Welcome to Montclair Community Farm’s New Cohort of Farmpreneurs!

Written and Submitted by Marissa Staffen, Montclair Community Farms

This past week we welcomed a group of 9 energetic and ambitious high school students from across Essex County onto the farm! Our farmpreneurs will be busy this season gaining hands-on experience in agriculture, culinary arts, and entrepreneurship as participants in our “Empowering Youth Entrepreneurs From Seed to Sale” project. Each week they’ll be learning about topics in farming, visiting farms and businesses across NJ, and creating wheat-based value-added products! Value-added products are defined by USDA as those that undergo a change in the physical state or form of the product in order to enhance their market value.

In their first week, they visited our friends at MEVO, the Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization, learned about the importance of small grain farming, and began brainstorming their dream value-added products! They also worked hard on-site harvesting, planting, weeding, trellising, and preparing for our Montclair Community Farms Mobile Farm Stand! Please be sure to visit this season (June-November) at one of our farm stand sites. https://www.montclaircommunityfarms.org/mobile-farm-stand

Nursing Student Scholarships Support Healthier Communities

The Independent College Fund of New Jersey (ICFNJ) has posted a scholarship opportunity funded by Partners for Health.

Junior and senior nursing students attending Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Montclair State University and Seton Hall University can apply for this competitive scholarship through ICFNJ at https://njcolleges.org/icfnj-scholarships-and-cost-of-attendance/#. Ten successful candidates will receive a $5,000 scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Eligible students must demonstrate a commitment to nursing by having reached their junior or senior year in a nursing degree program at colleges within the Foundation’s service area, noted above, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2. Candidates will also submit a personal statement outlining their career goals and how they plan to support healthy communities and promote healthier lifestyles as part of their application. Applications will be accepted through September 1, 2021.

“Partners for Health is proud to support nursing students with these scholarships. Nurses who work in schools, health departments and in many other settings are vital partners in our efforts to make the communities we serve healthier, better places to live,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director of the Foundation.

“As thousands of New Jersey nursing students prepare for graduation, it behooves us to think about their future, their role in the community and how we can support them. Professional nurses are a crucial link in our healthcare system and in the health of our communities,” said Gloria C. Essoka, Ph.D., R.N., Trustee and Grant’s Committee Chair of the Foundation. To read her op-ed on Supporting Education for Those Who Support Communities’ Health, click here.

ABOUT THE INDEPENDENT COLLEGE FUND OF NEW JERSEY (ICFNJ)

ICFNJ was founded in 1953 as a cooperative involving business and academic leaders to broaden support for private higher education in New Jersey. Today, ICFNJ continues the tradition of empowering students to realize their goals by strengthening New Jersey’s independent colleges and universities with support for strategic investments in innovative programs, student scholarships and educational advancement. Through these efforts, ICFNJ has raised and contributed close to $72 million providing opportunities for its member institutions to continuously enhance program quality, to increase accessibility and affordability; and thus fulfill their respective missions. Learn more at www.njcolleges.org.

MHS’S BLUE SCRUB CLUB DONATES TO MOUNTAINSIDE MEDICAL CENTER

As published in Montclair Local

The Blue Scrub Club at Montclair High School has donated $500 to Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center’s Pastoral Care department through the Partners for Health Foundation.

The Blue Scrub Club’s purpose is to inspire and educate students who are interested in
exploring careers in the medical field. The club hosts weekly meetings with medical professionals from a variety of fields who share their education and career journeys , along with what they do on a daily basis. Students also contribute to the community by providing
healthcare organizations with assistance through financial or material donations, and
volunteering, an announcement of the donation said.

“It is important that we engage with the younger generation who have an interest in healthcare and assist them in finding their career path,” chief executive officer at
Mountainside Medical Center Tim O’Brien wrote in the announcement. “Healthcare organizations have many moving parts and we want to show students the various pathways in which they can have a successful career in healthcare.”

The hospital will collaborate with the club on future events to continue to educate students about the various careers in healthcare. Students will also have the opportunity to volunteer at the hospital and shadow professionals at all levels.

Copeland G. Bertsche to be honored at Partners for Health Foundation Annual Golf Tournament

Partners for Health is delighted to recognize Copeland G. Bertsche for his service to the community and the Foundation at the Foundation’s Annual Golf Tournament being held at the Green Brook Country Club in North Caldwell on Thursday, October 7, 2021.

As president of the Mountainside Hospital Advisory Board and a director of Atlantic Health System, Co was instrumental in identifying and negotiating the sale of Mountainside Hospital to Merit Health System in 2007. In 2012, as a Trustee of Partners for Health, the successor to the Mountainside Hospital Foundation, Co led the team that negotiated the lease of the Foundation’s interest in the land underlying the hospital’s new Medical Office Building. These transactions helped ensure that Mountainside Hospital would remain open and available to serve the community.

Co is a member of the Partners for Health Leadership Advisory Council. He has also served as President of Montclair Golf Club, member of the Montclair Board of Education, trustee of Bloomfield College, as well as director of a number of Montclair-based non-profit organizations, and he been honored for his community service by the American Red Cross. Co currently serves on the Finance Committee of Montclair Film and is an active volunteer at Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair.

A graduate of Colgate University, Co served as legal counsel to the Colgate Alumni Corporation and is a recipient of its Wm. Brian Little Award for distinguished service to the university, the highest award bestowed for alumni service. He received his JD from Seton Hall and his MBA from NYU. Following a career as a lawyer with AT&T and Lucent Technologies, Co currently maintains a commercial mediation practice.

Co’s wife, Andree (Andie), is a longtime Montclair volunteer and broker associate with Stanton Company Realtors. They are extremely proud of their four daughters, sons-in-law and nine wonderful grandchildren and even one granddaughter-in-law!

Click here to learn more and to register!

Access to Oral Health Care and a Link to a Dental Home

Written and submitted by:

Michal Herman, Dental Home Director, KinderSmile Bloomfield

Esther’s first visit with KinderSmile Oral Health Program was at her school in 2019, where she received her very first oral exam and dental cleaning. She was immediately linked to our Dental Home, KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center Bloomfield, where she returned for her recall appointments and restorative visits. Always a mature and cooperative patient, Esther only had a simple request— she needed her comforting Dental Assistant Lissa to be by her side, holding her hand throughout each procedure.

