Make a Difference!
No one should be hungry or cold or alone and every child should know that someone cares. Your support can make a difference in the lives of those who need it the most in our community.
John Nietzel, Senior Vice President, Investors Bank
For 77 years, the Greater Newark Holiday Fund has been making the holidays brighter for our less fortunate neighbors in north Jersey. Our 2015 campaign set the record of our best ever, thanks to generous donors across the state. As the story under “Latest News” notes, it raised more than $483,000.
Our thanks go out to all those donors who opened their hearts to the plight of the neediest members of our community. We are also grateful to our dedicated volunteers and our partner, The Star-Ledger.
Your donations make a real difference in fighting poverty and alleviating suffering. GNHF distributes this money to nearly a dozen outstanding service agencies. Our partner agencies provide:
• Food for the Hungry
• Shelter for the Homeless
• Care for Seniors
• Clothes and Toys for Kids
• Crucial services to individuals and families in crisis
Ending on high note, Greater Newark Holiday Fund donations set a new record
By Janelle Griffith/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
February 15, 2015
Some old techniques and new strategies helped The Greater Newark Holiday Fund exceed prior fundraising efforts and bring in nearly a half-million dollars during its 2014 campaign.
"Did we do better this year than last? Yes! About $100,000 better," says John Nietzel of the record-breaking sum.
The unprecedented success, which translated into more than $483,000, is due in part to an employer-matching program Nietzel implemented last year during his tenure helming the fund. Nietzel introduced the program at Investors Bank, where he is a senior vice president.
This year's chairman, Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of Newark-based Public Service Electric and Gas Co., followed suit but also used his many ties to the Newark community to rally support.
"Ralph and his team were very excited and committed to do all that was possible to try to break a record in donations.," Nietzel says. "Ralph engaged his PSE&G employees -- as did Investors Bank's CEO, Kevin Cummings -- encouraging staff to get involved with the Holiday Fund."
Founded in the Depression era by a group of businessmen, the Greater Newark Holiday Fund collects donations throughout the year, especially during the holidays, and distributes the money to social service agencies in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic and Union counties. The agencies use the money to serve homeless New Jerseyans, abused and neglected children, people living below the poverty line and the elderly. The charity relies on the public's generosity to meet its mission.
"The money raised is doing such great things to better the lives of our fellow citizens -- from providing the basic necessities of life, like food, shelter, clothing and safety -- to mental health counseling, early childhood education and job training," LaRossa says.
Nietzel's and LaRossa's efforts to promote the fund yielded results.
"We did a great job this year in growing awareness of the Holiday Fund and we were rewarded with a nice spike in first-time donations," Nietzel says. "Two strategies were employee engagement and holding a special event."
PSE&G and Investors Bank funded large advertising campaigns in The Star-Ledger.
"The days the paper ran one of our company-branded, four-page Holiday Fund inserts, we saw huge spikes in donations," Nietzel says.
The fund also benefited from the generosity of the Prudential Center. In November, the Newark arena spotlighted the mission of the holiday fund with a 30-second public service announcement. The arena also hosted a 50 /50 raffle benefiting the fund.
"It was unbelievable branding for us," Nietzel says.
LaRossa is happy to have had a hand in helping people better their lives.
"The kindness of our donors is giving people the hand up they need to build a better life. It was a pleasure and an honor to be a part of this year's campaign, and I look forward to continuing to support this great organization in the future," LaRossa says.
Donations can be made by calling (866) 292-HOPE (4673) or going online to holidayfund.org.Janelle Griffith may be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @janellefiona. Find NJ.com/Entertainment on Facebook.