – The firm celebrated its 50th anniversary with a “50 Ways of Giving” campaign that resulted in employees participating in 80 volunteer events and logging in more than 1,575 hours of support to a great many causes, including soup kitchen, blood drive and even rebuilding houses.
The Valley Hospital, honored for Environmental Conservation – Valley Hospital was the first hospital in New Jersey to install rooftop beehives that helped pollinate a two-mile radius around their facilities, increasing the yield of flowers, fruits and vegetables in the area.
United Airlines, honored for Volunteerism – The airline supports many charitable organizations and created the United Summer Associates internship program that exposes approximately 30 youth ages 18 to 25 with diverse backgrounds from Newark, Elizabeth, and other communities surrounding Newark Liberty International Airport to exciting careers in aviation.
Wellness Interactive, honored for Environmental Conservation – The company hosted Global Wellness Day in Essex County last year, working with educators, administrators and health counselors to promote awareness of sustainability and health lifestyles.