HACKENSACK, NJ — NAI Mertz was recently named a “Champion of Good Works’’ by the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) at its recent Chairman’s Reception saluting corporate philanthropy.
More than 200 business executives attended the gala reception at the Stony Hill Inn in Hackensack. Martin Kafafian, chairman of the CIANJ board of directors, presented the trophies to 31 businesses. “For most of these companies their donations, kindness and community outreach are part of their corporate culture -- their mission,” said Kafafian, “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.”
NAI Mertz was recognized for its extraordinary volunteer efforts with Build Jake’s Place, an organization in memory of “Baby Jake,” who left the world all too soon from a rare cardiac medical condition. The organization helps to design and build specially designed boundless playgrounds that allow children and adults of all abilities to play and interact together, regardless of physical limitations. NAI Mertz has participated in many volunteer efforts to raise money for the first Build Jake’s Place playground in Cherry Hill, NJ, as well as the second playground, which is set to be built in Delran, NJ. NAI Mertz participates in many fundraising events for the organization, including a 5K race last fall in which Jonathan Klear, vice president, finished tenth in the race. In addition, NAI Mertz’s Fred Meyer, vice president and director of corporate services, is a board member of Build Jake’s Playground.
The CIANJ is a statewide business advocacy organization based in Paramus. The associations asked businesses to tell stories of their good works and more than 85 responses were given.
A panel of judges reviewed all the submissions and selected 31 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, 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 champion, the CIANJ also honored a family-owned Midland Park men’s clothing store for its “Extraordinary Good Works.” Over the past five years, Sal Lauretta for Men organized a fashion show and raised more than $460,000 for Eva’s Village, a social service agency in Paterson.