(Eastern Bergen County, New Jersey; June 13, 2018) — The Community Chest honored women’s contributions to philanthropy, education, and society in the region at the Women’s Leadership Luncheon and Scholarship Ceremony, “Toasting the Elizabeths: Celebrating Women Leaders in Bergen County”, on May 17. The luncheon, a part of the organization’s year-long 85th anniversary festivities, drew leaders throughout the area to The Elisabeth Morrow School in Englewood, New Jersey. The program highlighted the accomplishments of three women leaders in history from the region, featured three women making significant contributions to society today, and honored two young women demonstrating exceptional leadership qualities.
Celebrating Women’s Leadership
Three women were recognized for the leadership they showed throughout their lives. Elizabeth Cutter Morrow, the founding board chair of The Community Chest during the Great Depression, and her daughter, Elisabeth Morrow Morgan, the founder of the Elisabeth Morrow School, lived in Englewood. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who lived in Tenafly, New Jersey for several years, was honored as a leader in the suffragette movement.
The Community Chest welcomed descendants of these women leaders. Margaret Silver, Elizabeth Cutter Morrow’s great-granddaughter, and Coline Jenkins, the great-great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, attended the luncheon. They spoke about their respective grandmothers’ contributions and outstanding leadership qualities.
First Leadership Scholarship Awards Presented
A highlight of the event was the presentation of the first leadership scholarship awards. Earlier this year, The Community Chest announced the availability of a women’s leadership scholarship for graduating high school seniors from eastern Bergen County schools. Applicants needed to show strong leadership qualities in activities undertaken during their high school years. Nineteen young women submitted applications for this honor and two were selected to receive scholarship awards.
“We could not have been more impressed with the caliber of the applicants for this scholarship. Each demonstrated exceptional talents and a commitment to social causes. The selection committee had a major challenge selecting only one winner, and the group decided to honor two recipients. We were very excited to choose our winners, and look forward to continuing this new tradition of awarding a women’s leadership scholarship in the name of Elizabeth Cutter Morrow and other esteemed women,” said Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer, Executive Director, The Community Chest.
First place winner Nicole Matsanov, a senior attending the Finance Academy in Englewood, brought about major changes in school policies and practices. She received a $2,000 scholarship award and was lauded for her boundless energy, enthusiasm and courage to champion causes that others were reluctant to address. Matsanov, who could not attend the event in person because of a previous commitment to take an Advanced Placement test, provided a self-produced video to accept the award. In the fall, she intends to attend Occidental University in Los Angeles and apply the scholarship award toward educational expenses.
Second place winner Michelle Yu, a senior at Cresskill High School, received a $1,000 scholarship. Yu is an accomplished videographer, musician, and writer. Among her activities, she serves as editor of the high school newspaper and is a member of the tennis team. Shane Kress, a media teacher at the high school, introduced this aspiring leader. Yu plans to enroll at Syracuse University in New York this fall.
Prominent Women Leaders Told Their Stories
The program presented three women guest speakers from a range of professional backgrounds with exemplary leadership credentials. Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle from the 37th district addressed the audience through a pre-recorded video about her rise to the position of local legislator in New Jersey.
A second speaker, Helen Archontou, with nearly 20 years of executive management experience in the not-for-profit sector, has worked to eliminate racism and empower women. Archontou is a trained social worker, advocate and human services manager, serving as the YWCA of Bergen County’s CEO for the past six years. She is an avid champion for the rights of women, raising awareness about racial equality, and providing a wide range of services to girls and families through the YWCA’s health and wellness programs.
Another speaker, Dr. Jeanne Clark-Rance, grew up in Englewood. She participated in programs offered by the Bergen Family Center, formerly called Memorial House, and went on to become a prominent educator in the New York City Department of Education.
About The Community Chest
Founded in 1933, The Community Chest, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, has supported local not-for-profit agencies for 85 years. The Chest leads initiatives and supports nonprofits that make our communities stronger and benefit people in need in eastern Bergen County. Each year, The Chest raises funds and allocates them to agencies demonstrating the capacity to provide services to local citizens. The organization also provides coordinating and planning services in its communities, serving as a bridge between agencies and organizations and investing in the stability and quality of the service network.
For further information about The Chest, visit www.communitychestofenglewood.org or contact (201) 568-7474. Stay updated about the organization’s activities on Facebook and Twitter.
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