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Nominations Open for Unsung Heroes in New Jersey for the Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)January 8, 2004

Extraordinary Recognition Given to Everyday Heroes for Uncommon Acts for the Common Good
Deadline Is February 20, 2004

MAHWAH, N.J., January 8, 2004 -Nominations for the 2004 Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference will be accepted by The Russell Berrie Foundation until February 20. New Jerseyans who have made a significant difference in their communities are eligible for cash grants of up to $50,000.

The awards will be presented in May at Ramapo College of New Jersey in Mahwah. The program was established in 1996 by the late Russ Berrie, founder of Russ Berrie and Company, Inc., and Ramapo College of New Jersey. It recognizes unsung heroes” from throughout the state of New Jersey who have made a significant difference to the well-being of their community and for whom the award would make a significant difference in their own lives.

Up to 19 unsung heroes will be recognized. The Russell Berrie Foundation -named in 2001 as the Outstanding Foundation by the Association for Fundraising Professionals (New Jersey Chapter) – will provide monetary awards of up to $50,000, $35,000 and $25,000 as well as runner-up grants of $2,500 each.

Through this award, we honor the contributions of people who don’t seek recognition for what they do, yet generously give of themselves to make the world a better place,” said Angelica Berrie of Englewood, who succeeded her husband as chief executive officer of the Oakland-based gift company and leads the Foundation’s philanthropic efforts.

Nominees will be reviewed by an Advisory Board, which is co-chaired by Josh S. Weston, honorary chairman of Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP), and Dr. Rodney D. Smith, president of Ramapo College of New Jersey. The Board, comprising eminent New Jersey business leaders and professionals, will evaluate nominations submitted by community groups, houses of worship, educators, representatives of the media and others. Following this evaluation, based on criteria refined by the Board, the group will present the awards at the May ceremony.

Last year’s top honorees included three Camden County firefighters who perished in a house fire while attempting to rescue children trapped inside, a blind physical therapist in Ocean County who founded a volunteer organization to provide materials for the visually impaired and a Jersey City crossing guard who was struck by a speeding car seconds after pushing children out of its path to safety.

For more information on The Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference or to nominate someone, please contact:

The Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference
c/o Office of the President
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, New Jersey 07430
Phone: (201) 684-7910.

Nomination forms are also available on the Internet at or Once again, the deadline for entries is Friday, February 20.

Russ Berrie founded Russ Berrie and Company, Inc. in 1963, and over the last 40 years built the company into the world’s premier gift company. In addition to his business accomplishments, Berrie devoted boundless energy and resources to numerous charitable causes.

Sharing that passion to make the world a better place, Angelica Berrie serves as Worldwide Chair of Gilda’s Club, a free support community for men, women and children living with cancer and their families and friends. She heads the Russell Berrie Foundation in its work to foster continuity and enrichment of Jewish communal life, support issues of health, either research or treatment, with emphasis on diabetes and humanism in medicine, and recognize individuals who have made a significant difference in the lives of others.

Russ Berrie and Company, Inc. is headquartered in Oakland, New Jersey. The company designs, manufactures and distributes approximately 7,000 seasonal and everyday gift products to retailers worldwide. Its diverse range of products includes everything from teddy bears and other stuffed animals to baby gifts, picture frames, candles, figurines and home decor gifts.

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s public liberal arts college, serving 5,200 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 20 states and 60 nations. The College named its newly opened center for performing and visual arts, the site of the Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference ceremony, in honor of both Mr. Berrie and his wife Angelica.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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