Esther is one of nearly 2,000 children who benefitted from this program in the past year despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and our three-month closure. KinderSmile Oral Health Program, the flagship program of our organization, brings preventive dental services to partnering schools and community centers. We provide offsite oral health education, dental exams, caries risk assessments, dental prophylaxis, fluoride applications, sealants when appropriate, and a crucial link to a permanent Dental Home. The mission of KinderSmile Foundation is to provide underserved children with access to comprehensive dental care and educate children and their families about the importance of dental hygiene. We envision a future where every child has access to a dentist, and preventable dental diseases are eradicated.

The coronavirus pandemic has further underlined racial and economic disparities in our society. The high unemployment rates and a lack of full-time schooling have increased the number of uninsured and underserved families who turn to KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center Bloomfield for timely access to oral health care, regardless of insurance status. In the past year, 94% of the children we served came from at-risk families: 76% were insured by Medicaid/NJ FamilyCare, 18% were uninsured, and only 6% were privately insured. Our sustainable Dental Home model combats the inequality of oral health care access in underserved communities by establishing a permanent link to a brick-and-mortar Dental Home while focusing on the three key goals of education, prevention, and intervention.

We are very grateful to Partners for Health Foundation for their continued support, and for sponsoring this important mission for the past year. Together, we provided access to oral health care and education to Esther and nearly 2,000 children.

Thank you!

Montclair Community Partners Collaborate To Provide Daytime Shelter From Cold For Those In Need

News story courtesy of the nonprofit subcommittee of the Township of Montclair’s COVID-19 Task Force.

The nonprofit subcommittee of the Township of Montclair’s COVID-19 Task Force convened emergency meetings last week (January 27 and 28) to address yet another crisis triggered by the pandemic: daytime respite from the cold for community members who are homeless.

With extreme temperatures and a significant snowstorm in the forecast, the Subcommittee recognized the need to act quickly. In past winters, public spaces such as the library and coffee shops would have been open to provide a place for homeless individuals to warm up during the day. Going to these locations is not an option this year because of COVID.

Due to the determination of all involved, a plan came together quickly. Through March 31, the Salvation Army and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair (UUCM) will open their doors for daytime respite from the cold for parts of each day, seven days a week.

Strict COVID protocols have been implemented at both locations. Lunch and dinner are being providing through the collaborative efforts of Toni’s Kitchen, the Salvation Army and MESH. The Subcommittee is also working to arrange for onsite COVID vaccinations for the homeless individuals who are visiting the daytime respite sites. Small grants from Partners for Health Foundation, The Schumann Fund for New Jersey, and The Montclair Foundation will cover the start-up costs of the program.

“I commend the great work of the Mayor’s Covid-19 Task Force which shepherded the overwhelming good will and energy of these community partners to provide much-needed relief for our homeless population,” said Sean M. Spiller, Mayor, Township of Montclair.

Former Montclair Mayor Ed Remsen is the Chair of Non-Profit Subcommittee of the Township’s COVID-19 Task Force. He led the discussions and was joined by Montclair Councilor David Cummings; Anne Mernin of Toni’s Kitchen; Michele Kroeze of the Salvation Army; Peter Arian of the UUCM; Gwen Ames of Montclair Emergency Services for Hope (MESH); Kathy Smith of Partners for Health Foundation; Al Pelham of Montclair Neighborhood Development Corp; and Rev. Ann Ralosky of First Congregational Church.

Rev. Dr. Campbell B. Singleton, III and Trustee Floyd J. Slaten, Jr. of the Union Baptist Church of Montclair also participated. Union Baptist welcomes overnight guests when nighttime temperatures go below 32-degrees.

Local residents who want to support the safety net organizations that have been working tirelessly to address critical needs throughout the pandemic are encouraged to donate directly to these organizations.

PFH Grant to Inform the Development of the Essex-Hudson Greenway

Partners for Health Foundation has made a two-year grant to the Open Space Institute (OSI) to inform the development and design of a long-sought nine-mile, multi-use greenway following the path of the Old Boonton train line through Montclair, Glen Ridge and Bloomfield on through Belleville, Newark, Kearny, Secaucus and Jersey City.

The Essex-Hudson Greenway would provide new healthy outdoor recreation opportunities for walkers, bikers, birders, and other nature lovers, while improving transportation options and providing off-road safety for area residents. 

The grant from Partners for Health will be used by OSI and their advocacy partner, the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, for community outreach in Montclair, Glen Ridge and Bloomfield. The goal is to ensure that residents who live near the trail are encouraged to participate in the trail design, as they have the most to benefit from it.

The transformative conversion of the old train line into a shared community greenway has been a long-term regional goal. In early 2020, OSI secured a time-limited purchase agreement for the line from Norfolk Southern Railway Company. In July 2020, Norfolk Southern made public its intent to formally abandon the line. In October 2020, both Hudson and Essex County passed resolutions expressing support – the first official sign of support for the Essex-Hudson Greenway project by the counties. 

A long-held vision of all the communities along the route, the resolutions solidify the intent of both Essex and Hudson Counties to work with OSI to seek financing and ownership for their portions of the Essex-Hudson Greenway. OSI is also working to provide initial guidance for development of the property as a multi-use trail and provide detailed information regarding current site conditions.

With abandonment in hand, Norfolk Southern will look to sell this asset quickly. OSI’s agreement represents the best chance that the corridor remains completely intact for the public’s use.

In addition to its health and transportation benefits, the creation of a new Essex-Hudson Greenway offers a range of other environmental and economic benefits. The project stands out as especially vital as the public turns more and more toward local access to green space. The project also offers the potential to reduce traffic and allow for improved infrastructure connectivity for things like broadband and emergency response.

An aerial view of the proposed Essex Hudson Greenway in Bloomfield.

