Health & Wellness

Press Releases

Union County Nonprofit Consortium Networking Conference Features 'Doing Good Better'

Mohamed Jalloh, chairman of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, addresses the 2015 Union County Nonprofit Consortium Networking Conference held May 28 at L'Affaire in Mountainside.

More than 130 members of Union County nonprofits and government learned how they can be "Doing Good Better" yesterday at the 2015 Union County Nonprofit Consortium Networking Conference held at L'Affaire Fine Catering in Mountainside, NJ.

The day-long conference featured a panel discussion led by three executive directors of county nonprofits, a keynote address from Ella Teal, president and CEO of the Urban League of Union County, and roundtable discussions.

Sid Blanchard, executive director of Community Access Unlimited (CAU), opened the events discussing the purpose of the conference, which was sponsored by the Union County Non-Profit Consortium. The consortium comprises the leaders of 11 county nonprofits and Union County government.

Sign Up for E-News

"We decided we needed to do something in order for our nonprofits to not only survive but thrive as they take care of the people of Union County," he said.

Mohamed Jalloh, chairman of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, also addressed the audience, while recognizing fellow freeholders Bruce Bergen and Bette Jane Kowalski also in attendance. Kowalski also heads the Union County Home Services Advisory Council that shares information with the county's nonprofits about available grants and services.

"Our presence here is a testament to the importance of the nonprofit sector to the county's economy and we're rooting for your success," he said, noting that New Jersey nonprofits spend $37 billion annually and employ 304,000 people, or about 10 percent of the state's private workforce. "We have to make sure nonprofits are thriving."

Teal spoke about the important role Union County's nonprofits play in serving the county's less fortunate. She said of the county's approximately 500,000 residents, 11 percent live in poverty, 8 percent are people with disabilities and 7 percent are unemployed.

"People have issues and when they have issues they don't always know where to turn to," she said. "Not-for-profits can play a vital role in addressing these issues. But nobody has all the answers. It's a constant job of reengineering yourselves to figure out how to do it better."

Blanchard led the morning's panel discussion that was intended to teach those in the audience just that. He was joined by Joanne Oppelt, executive director of CONTACT We Care, a crisis hotline and suicide prevention training agency, and Janice Lilien, executive director of the YWCA of Union County, which serves the women, children and families of Union County, including addressing domestic violence.

Blanchard reviewed CAU's growth and success during its 36 years, which he attributes to its structure and business model. Blanchard started CAU in 1979 out of the trunk of his car with a $90,000 grant to move 20 people out of the state's developmental centers into community living. Today the agency serves more than 6,000 people statewide, employs more than 1,200, has an operating budget of $68 million with less than $2 million in debt and a $10.4 million line of credit, and owns and operates 220 housing units in Union County.

Oppelt and Lilien shared their stories of how they turned around agencies that were struggling and in crisis mode when they took over. Today both agencies are thriving.

Their combined messages covered topics such as the most effective board model, funding, development of assets, leveraging relationships with outside partners such as banks, staffing and volunteering opportunities. They also talked about applying an entrepreneurial approach to services, both turning them into profit-drivers and selling them to other nonprofits, which all three of their agencies do. 

"Program collaboration is critical," Lilien said.

Most importantly, the panelists told the audience, nonprofits must revisit their mission regularly and pursue that rather than funding.

"You have to live and breathe your values every day throughout your organization," Blanchard said. "Don't chase the buck, sell the services."

Added Oppelt, "If you follow the mission, the money will come."

CAU is a statewide nonprofit providing support programs and services to more than 6,000 adults with disabilities as well as youth served under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enable them to live independently in the community, in areas including vocational and life-skills training, education, advocacy and recreation and in-home services. The money raised at the outing helps fund CAU's programs.

About CAU

Community Access Unlimited (CAU), celebrating its 36th year of success in 2015, supports people with special needs in achieving real lives in the community.  CAU provides support and gives a voice to adults and youth who traditionally have little support and no voice in society.  CAU helps people with housing, life skills, employment, money management, socialization and civic activities.  CAU also supports opportunities for advocacy through training in assertiveness, decision-making and civil rights.  CAU serves more than 5,000 individuals each year.  For more information about CAU and its services, contact us by phone at 908.354.3040, online at or by mail at 80 West Grand Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Elizabeth Child Diagnosed with Flu has Died, School Superintendent Says

February 19, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ — The Elizabeth School District has reported that one student who suffered from the flu has died. 

