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The Community Chest to Toast The Power of Community: Responding to Neighbors in Need

August 29, 2020 , Luhrs & Associates

Summary: The Community Chest’s virtual gala on September 16 will raise funds to help nonprofits providing services to neighbors in need experiencing hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

(Eastern Bergen County, New Jersey; August 28, 2020) — The Community Chest will toast our community and its volunteers, who have come together during this critical time, at The Power of Community on September 16, 2020.  The Chest, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization serving eastern Bergen County, New Jersey, holds its virtual gala from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

While drinking The Chest’s signature cocktail, Feathertinis, from the comforts of their homes, patios, and other sites, guests will support the organization’s work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  The gala’s net proceeds will provide grants to nonprofit agencies responding to an increased demand for services to help neighbors in eastern Bergen County.


Honorees Barbara Strauss and Tom Manolio

The Community Chest will recognize these four leaders for their extensive involvement and contributions to the community:

• Englewood Health, formerly Englewood Hospital, will be honored with the Community Leadership Award for its wide-ranging work in the region with projects including the Partnership for Healthy Eating initiative, a consortium of agencies and volunteers creating healthy dinners at houses of workshop in Englewood.  For more than 87 years, Englewood Health has been a partner of The Community Chest, beginning in 1933 when the hospital was one of five nonprofits funded at The Chest’s formation.  They offer a range of services for residents to address various health issues and work closely with the Federally Qualified Health Center in Englewood by staffing the facility with medical residents.

• Jaguar Land Rover Englewood will receive the Corporate Philanthropy Award.  The company supports The Community Chest’s work and plans to raise awareness about the nonprofit’s work in eastern Bergen County.  In 2021, Jaguar Land Rover Englewood has committed to contribute $100 per car sold to The Chest.

• Barbara Strauss and Tom Manolio will be recognized with the Outstanding Volunteers Award for their numerous activities in the community.  During Strauss’ nearly nine-year tenure on The Chest’s board of managers, she has held the positions of treasurer, secretary and vice president.  She has also chaired the Development Committee and for the last three years, she has served as the chair of the Events Committee.  For over 20 years, she has worked in the insurance industry and currently is Executive Vice President at York International.

Manolio has served actively with The Chest in various capacities.  A lifelong resident of Englewood Cliffs, he has been a member of the Englewood Cliffs Fire Department for over 40 years.  As a Councilman in Englewood Cliffs, he was the liaison to the Public Safety Department.  In his work as a Client Advisor at BMW of Manhattan, he has supported The Chest’s Events Committee work.


Nina Pineda, an award-winning broadcast journalist with WABC-TV “7 On Your Side”, joins The Chest as Emcee.  Producer/Director Harry Martin, an Emmy Award-winning TV journalist, who anchored TV newscasts at three leading television stations in New York City, brings his expertise to produce the event.  Guests will learn more about The Community Chest’s work in the community during the pandemic with a video highlighting a nonprofit grant recipient.

Nina Pineda, an award-winning broadcast journalist with WABC-TV “7 On Your Side”, will serve as emcee at The Community Chest’s virtual gala on September 16.

The gala committee comprised of Chair Barbara Strauss, Marcie Mann, Tom Manolio, Sandy Pinto, Melanie Simon, Franci Steinberg, Jami Toolen, Andrew Kovar, and Amy Sokal promises a fun evening.  Joe Parisi, Jr., chair of the dinner committee, is joined by Nadeem and Amie Aburustum, Richard Engel and Swati Rao Engel, Richard and Shawn Kennedy, Adam and Franci Steinberg, Barbara Strauss and Tom Manolio, John and Lauren Wilkens, and Justin and Shelly Wimpfheimer.

A range of products will be available to bid upon in the silent benefit auction.  Items to bid upon feature experiences, health and beauty products, technology, fashion and accessories, and baskets of cheer.  Items in the auction will be available for review online at https://e.givesmart.com/events/gq8/.

Tickets and Sponsors

Although tickets to attend the virtual gala are free, guests are invited to make a donation and receive the following gifts:  $50-$99 Feathertini glass with a recipe for The Chest’s signature cocktail of the evening, $100-$499 a gift bag with craft liquors and a Feathertini glass, and $500 and over provides two tickets to the 2021 Spring Gala and a Feathertini glass.  Other opportunities to support The Chest’s work include bidding in the silent auction, making a contribution directly to the organization, and participating in a fund-a-need to support local charitable projects.  Advanced registration is required to participate in the gala and may be done online at https://e.givesmart.com/events/gq8/.

To date, the gala’s 2020 sponsors are:  Lakeland Bank, Otterstedt Insurance Agency, BMW of Tenafly, Citi Private Bank, Boyd Richards Parker & Colonnelli, Englewood Health Foundation, GNY Insurance Companies, Jaguar Land Rover Englewood, The Kamson Corp., Robert J. Wilkens Insurance Agency, The Alfiero & Lucia Palestroni Foundation, Valley National Bank, Visions Federal Credit Union, ConnectOne Bank, UBS The Bianco-Daly Group Wealth Management, and BLG | Berkley Luxury Group.  These sponsors are joined by Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP, Dr. Barry and Melanie Zingler, GNY Insurance Companies, VRH, Carol Geisenheimer, TD Bank, and Judy Simon MEJANE Outerwear.

Additional sponsors are Richard Engel, Loren and Jennifer Wimpfheimer, Justin and Shelly Wimpfheimer, Richard and Shawn Kennedy, Adam and Franci Steinberg, Joe and Judy Klyde, Louise Schwartz, Richard Engel and Swati Rao Engel, Peter and Annette Corbin, Suzan Gordon, Alex and April Uram, Jacqueline Mortman and John Pierre Saint-Louis, Barbara Strauss and Tom Manolio, and Michael Shannon.

About The Community Chest

Founded in 1933, The Community Chest, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, has supported local not-for-profit agencies for 87 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.

The Community Chest’s Board of Managers is comprised of community leaders dedicated to improving the lives of neighbors in need.  People interested in being considered for board membership may contact executive director Shelly Wimpfheimer at (201) 568-7474.

For further information about The Chest, visit www.thecommunitychestebc.org/ or contact (201) 568-7474.  Stay updated about the organization’s activities on Facebook and Twitter.

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