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CIANJ and COMMERCE Magazine Team Up to Recognize ..

The Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) and COMMERCE Magazine recently hosted the Companies That Care 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 200 business executives.

“For most of the companies that we are honoring tonight, their generosity and kindness is part of their culture,” said Anthony Russo, President of CIANJ. “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,” Russo added.

CIANJ is a statewide business advocacy organization, representing more than 900 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 Wakefern Food Corporation as the 2018 Extraordinary Good Works recipient.

“It is truly staggering when you look at the amount of money and food that has gone to those in need — Wakefern has done a tremendous job of addressing hunger around the state,” said Andrew Silverstein, chairman of the CIANJ board of directors and a member of the accounting firm, Dorfman Abrams, Music.

 Wakefern, through the ShopRite Partners in Caring program, donates $3 million annually to Feeding America foodbanks in ShopRite’s trading area. ShopRite associates volunteer and donate food to pantries and soup kitchens and engage customers in a “Round Up Your Change” register donation program. Since 1999, Wakefern’s donations total $45 million, with more than a million pounds of turkeys and many millions of pounds of food to local Feeding America food banks.

Steven Hildner, Community Relations Advocate and Diane McCurdy, Events Planner for Wakefern Food Corporation, both accepted the top honor on behalf of all the employees who make the ShopRite Partners in Caring program possible.

A highlight of the evening was the inspirational keynote address given by the new president and CEO of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Carlos Rodriguez.

The companies honored as Champions of Good Works included:

Supporting New Jersey Charities:

Atlantic Stewardship Bank donated more than $508,000 to more than 250 recipients in 2017, including CUMAC, which feeds the hungry; Habitat for Humanity; Oasis, a haven for women and children; and the Christian HealthCare Center, which offers senior living, short-term rehabilitation, and mental health services. The bank donates 10 percent of its annual taxable income (more than $9.3 million to date) as a tithe to area charities.

The Curchin Group annually hosts The Curchin Open Miniature Golf Tournament, which has raised and donated more than $177,000 to local charities. Clients, sponsors, and friends play a round of putt-putt golf on a nine-hole course that runs through the firm’s Red Bank office. The 2017 event raised $22,000 for The Arc of Monmouth and Breast Intentions.

Holman Frenia Allison, P.C. teams assist with preparing and giving food for the homeless. The firm hosts “From the heart” activities, including annual holiday secret Santa for Big Brothers Big Sisters and gift-giving drives. Last February, the staff gave 24 units of blood in their first annual Blood Drive. Last September, they collected and donated more than $3,000 for Harvey and Irma Hurricane Relief.

LAN Associates offers pro-bono services to Habitat for Humanity. Staff helped design and construct a mixed-use building for the Builder’s Blitz. LAN volunteers for, and sponsors, the annual Philadelphia Spring Clean Up and Sussex County Trail Clean Up to further develop various parks and recreation sites by sending a volunteer team to clean up local parks and facilities.

UPS Last year, 95 UPSers took to the runway at Teterboro Airport for the 20th Anniversary 5K raising $30,000 to benefit Bergen County United Way’s Compassion Fund. UPS has supported Bergen County’s United Way for 55 years. For the last 20, UPS has helped raise more than $500,000 for the United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline, the Compassion Fund and Very Special Homes.

WithumSmith+Brown, PC hosts Bike Night events to benefit the GI Go Fund and Christine’s Hope for Kids. 2017 marks the sixth year the firm has supported Bike Nights, where guests pay for tickets to watch motorcycle events and contests at Chickie & Pete’s in Bordentown. The restaurant donates 10 percent of the total food bill for each customer, which has raised more than $10,000 to benefit these charities.

Community Outreach:

Holy Name Medical Center’s Asian Health Services provides healthcare to 250,000 Asians living in the NJ/NY area—mostly first-generation immigrants. More than 30 HNMC clinical staff and 20 AHS physicians volunteer to provide free care. The annual Walk for Mom Breast Cancer Awareness Walkathon has raised more than $1 million to fund 1,030 mammograms over 10 years—and 14 cases of breast cancer were identified and treated.

LG Electronics USA Inc.’s new “Life’s Good: Experience Happiness” initiative is dedicated to advancing the Science of Happiness and bringing research-based Sustainable Happiness Skills to 5.5 million youth across the U.S. by 2021. LG partnered with Inner Explorer, which teaches Sustainable Happiness Skills through Mindfulness and has demonstrated a 15 percent increase in G.P.A. and a 60 percent reduction in behavioral issues.

Mazars USA LLP participated in an annual food drive for the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, sent volunteers to collect frozen turkeys during the holidays and sent a team of volunteers during the firm’s Days of Service to the FoodBank to sort food. Mazars employees regularly volunteer at the Community FoodBank, and the firm plans to donate $100,000 to organizations dedicated to fighting hunger in each of its geographic locations in the United States.

McCarter & English partnered with Kids In Need of Defense, and its attorneys advocated in asylum cases and special immigrant juvenile cases, where minors living here without guardians take the first steps toward stable lives in the United States instead of facing danger in their homelands. Working with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark, the firm hosted naturalization clinics and handled several DACA dreamers’ petitions.

