Skip to News / Media site navigationSkip to main content


(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)April 23, 2001

May 23 Ceremony will Honor Up to 20 of New Jersey’s Unsung Heroes With Awards of Up to $50,000

MAHWAH, N.J., April 23, 2001-Nora McAniff, president of PEOPLE magazine, will help honor many of New Jersey’s unsung heroes by delivering the keynote address at the fifth annual Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference ceremony, Wednesday, May 23 at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

A woman who leads a magazine known for spotlighting ordinary people doing extraordinary things, McAniff brings extra spark to this year’s awards ceremony-which will include a tribute to previous Making a Difference winners in honor of the Award’s fifth anniversary. This year, nearly 300 of New Jersey’s unsung heroes-an all-time high-have been nominated for the prestigious Award, which was established in 1997 by philanthropist Russ Berrie and Ramapo College of New Jersey.

The Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference recognizes “unsung heroes” throughout the state of New Jersey who have made a significant difference to the well-being of their communities. As many as 20 unsung heroes will be chosen by the selection committee, which will bestow monetary awards of up to $50,000, $35,000 and $25,000 as well as runner-up prizes of $2,500 each.

“The record number of nominations we received this year is proof that the Making a Difference Award is well-known within our state,” said Russ Berrie, founder, chairman and CEO of world-renowned giftmaker Russ Berrie and Company, Inc. (RUSS) based in Oakland, N.J. “Nora’s participation in this year’s ceremony indicates how well known the program is becoming on a national level. By their unselfish actions, New Jersey’s heroes are very deserving of the national spotlight.”

McAniff was appointed president of PEOPLE magazine in October 1998, becoming the youngest person ever to hold this position at the most popular magazine in the world. In March 2001, her duties were expanded to include management oversight of TEEN PEOPLE and PEOPLE en ESPAÑOL – two successful PEOPLE spin-offs she helped launch in January 1998. Under her leadership, PEOPLE has earned Advertising Age’s “Magazine of the Year” honors and topped Adweek’s list of “The Ten Hottest Magazines.”

Like the individuals being honored with the Russ Berrie prize, McAniff also takes the time to give back as she serves on the board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. She has been a guiding force behind many of PEOPLE’s philanthropic initiatives, including the recently-launched Digital Heroes Campaign, which matches notable individuals from diverse professions with under-served young people participating in PowerUP programs across the country. Since the program’s inception last September, more than 100 celebrities and prominent leaders have begun online mentoring relationships with disadvantaged teens.

PEOPLE, launched in March 1974, is the world’s most popular magazine. Still faithful to its original editorial mission – to cover extraordinary people doing ordinary things and ordinary people doing extraordinary things – the publication is now read by more than 34 million readers each week, or one in eight Americans.

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 liberal arts college, serving nearly 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 20 states and 50 nations. The College last year 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.


Press Release Archives

| 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 |