Paterson Habitat for Humanity honored Atlantic Stewardship Bank and its longtime CEO Paul Van Ostenbridge with the rarely given Millard Fuller Award, recognizing the hands-on support Van Ostenbridge and the bank have provided to Paterson Habitat since both organizations were start-ups in the early 1980’s.
Named after Habitat for Humanity International founder Millard Fuller, this award has only been presented three times since Paterson Habitat was founded in 1984. Atlantic Stewardship Bank opened its doors the next year with Van Ostenbridge as its President and very first employee. Van Ostenbridge accepted the award at Paterson Habitat’s annual dinner Thursday night (March 22) at The Brownstone in Paterson.
From the beginning, Atlantic Stewardship has been unique among American banks for its practice of tithing 10 percent of its taxable income each year to non-profit charitable, educational and/or religious organizations. This tithing program has provided over $10 million in donations.
“Paterson Habitat and Atlantic Stewardship Bank essentially grew up together,” said Barbara Dunn, Executive Director of Paterson Habitat. “We were just starting our first two houses in Paterson when this brand new bank reached out to us in 1985, and they have been helping us ever since.”
In addition to sharing tithing funds with Paterson Habitat, Atlantic Stewardship voluntarily underwrites all mortgages financed by Paterson Habitat for the homes they build. Bank employees have also shared management skills with Paterson Habitat and regularly joined Habitat’s volunteer construction crews.
Van Ostenbridge himself is a regular volunteer at Paterson Habitat’s construction sites, in addition to being a longtime member and past Chairman of the organization’s Advisory Board.
Van Ostenbridge and his wife Karen live in Franklin Lakes. They have two grown daughters, Cindy and Carol, and five grandchildren.