Sax LLP supports St. Joseph’s Regional Children’s Hospital’s Child Life Department, which provides quality-of-life programs to pediatric patients. The 2017 4 Miler at Garret Mountain presented by Sax raised $67,000 for the department. Since 2012, Sax LLP has raised over $365,000 for the Children’s Hospital and has become the Child Life Department’s largest financial contributor.

Helping Children:

Marsh & McLennan Agency Northeast region participated in donation-based dress-down days with proceeds going toward the purchase of 1,500 solar lanterns for children in Haiti faced with stopping their studies once darkness set in. The children used kerosene lamps for light when doing their homework, requiring expensive oil and emitting toxic fumes. Using solar lanterns, the students gained two to three additional hours of study time.

Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP sponsored the Paterson Music Project’s first annual 5K walk at Garret Mountain. PMP is an El Sistema inspired program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts that provides low-tuition music education to more than 200 Paterson students in grades 1-8 after school. Attorneys and staff from Riker Danzig, including those involved in its School Law Practice, participated in the event.

Selective Insurance has partnered with Sussex County-based non-profit Project Self-Sufficiency for the past 30 years to help make a difference in the lives of local low-income individuals and families. The Selective Insurance Group Foundation annually donates a minimum of $50,000 to the cause, and Selective hosts a Build-A-Bike event to benefit Project Self-Sufficiency.

Trinitas Regional Medical Center gives free books to every child that visits its Pediatric Clinic to help reduce the anxiety that young children feel when undergoing a minor medical procedure or checkup. It recently reached a milestone of 100,000 books since the inception of the program, Reach Out and Read, 15 years ago.

Walters Group held a fundraiser at the Laurel Oaks Apartments that raised $4,000 for 14-year-old resident Nikolas Falco, diagnosed with cancer. The three-hour benefit drew in more than 100 participants. Entertainment at the fundraiser included a Chinese auction, 50/50 raffle, Shawn Clancy, a magician from Simply Silly Magic, and NASCAR driver Tyler Truex.

Volunteerism:

Berkeley College. In 2017, Berkeley College’s Community Service Day became a weeklong initiative. During Community Service Week—just one part of the Berkeley Cares initiative, which supports charities all year long— more than 440 Berkeley faculty, staff, alumni, Board of Trustees members and students provided 2,100 volunteer hours to 43 community organizations in New Jersey and New York.

Connell Foley LLP volunteers have worked with Rebuilding Together Jersey City—the local chapter of a national non-profit that rehabilitates the homes of low-income, elderly or disabled persons—and helped rehabilitate either a low-income home or a community facility. For the past 16 years, firm volunteers have put in thousands of hours working on these projects.

Herbert Law Group LLC’s John Herbert, a recipient of the Bergen County NAACP’s Thurgood Marshall Award, supports the Rutgers Future Scholars Program, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, North East New Jersey Legal Services, Bergen County Black Business Network, Bergen County Black Lawyers Alliance, NAACP of Bergen County and the African American Chamber of Commerce of NJ.

Lakeland Bank has supported Pass It Along (PIA) for nearly a decade, a nonprofit organization that helps teenagers with self-worth, through self-discovery, volunteerism and leadership programs. In addition to the bank’s $10,000 scholarship program, members of the Senior Executive Team spent an afternoon working at a home site with a significant amount of maintenance and landscaping issues. After a few hours and with assistance from Lakeland’s landscape vendor, the property was transformed for a family in need of the assistance.

New Jersey Institute of Technology created an alternative spring break program in 2013 to help devastated New Jersey communities clean up, rebuild and preserve their heritage following Hurricane Sandy. NJIT assembled a crew that spring of nearly 570 student volunteers who assessed damages, swept beaches and parks and demolished and reconstructed wrecked homes and buildings. Since then, nearly 1,000 students, staff and alumni have taken part in the ongoing recovery.

NPZ Law Group, P.C. is working closely with a married couple, both Coptic Christians, who fled Egypt to escape religious persecution. The firm successfully filed and received an approval for the I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative and is assisting in a Removal Proceeding. If the client’s husband is deported to Egypt, his life will be in danger, and he will be separated from and unable to support his U.S. citizen wife and child in America.

Ramapo College of New Jersey student-athletes collected more than 10,800 canned food items that were distributed to food pantries in 2016-17; held “Tacos for Texas and Florida” with other campus groups and collected $6,000 for hurricane victims; held an on-campus event that raised $3,230 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; and donated and distributed Thanksgiving baskets to the Mahwah Center for Food Action.

RWJBarnabas Health physicians completed two relief trips to Puerto Rico in a recovery mission to provide medical care and supplies to victims of the hurricane-ravaged island, as well as to ease the burden on overworked responders providing care to the population. RWJBH physicians set up mobile clinics to help with patient demand at Centro Medico Hospital in San Juan and Hermanos Melendez Hospital in Bayamon. They treated more than 360 patients over three days.