About Open Space Institute

Founded more than four decades ago, the Open Space Institute (OSI) has partnered in the protection of 2.3 million acres across eastern North America from Quebec to Florida. Over the past 16 years, OSI has worked to protect more than 21,000 acres of New Jersey farms, forests, and local parkland within the Highlands, the Pinelands, the Bayshore, and the heavily developed northeastern suburbs. In addition to the Essex Hudson Greenway, OSI’s current projects include efforts to help protect land and improve water quality in the Delaware River Basin and provide public access to the 1,200-acre Jersey City Reservoir in Boonton and Parsippany.

About New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition

The New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition (NJBWC) is the only statewide advocacy organization for bicyclists and pedestrians and provides a collective voice for everyone who believes that a more rideable and walkable New Jersey means a more livable, equitable, and sustainable New Jersey. NJBWC officially adopted the Essex Hudson Greenway Project in 2014 and has been a leader in building the advocacy campaign to make it a reality.

About the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance The September 11th National Memorial Trail is a 1,300-mile system of trails and roadways that links the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The route serves as a symbol of national resiliency and character and as a tribute

Annual campaign awards $315,000 to community health partners

Partners for Health has awarded grants totaling $315,000 to support local soup kitchens, food pantries and organizations working to address and prevent both hunger and homelessness. This includes emergency COVID-19 grants of $95,000 that were awarded in the spring, and another $220,000 for year-end matching gifts from members of the community. 

Contributions made directly to the following organizations were eligible for a $1 for $1 match through the Foundation’s 8th Holiday Matching Grants Program:  City Green, Family Promise of Essex County, HOMECorp, Human Needs Food Pantry, MESH (Montclair Emergency Services for Hope), Montclair Community Farms, Nutley Family Service Bureau, Saint Peter’s Haven Healthy Food Pantry & Family Shelter in Clifton, The Salvation Army and Toni’s Kitchen.

COVID-19 has challenged each of us, with a disproportionate impact on community members who were already struggling to cover essential expenses.  Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health, notes, “The community pulled together to respond to the pandemic, and the Foundation was proud to do its part by providing funds to support the local safety net.”

A Year Defined by Silver Linings

Submitted by the KinderSmile Foundation

The year 2020 has proven to be a difficult year, but for KinderSmile Foundation, it was defined by silver linings.

Thanks to a technology capital improvement grant from Partners for Health Foundation, which was received immediately prior to the Dental Home closures necessitated by COVID-19, we were able to continue to serve the community remotely. The new laptop computers included all necessary software, including our HIPAA compliant patient management system. This enabled us to create a virtual slideshow to present oral health education to students and staff at partnering schools, hold Zoom staff meetings, and continue to track and report data to our grantors. Most importantly, through the COVID-19 pandemic hiatus, when our Dental Homes were closed for three months, our KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center Bloomfield dentists attended to more than 36 teledentistry calls for various dental emergencies of infections and swellings.

The ability to provide virtual services during the pandemic has been a valuable culture of health change, especially for our uninsured and underinsured patients, and recalls the original story that led Dr. Nicole McGrath-Barnes to found KinderSmile Foundation. In 2007, a 12 year-old Black boy from Baltimore died from an untreated dental infection that traveled to his brain. His story was the sign that Dr. Nicole had been waiting for, compelling her to establish KinderSmile Foundation with a mission of providing underserved children with access to comprehensive dental care and to educate children and their families about the importance of dental hygiene, envisioning a future where every child has access to a dentist and preventable dental diseases are eradicated.

Our Dental Homes fill a large gap in New Jersey’s available resources, allowing underserved at-risk children to receive high-quality comprehensive oral health care in a barrier-free, clean, welcoming, educational, and accessible setting.

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the health inequities that continue to plague the inner cities, underscoring socioeconomic and racial disparities in access to care. Black and Hispanic Americans have been affected at four times the rate of white Americans by COVID-19. The rise in unemployment has further disparaged these communities. Despite the increase in need and cost of PPE and infection control supplies due to this pandemic, we continue our mission of providing care to at-risk patients in a safe environment to for our staff, volunteers, and community, without seeking any additional fees from our patients. We also continue to work with community partners to educate and stress the importance of linking patients to our Dental Home, thereby helping the state of NJ reduce burdens on hospital emergency departments.

We thank Partners for Health for helping us serve the community and achieve these silver linings, enabling us to give more children and families a fighting chance to live. One smile at a time!

MFF Panel Discussion Addresses Food Insecurity

A timely and important discussion about food insecurity in New Jersey and advocacy efforts to address hunger was produced as part of Partners for Health Foundation’s sponsorship of the 2020 Montclair Film Festival.  With the COVID-19 pandemic having an outsized economic impact on families and communities in need, support to end food insecurity is at record levels. 

Partners for Health also co-presented HUNGRY TO LEARN during the Festival, a documentary about hunger on college campuses. HUNGRY TO LEARN tells the story of four college students facing hunger and homelessness and how their dreams of success, college degrees, and food security at school remain just beyond their reach.


You can view the conversation below or at this link:  https://youtu.be/X24742Sadj0


Panel Discussion: Food Insecurity in New Jersey

Moderator:

John Mooney,
Founding Editor and Executive Director of NJ Spotlight News

John Mooney is the founding editor of NJ Spotlight, starting the news site in 2009 after more than 30 years in print journalism. Before NJ Spotlight, John was an education reporter with the Newark Star-Ledger and the Bergen Record and a contributing writer for The New York Times.

Panelists:

Anne Mernin,
Executive Director of Toni’s Kitchen

Anne Mernin is the Executive Director of Toni’s Kitchen, a food ministry of St. Luke’s Church in Montclair.  Prior to joining Toni’s Kitchen, Anne worked as a management consultant in the private sector.

Adele LaTourette, Director of the NJ Anti-Hunger Coalition

Adele has led Hunger Free New Jersey since its inception in 1980. She is the leading voice in New Jersey’s anti-hunger and nutrition community and serves as a resource to emergency food coalitions throughout the state. Adele’s leadership has earned her state and national recognition. 

Elisa Neira,
Deputy Commissioner of the NJ Department of Human Services

Elisa Neira oversees the Division of Family Development, the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Division of Disability Services.

