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NJ Foundation Seeks Unsung Heroes

Nominations for the Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference due by Feb. 15.

Do you know of an unsung hero in Lacey or another New Jersey town?

The Russell Berrie Foundation, which works to foster continuity and enrichment of Jewish communal life in hopes of improving public health and strengthening local communities, is asking for nominees for the 2013 Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference.

The group says New Jerseyans who have made a significant difference in their communities through a heroic effort or a lifetime of service are eligible for cash awards of up to $50,000. Members of the community are invited to nominate state residents whose deeds make them worthy of recognition.

Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 15.  

Established in 1996 by the late Russell Berrie, founder of Russ Berrie and Company, Inc. and the Russell Berrie Foundation, and Ramapo College of New Jersey, the awards honor unsung heroes from throughout the state. Up to 11 individuals will be recognized for making a significant difference to the well-being of their community during the annual spring award ceremony at Ramapo College in Mahwah. 

The foundation will provide awards of up to $50,000, $35,000 and $25,000, as well as up to eight runner-up grants of $5,000 each. 

“Through this award, we honor the contributions of people who don’t seek recognition for what they do, yet generously give of themselves to make the world a better place,” said foundation President Angelica Berrie.

Nominees will be reviewed by an advisory board, which is co-chaired by Josh S. Weston, honorary chair of Automatic Data Processing, Inc., and Dr. Peter P. Mercer, president of Ramapo College of New Jersey. The board, comprised of New Jersey business leaders and professionals, will evaluate nominations submitted by community groups, houses of worship, educators, representatives of the media and others. Following this evaluation, based on criteria refined by the board, the group will present the awards at a ceremony on May 2.

Last year, the top honorees included a comic who prevented a man from committing suicide and who donates a portion of his performance fees to the man’s care, a 15-year-old who co-founded an organization that provides social and recreational programs to special needs children and a woman who established an organization that provides literacy classes, immigration services and cultural events to the Salvadorian community. 

For more information on The Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference or to nominate someone, please contact:

The Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference
c/o Office of the President
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
Phone:  201-684-7179

Nomination forms are also available at www.russellberriefoundation.org or http://www.ramapo.edu/news/events/berrieawards/.

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