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“There is no greater importance in life than knowing you’ve helped a fellow human being.”
-Russ Berrie 1933-2002

The Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award is administered by Ramapo College of New Jersey

It’s Time to Nominate New Jersey’s “Unsung Heroes” for 2019


The Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award honors individuals who perform extraordinary community service or unusual acts of heroism in our state, and those who have made a significant difference to the well-being of society.

Each year, honorees are nominated from all over the state of New Jersey by people who know their work first-hand. An Advisory Board of distinguished New Jersey business and nonprofit leaders evaluates the nominations and recommends individuals for the award. More than $150,000 in cash awards will be presented at a ceremony at Ramapo College of New Jersey on May 3, 2019.

In 2019, up to 10 awards will be given:

  • A top award of $50,000
  • Two awards of $25,000
  • Seven awards of $7,500

The committee considers the following criteria:

  • What is the scale of the accomplishment? Is it unique?
  • Does the work inspire others?
  • Is the person paid or a volunteer? If paid, is the accomplishment truly above and beyond?
  • How enduring is the heroism or sacrifice?
  • If a single act, was there a high degree of risk and danger?
  • How many people were impacted or influenced?
  • Would the award make a significant difference in their lives?
  • Was the work carried out in New Jersey?

Complete the online nomination form to nominate your Unsung Hero.

For additional information on the Russ Berrie Making A Difference Awards you can email or call 201-684-7458.