March 29, 2016 — Local humanitarian Steven Epstein was named a “Champion of Good Works” by the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) at its recent Chairman’s Reception saluting the generosity of the business community.
More than 250 business executives attended the gala reception at the Stony Hill Inn in Hackensack. Martin Kafafian, chairman of the CIANJ board of directors, presented trophies to 33 businesses. “For most of these companies their donations, kindness and community outreach are part of their corporate culture — their mission,” said Kafafian, who is also a managing member of the Beattie Padovano law firm in Montvale. “The public at large is often unaware of the magnitude and scope of the good works. This reception is our way of shining a spotlight on “Companies that Care.”
After a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, businessman and philanthropist Steven Epstein answered the call to help by flying his personal helicopter filled with aid supplies from New Jersey to Haiti three times after the quake. But five years later, Haiti continued to have difficulty reaching people in need of medical assistance outside the hospital setting. After learning the country didn’t have medically-equipped vehicles, Mr. Epstein partnered with Englewood Hospital and Medical Center to help with emergency response in which the non-profit donated medical supplies and an ambulance — the first ALS USA standard ambulance in Haiti.
The CIANJ is a statewide business advocacy organization based in Paramus. It represents more than 900 member companies from every business sector. The association asked businesses to submit stories of their good works and more than 90 responses were received this year. These accounts and pictures are featured in a special “Companies that Care” section in the March issue of COMMERCE Magazine, the media arm of the association.
A panel of judges reviewed all the submissions and selected the champions. The judges included: Cathleen Davey, executive director of the Ramapo College Foundation, John Galandak, president of the CIANJ, Jackie Lue Raia, assistant director of the NJ Sharing Network, Cindy Myer, the owner of Ridgewood Moving Service who also serves as president of the board of the Center for Hope and Safety; Jacey Raimondo, executive director of the Habitat for Humanity of Bergen County, Judi Stewart, an ambassador with the CIANJ Human Resources Council, and Tom Toronto, president of Bergen County’s United Way.
Along with the champions, the CIANJ also honored PSEG for its “Extraordinary Good Works.” Ellen Lambert, the president of the PSEG Foundation and director of corporate responsibility and culture, accepted the award on behalf of the utility company. PSEG was selected for the top award in recognition of the many initiatives it developed, including school programs to build enthusiasm for STEM learning; its commitment to holding jobs open for Reserve and National Guard members when they are deployed, as well as the way volunteerism is encouraged throughout the company.