Bergen County Leaders in Business, the Arts, and Community Honored at The Community Chest’s Gala

Clubs and Organizations

June 12, 2024

From: The Community Chest

Eastern Bergen County, NJ -- The Community Chest of Eastern Bergen County toasted and honored five leaders’ contributions to the community at its annual spring gala, Connecting Neighbors, at Edgewood Country Club in River Vale, New Jersey. Producer and director Harry Martin, an Emmy Award-winning TV journalist and an anchor of newscasts at three leading television stations in New York City, returned to The Community Chest as emcee.


This year, The Community Chest recognized these leaders’ contributions and their extensive involvement in the community:

-- Outstanding Volunteers Award. Emily and Roger Chang. This dynamic couple, who reside in the historic Elizabeth Cady Stanton House in Tenafly, where women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton once lived, was recognized for their active involvement in the community. Emily serves on several board of directors, including The Community Chest’s Board of Managers, as First Vice President/Board Secretary, and Co-Chair of The Chest’s Young Women’s Leadership Program, which has grown significantly under her leadership; the Tenafly Nature Center Board of Trustees, the Tenafly Historic Commission, and the Tenafly Public Schools Diversity Equity and Inclusion Commission. She is a graduate of the Bergen LEADS 2022 class. Her husband, Roger, was recognized for supporting The Community Chest by developing and implementing with a friend the fundraiser golf challenge – The Summer Solstice Golf-a-thon, which raised over $11,000.

-- Community Leadership Award. JCC Thurnauer School of Music. The school was lauded for its work in the Englewood Public Schools introducing many low-income children to music and encouraging them to pursue music. Inspired by the late artist and author Faith Ringgold’s children’s book, ‘We Came to America: Every Color, Race and Religion, From Every Country in the World’, the school was recognized for its commission of artist Rob Kapilow to create an innovative, collaborative music work about the history and experience of immigrating to the United States. According to its creators, “the project integrates community outreach, explores and celebrates diversity and strives to promote inclusive and equitable educational opportunities through the transformative power of music.”

-- Corporate Philanthropy Award. Max Mara. As an international fashion company, with a location in Bergen County’s Riverside Mall, Max Mara reached out to The Community Chest to connect with local organizations supporting programs for women and girls. The Community Chest recognized this business leader for its active participation in the nonprofit’s activities, attending its galas and women’s program activities, holding fundraising events at their store, and being a consistent supporter of The Community Chest’s Young Women’s Leadership Program.

-- Outstanding Young Adult Leader Award. Gia Shin. While working as an intern at The Community Chest in 2022 and 2023, Shen took her passion as the creator of the website, URNotAlone, and partnered with The Community Chest’s Connections initiative to help communicate with teens suffering from loneliness. From this partnership, new materials were created by and for teens and a wider audience developed for the Connections project. She presented her work at The Community Chest’s 2024 Summit on Loneliness. Shen, a freshman at Boston University, lives with her family in Tenafly.

Connecting Neighbors Theme

For over 91 years, The Community Chest has responded to community needs. The gala’s theme, Connecting Neighbors, evolved from the organization’s work undertaken in 2024 on its ‘Connections Project’. The project, inspired by a report released by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy reported more than 50% of the public experienced loneliness during the post-COVID year. The Chest responded with a call to action of a public education and professional development campaign; co-sponsoring a health fair with new materials for professionals to use; assembling a library of resources and creating a corps of connectors to reach out people experiencing social isolation.

With the motto 'Neighbors Helping Neighbors', the organization leads initiatives and supports nonprofits that make communities stronger and benefit people in eastern Bergen County, New Jersey. The 91st anniversary gala's net proceeds will be used to fund grant awards to nonprofit organizations agencies responding to an increased demand for services for our neighbors in need in the areas of health and mental health services, food insecurity and healthy eating, home care, educational enhancement and college and career preparation.

A range of products were available to bid upon in a live and silent auction with auctioneer Ryan Cohen officiating. The program featured an inspirational musical performance by the Young People’s Chorus at Thurnauer.


The gala’s 2024 sponsors helped to fill the chest. This year, the sponsors were: The AbuRustum Family, BMW of Tenafly, Connect One Bank, Roger and Emily Chang, Jaguar Land Rover Englewood, Favor Senior Home Care, Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, Dick and Shawn Kennedy, LKU Group Inc., Jeffrey and Rosemary Russell, Franci and Adam Steinberg, Ira and Shelley Taub, Visions Federal Credit Union, Nini Wong Realtor Coldwell Banker, and Shelly and Justin Wimpfheimer. They were joined by these sponsors: The Kamson Corporation, Englewood Health, Lakeland Bank, Louise Schwartz, Valley Bank, Phil and Irma Ball, Merrill A Bank of America Company The Snyder Balducci Group, Temple Sinai Sisterhood in Tenafly, Barbara and Paul Brensilber, Friends of Roger and Emily Chang, Myra and Manny Genn, Helper Bear, KRS IT Consulting, Ellen and Ed Skowronski, and Barry and Melanie Zingler.


Patrons, who were unable to attend the gala, may still support The Community Chest’s programs and work with a donation. Contributions of any size may be made by check to The Community Chest, located at 122 South Van Brunt Street, 2nd Floor, Englewood, New Jersey 07631. Donations may be made online on the organization's web site at www.thecommunitychestebc.org/. Donations are tax-deductible, as permitted by law. For information, call 201-568-7474 or contact Executive Director Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer at [email protected].

About The Community Chest

Founded in 1933, The Community Chest, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization headquartered in Englewood, New Jersey, has supported local not-for-profit agencies for 91 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 Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer at (201) 568-7474.

For further information about The Chest, visit www.thecommunitychestebc.org/ or contact (201) 568-7474.