KinderSmile Foundation Provides Access to Oral Health Care to At-Risk Youth

Submitted by KinderSmile Foundation 

The mission of KinderSmile Foundation is to provide underserved children with access to comprehensive dental care and to educate children and their families about the importance of dental hygiene as related to total health. We envision a future where every child has access to a dentist, and preventable dental diseases are eradicated. We provide access to care and a link to a barrier-free brick-and-mortar Dental Home, while focusing on Education, Intervention, and Prevention in order to empower patients and their families with methods to combat dental disease.

The dental field poses a unique high risk of transmission of COVID-19, due to close proximity to unmasked patients and unavoidable aerosol droplets produced during dental procedures. Notwithstanding the risks, the increase in need, and the escalating costs of PPE and infection control supplies due to this pandemic, KinderSmile Foundation continues its mission of providing comprehensive dental care to at-risk patients while providing a safe environment to staff, volunteers, and the community. Unlike many private dentists who implemented additional fees per visit to offset the extra costs, consistent with KSF’s mission, we are not seeking any additional fees from our patients.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted economic and racial disparities in access to care. The high unemployment rates and lack of full time schooling are undoubtedly increasing the number of uninsured and underserved families. KSF’s Founder & CEO, Dr. Nicole McGrath-Barnes, tirelessly works to raise awareness of inequities in oral health access, and was selected to receive the 2020 Benco Lucy Hobbs Humanitarian Award, by the National Council of Negro Women Montclair Branch, and was one of the four finalists for the 2020 NJ Biz Public Health Heroes. In October 2020 she will be acknowledged for her service and dedication to dentistry by the New Jersey Dental Association, at their 150th Anniversary Event.

We are grateful to Partners for Health Foundation, whose continued support has provided preventive and comprehensive care to at-risk uninsured and underinsured children throughout our programs and in our Dental Home KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center Bloomfield.

West Orange Designated as an Age-Friendly Community

West Orange recently received formal acceptance into the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities and the World Health Organization Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.   This prestigious award reaffirms the Township’s commitment to an age-friendly community, which benefits residents of all ages.

The age-friendly movement, launched by the World Health Organization in 2005, continues to spread across the globe. The guiding principle is creating local solutions to help meet the global challenges of our aging population. Age-friendly communities are inclusive and benefit from diverse citizen engagement to identify and address the needs of the community.

West Orange is only the 13th New Jersey community to receive this honor and the 466th in the United States to be awarded Age-Friendly certification.

To recognize West Orange’s age-friendly initiatives and commitment to senior livability, the Township created the distinctive age-friendly logo, pictured below. The tree, symbolic of growth, strength, and beauty is encased in an incandescent light bulb, an homage to Thomas Edison, the West Orange genius inventor.

“This is exciting news for West Orange and it underscores the Township’s commitment to meet the challenges of an aging population”, stated Dorothy Sanders, Senior Livability Coordinator.  “Age-friendly initiatives benefit an entire community, not just older adults. We remain grateful to the Partners for Health Foundation for their incredible support of our age-friendly initiatives”, added Theresa M. De Nova, Health Officer .

By the year 2030, New Jersey’s over-60 population is projected to represent 25% of the state’s population.

Montclair Community Farms: Engaging the Community through Farming and Food

Written by Beth Pulawski, Director of Montclair Community Farms

This year has been challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic and #BlackLivesMatter movement have exposed the deep inequities and inequalities that have existed and persisted in our country and community for too long. They have required that we not only think differently, but do differently, to continue to learn, and be better and do better. They have also showed us the power in community and the things that bring us together.

At Montclair Community Farms, we have really taken this to heart and thought hard about how we work to address all of the factors that lead to healthy living – access to food, education, job opportunities, and community, among others. We don’t have all of the answers but we do have a renewed sense of purpose about what we can do as an organization, and as individuals, to best serve our community. We can continue to provide space to engage and educate the community through farm, food, health and a little bit of fun, and do so regardless of a person’s time, finances, child care, or the many other barriers that they may face.  We can also continue to listen to our community.

Thanks to the generous funding of Partners for Health Foundation and Van Vleck House & Gardens and Montclair Foundation we grew more than 3,000 seedlings including 1,000 for our farms’, and 2,000 that were donated to the community. We also engaged more than 50 new gardeners (at free, reduced and full pricing) in our first-ever virtual Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden series. We are proud that our students are now growing and maintaining thriving vegetable gardens. Perhaps more important than growing their own homegrown fruits and vegetables, these gardeners – who would not have met otherwise – have a new community around a shared experience, purpose and passion. Going forward we seek to provide more such opportunities and reach more deeply into our community.

One area we are keen to explore and that was brought on in part by COVID-19 is engaging more young people – who hold the greatest opportunity to make a positive impact for generations to come – in strengthening local food systems.  We want to support youth in developing 21st century skills – innovation, creativity, and leadership –  through small scale grain milling with community partners like Ruthie’s Farm (of the infamous Ruthie’s BBQ in Montclair), and the development of value-added products such as flour, pizza dough, tomato sauce and salsa. Interestingly enough, this same topic appeared in a NYT Op-Ed last month. Our goal is to provide alternative career pathways through paid positions, as we recognize that a lack of income is the number one barrier to food security and many other social determinants of health.  We hope you will join us.

Milbank Park Community Garden Expands Access to Fresh Produce in Bloomfield

Neighbor to Neighbor Network (NTNN), in collaboration with the Township of Bloomfield and the Bloomfield Garden Committee, established the Community Garden at Milbank Park in 2019 and is enjoying it first full growing season this year. This volunteer-led project is a grassroots effort designed to create gardening space for residents, as well as a community gathering space that encourages healthy living, positive eating habits, and environmental stewardship.  The garden was funded, in part, with a grant from Partners for Health Foundation.

In addition to the 28 raised bed garden at Milbank Park, the Township of Bloomfield has community gardens at the Oakside Cultural Center and Pulaski Park. 

