Giving Back

New Faces, New Spaces at North Jersey Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

executive director of susan g. komen north jersey jennifer griola Credits: Kathi Edelson Wolder
Credits: Kathi Edelson Wolder

SUMMIT, NJ - As the North Jersey Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure turns 15 this year, there are going to be new faces in new spaces beginning tomorrow when they move from 785 Springfield Ave. into a new, modern, more efficient building at 44 Middle Ave. After 12 years in the same house, new Executive Director Jennifer Griola said it was time for a change.   

Along with the highly anticipated move, there are two new members in the organization; Mary Ruotolo the director of development and Marianne Wiatroski the volunteer and events manager.

Ruotolo brings an extensive background in the non-profit and government sectors to her new position and as she will oversee all fundraising initiatives for the organization including sponsorships, special events, planned giving and major gifts.  Wiatroski will oversee the volunteer program including recruitment, training, staffing health fairs and other outside events and recognition. She will also help plan and implement major events such as the annual Race for the Cure and the Pink Tie Ball.     

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Griola brings hands-on experience in non-profit management to her position and she is extremely excited about the move. After volunteering for many organizations including Susan G. Komen, it was her grandmother’s 10 year battle with breast cancer and her recent passing that led her to where she is today.  Because she handled many volunteer and management type positions in the past, she is not nervous about the move, she said.

“It’s just so serendipitous to find this space,” Griola said. “We’re just so happy to be able to find a new space.”

She told the sale of the building was well underway before she joined them in July. They are currently in a three story house from the 1800s and the organization has wanted a new office for a while. The staff looked originally into moving to Madison, but after meeting with Jim Prisco, the owner of the new building, they realized they had found their new home, she said. Prisco, whose wife had passed away recently from breast cancer is a staunch supporter of the organization, so it was an ideal fit, Griola said.

While the new place is only one large room, it is much more modern, she said.

“We’re able to custom fit it for our needs,” she said. “We want to maintain that sort of touch that we have where we really embrace our volunteers.”

She is looking towards the future and said great things are on the horizon for the organization. Her staff and team of volunteers are amazing people and work as a cohesive unit. She also wanted to express her gratitude to the many people who have helped with the moving process.  

“We’re really excited that we can support programs that help women to get screened and get mammograms, educate women about breast health, and provide treatment support services,” she said.

Since its founding in 1997, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure North Jersey Affiliate has awarded over $14.7 million in community grants to local non-profit organizations in support of life-saving education, screening and treatment support services for uninsured and underinsured women and men in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties. Last year, the Affiliate helped to provide over 4,600 screening mammograms and reached over 51,000 individuals with its breast care/breast cancer awareness education programs. They have also directed $6.4 million towards national research programs in pursuit of new breast cancer screening techniques, better treatment options, and the ultimate vision—a world without breast cancer.  

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