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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)January 28, 2022

Nominations for the award for “Unsung NJ Heroes” due February 11, 2022


MAHWAH, NJ – The Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award is accepting nominations for its award for “Unsung NJ Heroes” through February 11, 2022.   Established in 1997 by the late Russell Berrie, New Jersey based entrepreneur and CEO of RUSS, the Award is managed by Ramapo College.

“This is a time when our communities need everyday heroes – innovators, pioneers, problem solvers, and social entrepreneurs,” said Angelica Berrie, president of the Board of Trustees of the Russell Berrie Foundation.  “These are the people we want to honor.”

A total of 380 of New Jersey’s most dedicated citizens – representing all 21 counties – have been honored with this prestigious award and received $3.75 million in cash awards to recognize their achievements and personal sacrifices they’ve made to serve others.

Ten outstanding individuals will be honored at the 26th Anniversary Award Ceremony in May 2022. There will be one top award of $50,000; two $25,000 awards, and up to seven $7,500 awards.

“It can make a huge difference in the community when you recognize someone for the work they’ve done,” said Liz Corsini, Vice President of Bergen Family Center, who nominated Dionisio Cucuta, Jr. in 2021.  “Chef Dion,” a retired military veteran, launched multiple food distribution partnerships in Bergen County to help people struggling during COVID. Cucuta received the top $50,000 award as a result of the nomination.

Nominations can be submitted through February 11, 2022 online at

“The Russ Berrie Award means raising awareness,” said Fraidy Reiss, who was honored in 2019 for founding Unchained At Last to help other women in New Jersey – and across the U.S. – resist or escape forced marriages and rebuild their lives. “I am here and I’m going to continue fighting for women and girls and helping make people aware of this issue.”

More information available at:



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

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

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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