The Bloomfield Garden Committee maintains strict social distancing and sanitizing guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic; only 10 people are allowed in the garden at a time.  The gardens have yielded 41.5 pounds of vegetables that have been donated to the Park Methodist Food Pantry thus far in 2020; they anticipate surpassing their goal of 200 pounds of donated produce by the end of the season.

Virtual programs are offered in collaboration with the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, on topics such as Canning & Preservation, Bolstering Immune Systems, Meal Plan Ideas for CKD & Diabetes, and Diet & Our DNA.

Future plans include building lending libraries at each garden to be stocked with gardening books, and expanding the number of raised beds at Milbank, some of which will be customized for wheelchair access and to accommodate individuals who have back injuries.

MFEE America to Me Real Talk on Race Takes on Greater Urgency

MFEE America to Me Real Talk on Race Takes on Greater Urgency

Since 2018, the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence (MFEE) has engaged over 600 Montclairians in a town-wide process for understanding issues of race and equity more deeply using the America to Me documentary series. The series examines racial inequities through the eyes of teens in a Chicago suburban high school that looks and feels a lot like Montclair High. Given the uptick in racial violence against Black men and women, this process for understanding the perniciousness of racism is more critical now than ever.


Working with Montclair State University professors, Drs. Tanya Maloney and Bree Picower, MFEE has shaped a customized learning experience that guides participants through their personal journey of deepening their racial literacy while preparing them for individual and collective action. The process focuses on learning key frameworks and language for understanding issues of race and equity. Participants use these frameworks to debrief the documentaries in Watch Groups and to guide self-reflection on their own racial literacy and personal accountability. They end the experience by identifying individual and/or collective action items to tackle.


“We have been overwhelmed by the response to this initiative,” says Masiel Rodriquez-Vars, MFEE Executive Director. “From the standing-room only crowd at the March 1st launch to the over thirty people who committed to continue their Watch Groups online after the pandemic hit, to the three hundred people who attended the June 14th closing event, it is inspiring to see so many Montclair folks wanting to do this work. We believe this experience is especially valuable now, as it can help people identify how they can put their privilege on the line for Black and Brown folks.”


Current participants are already finding that the process is changing their thinking and inspiring them to act. “One of the big take-aways from this group is that I, as a white person, have to figure out ways to actively stick my neck out on issues about race,” wrote one participant. Another shared, “the sessions have given vocabulary to what I, as a woman of color, have always known.”


The America to Me process has been generously supported by MFEE, The Schumann Fund for New Jersey and Partners for Health. MFEE is grateful to its funding partners for investing in this critical work. To fuel action to further address issues of race and equity in Montclair schools, MFEE has allocated $150,000 to support Excellence in Equity grants. Parents, administrators, teachers and students are encouraged to work collaboratively to submit proposals in fall 2020. A second round of the America to Me Watch Group process will kick off in September. To participate, visit www.mfee.org.

Registration is Now Open for “All Remote” MILL Summer MILL Classes

The Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning (MILL) will once again offer “all remote” programming for its summer sessions, with virtual classes in program areas that include the Arts, History and Current Events, and Health and Wellness. 

When the Division of Senior Services/Lifelong Montclair closed Edgemont Park House for programs in early March due to the COVID pandemic, staff began investigating ways that programs could continue remotely. Senior Services Coordinator Michelle DeWitt tested platform options with various program groups who regularly met at Edgemont Park. Zoom emerged as the most practical platform.

The spring semester was a big success, with 750 registrations for 16 classes. An advantage of using Zoom technology is that many classes could accommodate up to 300 students, far surpassing the capacity of in-person learning.

One of programs that successfully transitioned to virtual learning was a watercolor class called “Out the Window.”  Students sheltering in place were encouraged to paint what they saw outside the windows of their own homes, resulting in a range of lovely landscapes, skyscapes, flowers and depictions of vegetables.

Instructor Karen DeLuca describes her approach to teaching on Zoom by saying, “I would first introduce the lesson and then do live, on-camera demonstrations. Students appreciated the opportunity to observe various watercolor techniques up close, giving them a real feel for the painting process. They were able to submit questions through the chat box, as well as share their comments. One student observed that the experience was a bit like watching Julia Child cook!”

Karen adds, “The team at the MILL was way ahead of the curve in instituting this program. I am so thankful to be part of this new way of educating, reaching and informing all who are interested.”

To learn more about the MILL, visit www.lifelongmontclair.org/MILL. To donate to the MILL matching grants campaign through Partners for Health Foundation, visit https://partnersfdn.org/mill/.

View a gallery of MILL student paintings at www.lifelongmontclair.org/art

Cheryl Slutzky – Love Your Veggies
Sue Morrocco –
Close up of Green Peppers
Elizabeth Pugh- Close up of Cherry Blossoms
Sharron Allen – Birds in the Sky

T-shirt Sales Support Emergency Funding efforts

Proceeds from the sale of “Montclair Strong” T-shirts have been donated to Partners for Health and will be used for emergency grants to address increased demand at local soup kitchens and food pantries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Pam Scott, Executive Director of the Foundation, said, “We are grateful to the enterprising Montclair High School students who produced and sold these T-shirts. The $500 that was raised will help our neighbors in need when the need has never been greater.”

$80K in Contributions Reached for Toni’s Kitchen!

In late April, three local funders joined the Township of Montclair to address the escalating food need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Partners for Health Foundation, The Schumann Fund for New Jersey, the Montclair Fund for Women and the Township contributed a total of $80,000 to establish a pooled Matching Fund for Toni’s Kitchen. Donations made directly to Toni’s Kitchen by May 31, 2020 were to be matched dollar for dollar up to $80,000 and used to strengthen the availability of food in the local community.

Donations reached the $80,000 mark more than a week ahead of the May 31 deadline! Toni’s Kitchen will receive $160,000 to be used to help the food insecure, thanks to the generosity of the funders and the people of Montclair.

Toni’s Kitchen thanked supporters in its announcement about making the match:

“We are THRILLED to announce that YOU DID IT. We met the match and Toni’s will receive $160,000! Thank you to the funders and to our neighbors. We are so overwhelmed by your generosity!”

