GCU students, staff and faculty are committed to serving others. Volunteers recently returned from Winston-Salem, N.C., where they spent spring break working with Habitat for Humanity. Last year, the university community donated nearly 95,000 in volunteer hours to a variety of causes.
Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey Honors Volunteers, Salutes Corporate Philanthropy
Georgian Court University was named a “Champion of Good Works” by the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) at its recent Chairman’s Reception saluting the generosity of the business community.
More than 250 business executives attended the gala reception at the Stony Hill Inn in Hackensack. Martin Kafafian, chairman of the CIANJ board of directors, presented trophies to 33 businesses. “For most of these companies their donations, kindness and community outreach are part of their corporate culture—their mission,” said Mr. Kafafian, who is also a managing member of the Beattie Padovano law firm in Montvale. “The public at large is often unaware of the magnitude and scope of the good works. This reception is our way of shining a spotlight on ‘Companies that Care.’”
Georgian Court University considers service a core value that is integrated with academics, athletics, and student life, and invests thousands of hours each year to help nonprofits in the region. During 2014–2015, GCU reported nearly 95,000 volunteer hours donated by students, faculty, and staff to organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Arc of Ocean County, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Read Across America, Providence House, Red Cross, and Catholic Charities.
GCU Volunteers: Committed to the Community
GCU has also partnered with the Lakewood public schools to create Lakewood Together, which addresses the district’s lagging academic performance and college and career readiness reported by the state. Initiatives include increased internships and field placements for pre-service teachers, social work, and psychology interns; professional development training and support for administrators, novice teachers, and special educators; a Parent Academy to facilitate parental involvement; student leadership development; athletic mentoring; peer tutoring; information literacy education; and a summer camp for English language learners.
On campus, students and community volunteers “dig deep” in GCU’s Mercy Garden, a sustainable, social justice effort that provides fresh produce to families in need. The garden also produces service opportunities, including biweekly programs hosted for students from the Lehmann School and Schroth Academy, many of whom are wheelchair-bound or nonverbal.
The CIANJ is a statewide business advocacy organization based in Paramus. It represents more than 900 member companies from every business sector. The association asked businesses to submit stories of their good works and more than 90 responses were received this year. These accounts and pictures are featured in a special “Companies that Care” section in the March issue of COMMERCE Magazine, the media arm of the association.
A panel of judges reviewed all the submissions and selected the champions. The judges included: Cathleen Davey, executive director of the Ramapo College Foundation; John Galandak, president of the CIANJ; Jackie Lue Raia, assistant director of the New Jersey Sharing Network; Cindy Myer, the owner of Ridgewood Moving Service, who also serves as president of the board of the Center for Hope and Safety; Jacey Raimondo, executive director of the Habitat for Humanity of Bergen County; Judi Stewart, an ambassador with the CIANJ Human Resources Council; and Tom Toronto, president of Bergen County’s United Way.
Along with the champions, the CIANJ also honored PSEG for its “Extraordinary Good Works.” Ellen Lambert, the president of the PSEG Foundation and director of corporate responsibility and culture, accepted the award on behalf of the utility company. PSEG was selected for the top award in recognition of the many initiatives it developed, including school programs to build enthusiasm for STEM learning; its commitment to holding jobs open for Reserve and National Guard members when they are deployed, as well as the way volunteerism is encouraged throughout the company.