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Nominations Sought For Russ Berrie Award For Making A Difference

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)January 9, 2002

Everyday Heroes Considered for Program that Gives
Extraordinary Recognition for Uncommon Acts for the Common Good

Deadline Is February 14

MAHWAH, N.J., January 9, 2002 – The Russ Berrie Award for Making A Difference -which recognizes everyday heroes with cash grants of up to $50,000 – is seeking nominations for the sixth annual awards. Deadline for nominations is Thursday, February 14.

The awards will be presented in May at Ramapo College of New Jersey in Mahwah. The program was established by Russ Berrie – founder, chairman and CEO of Russ Berrie and Company, Inc. – and Ramapo College of New Jersey to recognize “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.

Nominees Sought for Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference/add one

Up to 20 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.

“It doesn’t matter how old or how young you are. Anyone can make a difference,” Berrie said, indicating that last year’s honorees ranged in age from a 97-year-old man to a 14-year-old girl. “This year, in particular, we gained a new appreciation for the selfless people who improve the lives of others or help someone in a time of need. That is who this award is designed for.

“We want to look beyond the headliners and call attention to the people who are doing good things in New Jersey,” added Englewood resident Berrie, who has been distinguished as one of Fortune magazine’s 40 most generous individuals. “It’s a way to recognize people who simply give of themselves to do their small part to make the world a better place.”

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 include Ringwood resident Sandra Ramos, who was recognized for her work as the founder and director of the first shelter for battered women in America; Dana Leigh Christmas of Paterson, who helped rescue students from a residence hall fire at Seton Hall University in January 2000; and Joseph C. Martoccia of Pompton Lakes – a 97-year-old man who has served the Pompton Lakes First Aid Squad for more than six decades.

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

Dr. Rodney D. Smith, President
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, New Jersey 07430
Phone: (201) 684-7910.

Nominees Sought for Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference/add two

Nomination forms are also available on the Internet at or Once again, the deadline for entries is Thursday, February 14.

Russ Berrie founded Russ Berrie and Company, Inc. in 1963, and over the last 39 years has built the company into the world’s premier gift company. In addition to his business accomplishments, Berrie devotes boundless energy and resources to numerous charitable causes.

Russ Berrie and Company, Inc. is headquartered in Oakland, New Jersey. The company designs, manufactures and distributes approximately 6,000 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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