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About the Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award

Established in 1997 by the late Russell Berrie, and managed and hosted by Ramapo College of New Jersey, the Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award honors Garden State residents whose outstanding community service and heroic acts have made a substantial impact on the lives of others.

Since 1997, a total of 380 of New Jersey’s most dedicated citizens have been honored with this prestigious award. Honorees from each of New Jersey’s 21 counties have been recognized.

These Honorees have received more than $3.75 million in cash awards in recognition of the personal sacrifices and commitment they’ve made to serve others.

The Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award is a signature program of the Russell Berrie Foundation, which carries out the legacy of Russ Berrie by continuing to recognize New Jersey’s Unsung Heroes each year.

Links to Recent Making a Difference Honorees and Their Organizations

2021 Honorees 

* Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Award Ceremony was cancelled.  The 2021 Honorees represent people nominated in 2020 and/or 2021.

2019 Honorees

2018 Honorees

2017 Honorees

 2016 Honorees

2015 Honorees

2014 Honorees

2013 Honorees

2012 Honorees

2011 Honorees

2010 Honorees

2009 Honorees

2008 Honorees

2007 Honorees