Since the closure of schools and businesses due to the pandemic, there have been major disruptions throughout the community. Seniors are isolating, restaurant workers are unemployed, and families are suddenly without income. Toni’s Kitchen has responded by redesigning its work to meet rapidly growing food needs. To put the increased demand for food into perspective, in 2019 Toni’s Kitchen provided an average of 4,300 meals a week. Since March 2020, the number has grown to 16,000 meals each week. And the growth has not slowed.

“This Matching Fund is a game-changer,” said Anne Mernin, Executive Director of Toni’s Kitchen. “Having resources to purchase food and cover our additional refrigeration needs is key. We know the year ahead will be challenging.”

Partners for Health Foundation contributed $30,000 to the Matching Fund. “We’re all stronger when we work together, and we hope the community responds generously to support our neighbors in need, when the need has never been greater,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director.

Learn More

Matching Grant

Just a few weeks ago, Partners for Health, The Schumann Fund for New Jersey, The #Montclair Fund for Women and Montclair Township joined forces to support Toni's and the food insecure #community during this challenging time. They created an $80,000 matching fund and asked the people of Montclair and beyond to help make the match. As of today, we are THRILLED to announce that YOU DID IT. We met the match and Toni's will receive $160,000!!! Thank you to the funders and to our neighbors. We are so overwhelmed by your generosity! #neighborsfeedingneighbors #montclairnj #bloomfield #bloomfieldnj #covid19 #inthistogether

Posted by Toni's Kitchen on Saturday, May 16, 2020

VIRTUAL MONTCLAIR BOUNCE ANNOUNCES SPRING ONLINE OFFERINGS

The second MONTCLAIR Bounce Festival scheduled for this Spring has been postponed indefinitely but organizers are offering online experiences and resources reflecting the Festival’s goals of helping the community sustain itself through life’s ups and downs. These include creative collaborations with local partners, practical information and a virtual place for neighbors to come together.

Upcoming online events include:

Details, registration, viewing and participation information are available at www.montclairbounce.org.  The website also features practical resources on crisis needs and mental health support, as well as on individual and family activities that are both playful and meaningful.

MONTCLAIR Bounce reflects mental health research on ways we can boost our moods and bolster our resilience. The Festival is a project of Toni’s Kitchen, which is playing a central role in addressing food insecurity resulting from COVID-19.

Registration Now Open For MILL “All-Remote” Spring Semester

Registration for the Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning (MILL) launched on schedule on April 6, but participants will find that the timetable is practically the only aspect of the program to remain unchanged from prior semesters.

When the Division of Senior Services/Lifelong Montclair closed Edgemont Park House for programs in early March, staff began investigating ways that programs could continue remotely. Senior Services Coordinator Michelle DeWitt tested platform options with various program groups who regularly met at Edgemont Park. Zoom emerged as the most practical platform.

“Once the platform was determined we reached out to all of our MILL instructors to develop a semester that stays true to the MILL vision, despite the unprecedented situation we are all facing,” said Director of Senior Services/Lifelong Montclair Director Dr. Katie York.

The Montclair Public Library will provide virtual Zoom training for MILL students, and Manhattan Prep is donating a hands-on workshop for the MILL instructors to hone their online teaching skills.

“Our first priority has been making sure our residents are safe and fed,” said Dr. York, referencing the Township’s partnership with Toni’s Kitchen and other community partners to distribute food to older residents. “But we also want to do all we can to prevent social isolation as much as possible. Remote class instruction is a positive step that will help our older residents remain engaged while participating in some truly great learning opportunities.”

By moving to remote classes the MILL is now able to accommodate more students this semester with 14 courses, most of which now have an enrollment capacity of 300. Some classes require a student to view the instructor’s video and while others can be accessed with just a phone. Many classes will be re-aired on Montclair TV34.

Partners for Health Foundation committed additional funding to ensure a smooth transition to all-remote programming.

To learn more about the MILL, visit www.lifelongmontclair.org/MILL.  To donate to the MILL matching grants campaign through Partners for Health Foundation, visit https://partnersfdn.org/mill/.

Montclair and Bloomfield Join Forces to Ensure All Residents Counted

Montclair and Bloomfield are joining forces to form a Complete Count Committee to ensure that the 2020 Census brings appropriate funding and resources to our communities. The Committee will focus on those who are at risk for being significantly undercounted, including very young children, low income residents, people living in multigenerational housing, and others. Montclair and Bloomfield both have multiple census tracts that were undercounted in 2010. 

The 2020 Census, launching on March 12, is the key tool used by the federal government to determine Congressional representation and funding allocations of more than $675 billion in public services including roads, schools and transportation. Conducted once every 10 years, any population undercounts can impact a community for a full decade. 

The Montclair-Bloomfield Complete Count Committee is chaired by Anne Mernin of Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair. The Committee includes representatives from the schools, local government, libraries, local nonprofit organizations and others serving Hard To Count populations. The partnership was formed thanks to the support of Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson and Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia. Grant funding from Partners for Health Foundation is supporting the efforts of the Committee. 

Learn more about the Montclair-Bloomfield Complete Count Committee by visiting their Facebook pages:

https://www.facebook.com/Bloomfield2020CensusCompleteCount
https://www.facebook.com/Montclair2020CensusCompleteCount/

About the 2020 Census

Responding to the 2020 Census will be easy, safe and convenient. Responses will be accepted online, by phone, or by mail. All residents should receive an invitation to respond to the 2020 Census by mail in mid-March. Reminders and a paper questionnaire will be sent by mail in April to those who do not respond online or by phone. In late April, the Census will mail a final reminder notice; following this, a Census taker will follow up in person. 

All responses are confidential and protected by federal law, and Census data is never shared with any law enforcement agency. To learn more, including how the US Census Bureau protects personal information, visit https://2020census.gov/. 

The Census Bureau is also hiring for a wide variety of temporary positions. Starting pay is $20/hr for most positions. For more information, visit https://2020census.gov/en/jobs.html

Double the Value

On a fall day at the Montclair Farmers’ Market, a customer walked up to the market managers’ tent with a $5 bill. But it wasn’t your average $5 bill – it was a Good Food Bucks coupon, part of the Double Bucks program that allows federal food benefit recipients to buy twice as much local produce with their federal food dollars at the Montclair Farmers’ Market, funded by the Partners for Health Foundation.

