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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

Deadline for Nominations is Monday, February 18, 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, unsung heroes 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?
  • Is the individual a resident of New Jersey?

Complete the online nomination form to nominate your Unsung Hero.  Nominations must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Monday, February 18, 2019.

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