nj heroes breast intentionsPHOTO: First Lady Mary Pat Christie with New Jersey Heroes Mike Ruane and Erika Rech of Breast Intentions.

Trenton, NJ – First Lady Mary Pat Christie recently announced over $120,000 in New Jersey Heroes grants to eighteen organizations previously selected as New Jersey Heroes. The grants, which must be used within twelve months from the date of the award, will help the recipients to further enhance the mission of their respective organizations through new programs and services.

nj heroes bridge booksPHOTO: First Lady Mary Pat Christie with New Jersey Hero Abby Daly of Bridge of Books.

“I am proud our New Jersey Heroes Foundation was able to expand its grant program for 2015 to help these remarkable organizations continue to do good work in their respective communities throughout the Garden State,” said Mrs. Christie. “Our New Jersey Heroes recipients represent such a broad coalition of causes that touch many people in so many ways. With these grants, we’re providing these groups with an opportunity to make an even greater difference by giving them the ability to improve and expand their programs to further reach community members in need.”

Since 2013, the New Jersey Heroes Grant program has increased from $100,000 to $120,000 and from twelve recipients to eighteen. Overall, approximately $320,000 in grants has been awarded to twenty-four organizations over the past three years.

The 2015 Monmouth County NJ Hero Grantees are:

  • Breast Intentions, Middletown, Monmouth County (Erika Rech and Mike Ruane) ─ $2,769: Breast Intentions provides crisis intervention for women facing financial hardship during their battle against breast cancer. New Jersey Heroes is awarding $ 2,769 to help continue the organization’s program, called “Pink Pact”, which focuses on awareness by educating young women in college and high school about breast health, the need for regular breast examinations, and other preventative measures.  Breast Intentions added three more high schools to its Pink Pact program in the fall of 2014 and hopes to add five more in the fall of 2015. 
  • Bridge of Books Foundation, Rumson, Monmouth County(Abby Daly) ─ $3,500: The Bridge of Books Foundation aims to provide an ongoing source of gently used and new books to underserved and at-risk children throughout New Jersey in order to support literacy skills and encourage a love of reading. New Jersey Heroes is awarding $3,500 to Bridge of Books for the purchase of books for juvenile detention centers, as well as pre-school bilingual books which are hard to come by through book donations alone.
  • Operation Beachhead, Manasquan, Monmouth County (Michael Ricci) ─ $5,900: Operation Beachhead provides adaptive all-season sports activities to veterans, troops, disabled civilian individuals, and their families for the purpose of rehabilitation, inspiration, and recreation. New Jersey Heroes is awarding $5,900 to Operation Beachhead for the purchase of adaptive equipment to help disabled participants take part in the program, such as beach wheel chairs for summer or mono-skis for winter activities. The program which has expanded vastly over the years, now benefits over 400 participants and their families. 

Other statewide Grantees include:

·         Brick Stars Challenger Hockey, Inc., Brick, Ocean County (Alex DePalma) ─ $3,400

·         Community Soup Kitchen & Outreach Center, Morristown, Morris County (Alan Weinstein) ─ $7,500

·         GlassRoots, Inc., Newark, Essex County (Kate Twyla Dowd) ─ $3,189

·         Hope & Future Inc., Union City, Hudson County (Gian Paul Gonzalez) ─ $7,500

·         Interfaith Food Pantry, Morris Plains, Morris County (Rosemary Gilmartin) ─ $1,508

·         Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization, Mahwah, Bergen County (Eric Fuchs-Stengel) ─ $4,000

·         Operation Shoebox New Jersey, Somerville, Somerset County (Rod Hirsch) ─ $15,000

·         Partners for Women & Justice, Montclair, Essex County (Jane M. Hanson, Esq.) ─ $10,000: 

·         Pass It Along, Inc., Sparta, Sussex County (Diane Taylor) ─ $6,550

·         Pony Power Therapies, Mahwah, Bergen County (Dana Spett) ─ $10,000:

·         Project Self-Sufficiency, Inc., Newton, Sussex County (Beverly Gordon) ─ $10,000

·         Roots & Wings, Denville, Morris County (Irene DeGrandpre) ─ $5,000

·         Urban Promise Ministries, Camden, Camden County (Jodina Hicks) – $14,000

·         Women’s Opportunity Center (WOC) – YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties, Burlington, Burlington County (Cathi Rendfrey) ─ $5,000

·         Your Grandmother’s Cupboard, Toms River, Ocean County (Clark & Jean Paradise) ─ $6,000


New Jersey Heroes is an initiative First Lady Mary Pat Christie began in 2010 to showcase the positive and unique ways people and organizations are impacting New Jersey and their communities. To nominate a hero, go to newjerseyheroes.org and follow the application instructions to submit the person you believe is a true New Jersey Hero.