Stockton University’s Martin Luther King Day of Service reaches out to local and global communities—from clearing brush on a local horse-rescue farm, to feeding the hungry in Atlantic City’s Rescue Mission, loading thousands of books to be shipped to schools in Zimbabwe, and wrapping toys for children in war-torn Syria. These efforts involve some 900 students doing projects with 36 community partners.

SUEZ employees volunteer for “days of caring” at Oceans Harbor House in Toms River, an emergency shelter for youth ages 10 to 21. Volunteers have assembled basketball backboards, power washed the home’s siding, installed a paver patio, planted flowers, trimmed shrubs and painted common rooms and presented the residents and leadership with a new American flag that was expressly flown over the U.S. Capitol in recognition of Oceans Harbor House.

Valley National Bank raised nearly $100,000 for breast cancer research during its ninth annual breast cancer walk, titled “Valley Goes Pink!” More than 1,000 Valley associates, family members, friends and neighbors gathered at 1460 Valley Road in Wayne for this year’s event. All proceeds raised are used for research and conferences at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and other national and international research facilities.

Environmental Conservation:

Atlantic Health System’s Overlook Medical Center’s tri-generation power plant generates electricity by harnessing waste heat, reducing replaced-energy costs by 60 percent. The hospital has 10 on-campus beehives producing locally sourced honey, supports a community garden and owns chickens that provide locally sourced food.

Hackensack Meridian Health formed an innovate partnership with the Montclair State PSE&G Sustainability Institute, collaborating to offer the only hospital-based Green Team of college students in New Jersey. Embedded over the summer at The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at Hackensack University Medical Center, students helped to drive engagement in environmental initiatives.

JCP&L’s Harvest for Hunger campaigns have raised more than $104,000 for local food banks and pantries; along with the FirstEnergy Foundation, employees have contributed more than $640,000 to support local United Way campaigns; and with the New Jersey Audubon Society and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, JCP&L helped create new habitats for bees, butterflies and birds.

Combating Hunger:

Columbia Bank volunteers frequently assist food banks, while also regularly serving hot meals to the homeless, most recently at Eva’s Village in Paterson and Cathedral Kitchen in Camden. The bank’s Fourteenth Annual Food Drive provided more than 700 shopping bags of food and $2,000 in supermarket gift cards. Food bank “community” grants also funded the purchase of a storage freezer, a refrigerated delivery vehicle, an emergency generator and a warehouse fire suppression system.

Eastwick College holds philanthropic efforts to feed the hungry, which have resulted in thousands of meals served; hundreds of full grocery bags donated; and $100,000 given to the Center for Food Action, Paterson’s Community Outreach Services, Jewish Family Services, Meals on Wheels of Rockland, Pascack Valley Meals on Wheels and Table to Table.

Levine, Jacobs & Company, LLC supports two local food pantries—Christine’s Kitchen at Holy Trinity Church in West Orange and the Bobrow Kosher Food Pantry at Oheb Shalom Congregation in South Orange. The firm sent a letter to its clients asking for one nonperishable food item to be brought to the office when they have their tax returns prepared, and the response was overwhelming.

NJMEP partnered with CIANJ and the Community Food Bank of New Jersey where virtual donations made through NJMEP provided close to 20,000 meals in 2017. Its summer golf outing funds scholarships for young adults and military veterans/families, and it works with Employment Horizons and Easter seals to help place people with disabilities in manufacturing jobs.

Caring for Veterans:

Charity Realty President James F. Costanzo’s father was wounded and disabled in 1944 while serving aboard the USS Terror fighting in the South Pacific. In his honor, the firm supports Homes For Our Troops, which builds and donates specially adapted, mortgage-free, custom homes to severely injured post–9/11 veterans. A beefsteak fundraiser was held for the veterans group on Nov. 3, 2017.

Delta Dental of New Jersey, Inc. sponsored New Jersey’s first-ever Mission of Mercy-Smiles for Our Heroes event, which provided free dental care to more than 200 veterans from North and Central Jersey. Delta Dental helped bring together 140 volunteer dental professionals and support staff to provide services ranging from cleanings and X-rays to root canals, extractions and dentures.

Jefferson Health in New Jersey collaborates with the New Jersey Hospital Association on a program to assist veterans in need of mental health services, funded by a $1.4 million New Jersey Department of Health grant. Another joint effort works to reduce hospital readmissions among veterans. The healthcare system also hosts an annual awards ceremony for Camden County veterans.

Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A. launched a charitable initiative to support active soldiers and veterans—hosting fundraisers and collection drives throughout the year to benefit charities, including Pets for Patriots, Your Grateful Nation, United War Veterans Council, Operation Gratitude, and Wounded Warrior Project, all of which support active soldiers, veterans, and/or their families. Nine veterans are employed at the firm.

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    The mission of Commerce and Industry Association is to be the leader in free enterprise advocacy for the purpose of fostering, through education, legislative vigilance and membership interaction, an economic climate that enhances business potential and makes New Jersey a better state in which to live, work and conduct business.

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