This customer had found the bill on the ground, and he knew exactly what it was. He had used his own Good Food Bucks earlier in the season to buy fresh produce, and wanting to make sure that the original owner had the same opportunity to buy fresh food as him, he asked the market staff to help him return it to its rightful owner. Before leaving, he remarked, “I know how important these are when you need them.”

In 2011, City Green, a food access and urban farming non-profit based in Clifton, launched the Good Food Bucks program. It allowed people with SNAP or WIC food benefits to buy fresh and organic fruits and vegetables grown right up the street at City Green Farms in Paterson and Clifton. Since its inception, the program has doubled the value of Good Food Buck coupons, so $5 at the local grocery store turns into $10 at a City Green farm stand. Since its founding, the program has expanded rapidly. In 2019 alone, City Green distributed 40,000 pounds of fresh produce to nearly 6,000 customers at 17 locations. To expand the program, City Green launched the Garden State Good Food Network, which brought the program to farmers’ markets across the state. Through City Green’s funding, training, and marketing support, dozens of farmers now sell their produce to federal food benefit recipients, including the Montclair Farmers’ Market, “Our goal is for all SNAP and WIC shoppers in New Jersey to be able to shop at a farmer’s market near their community, and access the same local, high quality produce that their neighbors do” said City Green Executive Director Jennifer Papa.

At the Montclair Farmers’ Market, less than twenty minutes after the man returned the lost Double Bucks coupon, an elderly woman approached the tent asking if anyone had found any bucks at the market. She had lost hers while shopping, and was worried about not being able to afford all the groceries on her list. When the farm stand attendants handed her the returned bucks, her face lit up in joy. “It was a simple moment,” said Adrian Diaz, the Double Bucks Coordinator at the Montclair Farmers’ Market, “but it was very moving.”

“Juicy peaches, glistening cherries, just-picked corn and rainbow-colored carrots are only some of the enticing, fresh fruits and vegetables on offer every Saturday at The Montclair Farmers’ Market. The market is enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors each year, and thanks to the markets’ Double Bucks Program, shoppers of all ages and incomes are welcome to partake of the bounty. Hundreds of our neighbors who otherwise would not be able to shop at the market utilize this program each month. Many tell us how much they now look forward to their shopping experience at our market, thanks to City Green and the support of the Parnters for Health Foundation, The Montclair Farmers’ Market is thrilled to offer affordable access to nutritious, fresh, locally-grown food to seniors and low-income families across our area, while supporting our farmers and local economy.” – Adrian Diaz, Double Bucks Coordinator, Montclair Farmers Market”

Bloomfield College Joins JED Campus to Support Student Mental Health

Bloomfield College to Assess and Enhance Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicide Prevention Efforts in Partnership with The Jed Foundation (JED)

Bloomfield College announced that it has joined JED Campus in support of student well-being and mental health. The program is a nationwide initiative of The Jed Foundation (JED) designed to help schools evaluate and strengthen their mental health, substance misuse and suicide prevention programs and systems to ensure that schools have the strongest possible mental health safety nets.

“There is a critical need for mental health education, substance abuse programs and suicide prevention initiatives across all colleges and universities and Bloomfield College is no exception. Thanks to funding support from Partners for Health Foundation, , we are now connected to The Jed Foundation and participating in JED Campus. With a background in counseling, I know this partnership will enhance our existing efforts to help our students overcome their struggle with mental illness,” said Bloomfield College President, Marcheta P. Evans, Ph.D. 

“The college years are the age when many mental health issues first manifest, and it can be a time of significant stress and pressure,” said John MacPhee, Executive Director of JED. “JED Campus helps schools by working with them to survey everything their university is doing to support their students’ emotional health and find practical ways to augment these efforts in a comprehensive way. We believe that the implementation of a campus-wide approach to mental health will lead to safer, healthier communities, and likely greater student retention.”

Bloomfield College’s membership in JED Campus begins with establishing an interdisciplinary, campus-wide team to assess, support and implement program, policy, and system improvements and completing a confidential, self-assessment survey on its mental health promotion, substance abuse, and suicide prevention efforts. Upon completion of the assessment, JED Campus clinicians provide schools with a comprehensive feedback report identifying successes and opportunities for enhancements. Over the course of four years, Bloomfield College will collaborate with JED to help implement enhancements. All self-assessment responses and feedback reports are confidential.  

Supporting working families through free tax preparation services and financial education

As New Jersey continues to struggle with an economy marked by low-wage jobs, unemployment, foreclosures, and an increasing cost of living, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) remains a crucial lifeline for low-income families. By lifting families out of poverty and giving a boost to local economies, the EITC is a vital tax credit for the more than 600,000 working New Jerseyans who rely on it ‘to make ends meet.’  Unfortunately, many families are unaware that the EITC even exists, or that they are eligible for these tax credits. In other instances, they spend hundreds of dollars paying high cost tax preparers for services that are available for free at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites.

To respond to this need, Partners for Health issued grants to  organizations for the 2020 tax season to provide EITC assistance through tax return preparation, financial literacy classes and targeted outreach to potential clients.

NJCAEF hosted free tax preparation days at the Bloomfield Public Library during the 2019 tax season. By the end of the grant term, NJCAEF provided free tax preparation services to 292 individuals and of those, 66 claimed the state and/or federal Earned Income Tax Credits). In total, $633,715 in refunds were made to the individuals served, with $167,000 in EITC!

Jackie Gifuni-Koutsouris, Partners for Health Foundation, and Naomi Anderson, Director of VITA at New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA), pictured at the 2020 NJCA Tax Season Press Conference & Reception in Newark on February 7th.

United Way of Northern NJ completed 654 tax returns in the PFH service area for the 2019 tax season. Of those, 97 clients received EITC. A total of $166,964 refunds were made in EITC dollars.