“It is with great sadness that I must report to you that the Elizabeth School District has lost one of its own,”  Elizabeth Superintendent of Schools Olga Hugelmeyer wrote in a letter to parents over the weekend. The Superintendents letter ...

Mayor Brindle’s Update

February 15, 2018

The following are highlights from the update that Mayor Shelley Brindle gave at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

I first want to congratulate Nick Calello and David Went for their promotions to patrol officers in the Westfield Police Department. I’d also like to welcome and congratulate new Patrol Officer Fortunato Riga, who joins the police department this week upon his ...

Upcoming Events


Mon, February 19, 11:00 AM

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

President's Day Jump

Giving Back Health & Wellness


Thu, February 22, 8:30 AM

Hilton Garden Inn, Hamilton , Hamilton

Defending Your Independent Contractor & Wage & ...

Business & Finance Education Law & Justice


Fri, February 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Wardlaw+Hartridge Students Earn Scholarship Finalist Standing

February 17, 2018

The National Merit Scholarship Program has determined which of the 16,000 semifinalists named in September 2017 have met all requirements to advance to Finalist standing in the competition. All Finalists will be considered for National Merit Scholarships to be offered in 2018.

Wardlaw+Hartridge seniors Jennifer Guo and Suraj Chandran of Edison received their Finalist certificates from Susan ...

Westfield Police Blotter: DWI Arrest & More

February 15, 2018

February 7, 2018 10:25 p.m.

Officers Natale and Gill arrested Brian Mueller, age 55, of Westfield, NJ for driving while intoxicated pursuant to an accident investigation in the area of Mountain Avenue by Colonial Avenue. Subject was transported to headquarters, processed and released to a sober adult.


February 9, 2018 2:21 a.m.

Selena G. Palacios, age 22, of Westfield, NJ was ...

19 Homes Sold Last Week in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford & Mountainside

Nineteen homes sold last week, 2/11/2018-2/18/2018, in Westfield,  Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside and Cranford.*

TOWN                  ...

How Tax Reform Impacts You

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act brings a host of changes to tax returns for 2018. Highlighted are just a few of the new rules that may impact many of our clients. Please reach out to us to find out if and how your personal situation is impacted.

For Business:

·       A flat 21% corporate tax rate for C corporations replaces the 15% - 35% graduate rate ...

Sinai or Sanctuary?



And in the beginning, G‑d was homeless, and so G‑d asked His people to set Him up with some digs. Where does it say that? Well, nowhere, actually. But it does say that G‑d instructed Moses to tell the people, “They shall make for Me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”

Now the question is, was G‑d really homeless? ...

Westfield Public Schools Celebrate High School and Intermediate Music Honors

Westfield High School sophomore Brooke Walden auditioned and was selected to the New Jersey All-State Wind Ensemble and Orchestra for a second straight year.  Brooke was the top scoring piccolo player and ranked third on the flute.  She will perform in February with the Wind Ensemble and in November with the Orchestra.

Walden also was among 12 WHS musicians to perform in January with ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 13, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Love Craft Beer But Hate the Tour? State Assembly Moves to Make it Easier for You to Belly Up to the Bar

Good news is a brew for New Jersey craft beer advocates. In February 2018, the New Jersey Assembly’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee paved the way for the introduction of Bill A2196, which would remove a current licensing rule requiring breweries and distilleries to provide a tour of their facilities before serving alcoholic beverages to consumers. Currently, breweries holding a ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...


AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link:

Cat Found in Westfield

UPDATE: Reunited with family!

ORIGINAL POST: Cat found in Golf Edge area of Westfield. Call 908-913-0509.

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...


Kathleen Marie Christian (nee Helmstetter), age 73 of Surf City, NJ, passed away peacefully at home ...
Read more

East Brunswick Rabbi Charged with Engaging in Prostitution with a Child

February 19, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Aryeh Goodman, 35, the rabbi from the  East Brunswick Chabad Learning Center, has been charged with one count of engaging in prostitution with a child and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.  He was one of 30 men charged with having sex with the teenager over a four-week period.

According to the New Jersey Jewish News, Goodman was ...