MAHWAH, N.J., June 1, 2006 – In all, 19 finalists received cash grants during the Awards Ceremony, the 10th year that New Jersey’s unsung heroes were recognized by the Russell Berrie Foundation and Ramapo College of New Jersey for their dedication, sacrifice and service. The top three finalists, chosen by a selection committee comprising eminent New Jersey business leaders and professionals, received cash awards of $50,000, $35,000 and $25,000.
Late philanthropist and businessman Russ Berrie created the award in 1997. His widow, Angelica Berrie, shared his passion for giving and now leads the Russell Berrie Foundation’s efforts to realize his philanthropic vision. “Russ wanted to create an award specifically for unsung heroes—people who really make a difference by dedicating their lives to improving life or helping others,” she said.
Delivering the keynote address was former Governor and current Senate President Richard J. Codey. Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Steve Adubato hosted the awards program.
Carmela Lunt of Mendham is the founding president of Community Hope, a social service agency that creates housing and services for those with mental illnesses. As president of the board, she has governed the expansion of Project Hope, now known as Community Hope, from a single group home in Dover for five young adults to a continuum of supported housing serving 185 individuals with plans to serve 230 this year.