BELLEVILLE, NJ (March 22, 2018) – The Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) and COMMERCE Magazine recently hosted their Fifth Annual Chairman’s Reception – paying tribute to the kindness and generosity of the business community.
Thirty-nine companies, including leading manufacturers, retailers, hospitals, banks and colleges and universities, were honored as “Champions of Good Works” at the gala reception, attended by more than 200 business executives.
“For most of the companies that we are honoring tonight, their generosity and kindness is part of their culture,” said Anthony Russo, President of CIANJ. “The public is often unaware of the magnitude and scope of these good works. This reception is our way of shining a spotlight on “Companies that Care,” Russo added.
CIANJ is a statewide business advocacy organization, representing more than 900 corporate members from every industry sector. The organization asked the business community to share stories of its philanthropy. Their stories became a special section of the March issue of COMMERCE Magazine that was distributed at the reception, which was held at the elegant Nanina’s In the Park in Belleville.
This year’s champions were decided by a blue-ribbon panel of judges, which also named Wakefern Food Corporation as the 2018 Extraordinary Good Works recipient.
“It is truly staggering when you look at the amount of money and food that has gone to those in need -- Wakefern has done a tremendous job of addressing hunger around the state,” said Andrew Silverstein, chairman of the CIANJ board of directors and a member of the accounting firm, Dorfman Abrams, Music.
Wakefern, through the ShopRite Partners in Caring program, donates $3 million annually to Feeding America foodbanks in ShopRite’s trading area. ShopRite associates volunteer and donate food to pantries and soup kitchens and engage customers in a “Round Up Your Change” register donation program. Since 1999, Wakefern’s donations total $45 million, with more than a million pounds of turkeys and many millions of pounds of food to local Feeding America food banks.
Steven Hildner, Community Relations Advocate and Diane McCurdy, Events Planner for Wakefern Food Corporation, both accepted the top honor on behalf of all the employees who make the ShopRite Partners in Caring program possible.
A highlight of the evening was the inspirational keynote address given by the new president and CEO of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Carlos Rodriguez.
CIANJ is a unique network of businesses committed to improving and advancing the cause of free enterprise in the Garden State. Our focus sets us apart from other organizations and provides the basis upon which we work to make our state a better place to live, work and conduct business.