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Fraidy Reiss
Union County
Unchained at Last
Gilman Choudhury
Robotics Mentor- JFK High School
Dr. Karen Monroy
Ability2Work & Grateful Bites
Melina Garcia
Union City
Union City Music Project
Zamir Hassan
Muslims Against Hunger
2014 honoree
Melissa Gertz
Community Justice Center
2018 honoree
Eric Fuchs-Stengel
Mahwah, MEVO/Fresh Roots Farm
2012 Honoree
with Isabel Arrieche, farm manager
Lorna Henkel
First Friends of NJ & NY
2017 honoree
Jennifer Papa
City Green
2013 honoree
Benigno “Pino” Rodriguez
Block Supporters Initiative
2018 honoree
A’Dorian Murray-Thomas
SHE Wins!
2018 honoree
Russ Berrie Holing a Teddy Bear

Mr. Russ Berrie

“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

Special Announcement about the 2020 Russ Berrie Making a Difference Awards

Thank you to everyone who took time to submit nominations for the 2020 Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award.

This year, we received 273 nominations of “Unsung New Jersey Heroes” whose dedication and commitment to others is an inspiration to all, especially in these challenging days.  

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the selection of Honorees and the annual Award Ceremony will not be held in 2020.  The Russell Berrie Foundation, headquartered in the epicenter of this unprecedented pandemic, will be focusing their efforts and resources responding to COVID-19 critical needs in the community.

Individuals nominated in 2020 will be considered again next year, which will mark the 25th Anniversary of the Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award. We look forward to a very special year celebrating the Unsung New Jersey Heroes who make a difference in our communities every day.

Our very best wishes to all as we look forward to better days ahead.

Deadline for 2020 Nominations was 11:59 pm on Friday, February 21, 2020.

Questions?  Reach us by email at


Online Nomination Form