United Way of Northern New Jersey hired an outreach coordinator to provide information on free tax preparation services and available tax credits to a wide variety of organizations and the people they employ and serve.  For the 2019 tax season, United Way of Northern NJ provided financial education to 103 individuals in the PFH service area through workshops and one-on-one meetings.


Partners for Health Foundation is proud to partner with these organizations once again this tax season.


City Green’s Farm to Preschool Program Establishes Healthy Eating Habits

Early childhood is the ideal time to establish healthy behaviors, including healthy eating habits. According to the Food and Nutrition Service of the US Department of Agriculture, “Farm to Preschool works to connect early child care and education settings to local food producers with the objectives of serving locally-grown, healthy foods to young children, providing related nutrition education, and improving child nutrition.” The benefits of Farm to Preschool efforts parallel the goals and priorities of the early care and education community including an emphasis on experiential learning opportunities; parent and community engagement; and lifelong health and wellness for children, families and caregivers.

The City Green “Farm to Preschool Program” funded by Partners for Health Foundation was launched in the fall of 2017 at 19 local preschools.  Partner sites chose from a variety of program options that included teacher training, garden design/construction, planting lessons and Veggie Mobile Visits. 

Teacher trainings are a vital component of the program, providing them with the basics of gardening, time to practice seeding, and learning how to maintain and utilize their school’s garden as a valuable lesson tool. During the two-year pilot program, 162 Preschool teachers received training, 23 gardens were built, and more than 2,300 children between the ages of 3 and 5 were impacted.

The preschools City Green targets to work with are in low-income urban school districts with 80-100% free and reduced meal eligibility. While the ultimate goal is to increase procurement and serving of seasonal, local, and regional foods in school meals, this can only be accomplished by first developing student and administrative awareness of where our food comes from; how local foods contribute to healthy bodies and a healthy environment; and to cultivate an educational community that values and celebrates local healthy foods as part of the greater mission of improving our children’s nutrition and health.

Explore the Lenape Trail!

An Official Guide to the Lenape Trail developed by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, is now available to guide exploration of the trail and the parks that it traverses.

The 36-mile Lenape Trail brings visitors to Essex County’s great outdoor destinations by connecting 18 parks and 11 communities. This unique urban-suburban trail is a destination for residents to explore the wide range of healthy outdoor activities found right in our own backyards.  Since 2017, in partnership with the Essex County Park System and with funding support from Partners for Health Foundation, there have been trail reroutes, signage installation, and public workshops that resulted in improved trail visibility and enhanced volunteer recruitment.

The Official Guide to the Lenape Trail includes detailed maps and descriptions of points of interest along the trail, making it valuable for hikers and historians alike. The full guide (or just the sections that are of interest) can be viewed by clicking the “Lenape Trail Guide and Maps” button at LenapeTrail.org.  A hard copy of the guide is also available as a 42-page PDF (see below).  A digital Lenape Trail map can be downloaded through the Avenza Maps app on your mobile device. In addition, an interactive map, perfect for trip planning, is available online.  Information on the app and interactive map can be found through LenapeTrail.org.

Lenape Trail Field Manager Debra Kagan oversaw the creation of this digital guide with input from local museums, historical societies, and nature centers.  The goal is to enrich the trail experience of county residents and attract new hikers, walkers, and volunteers.

KinderSmile Foundation Hosts Inaugural SMILE! Awards Breakfast

KinderSmile Foundation recognized community partners – including Partners for Health Foundation – at the inaugural SMILE! Awards Breakfast, held in October at RWJ Barnabas Clara Maass Medical Center.

First Lady Tammy Murphy gave a keynote address, speaking passionately about her efforts to expose and eradicate the maternal and infant mortality crisis significantly impacting women of color in New JerseyThe event also included recognition of pregnant and newly postpartum mothers who have graduated from the KinderSmile Perinatal Health & Wellness Program. 

In the words of KinderSmile’s Founder and CEO, Nicole McGrath-Barnes, DDS FACD, “Our existing Perinatal Health & Wellness Program would not be successful without the initial support from Partners for Health.  So many mothers are smiling because they are healthier and empowered! This is because of your willingness to support our pilot program in 2016. Mothers leave the program educated on oral disease prevention, and after they deliver, their child has a place to call their Dental Home.”

Pictured above:
Dr. Nicole McGrath-Barnes, center, and First Lady Tammy Murphy (second from right) with Partners for Health Foundation staff (from left):  Jackie Gifuni-Koutsouris, Program Associate; Kathy Smith, Program Director; and Pam Scott, Executive Director.

Annual Turkey Ride to Benefit the Human Needs Food Pantry

Continuing a tradition that began six years ago, the Montclair Bikery 7th Annual Turkey Ride to collect turkeys for the Human Needs Food Pantry will take place on Sunday, November 24, 2019.  Cyclists will meet at the Montclair Bikery at 145 Valley Road at 9 AM and ride a flat, 15-mile circuitous route to the Brookdale Shoprite on Broad Street, Bloomfield where they will buy frozen turkeys, and deliver them (by bike and van) to the Human Needs Food Pantry in Montclair. The Human Needs Food Pantry distributes more than 1,000 turkeys and all the fixings for a Thanksgiving feast to their clients the week of November 19.

Those who are not able to ride on November 24, may still help the Human Needs Food Pantry by making a contribution for turkeys at the Montclair Bikery.  Partners for Health Foundation will match all monetary donations up to $10,000 made between now and November 24. 

Last year, more than 250 cyclists braved the cold, windy weather and bought and donated 350 turkeys to the Human Needs Food Pantry.  Over the last 6 years, the Turkey Ride has collected 1,300 turkeys and raised $125,000 for the Human Needs Food Pantry.  

More information is at www.bikereg.com.

Benefits of Lifelong Learning

The Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning (MILL) fosters opportunities to expand social connections and build knowledge and new skills for adults age 55+.  It is a core program of Lifelong Montclair, part of the Township’s commitment to becoming an age-friendly community. More than 250 classes have been offered since 2015, and there have been 1,500 registrations this year alone.  MILL classes are also free of charge and taught by high-level instructors.

Participating in MILL courses aren’t just for fun – there are tangible benefits to lifelong learning, as demonstrated by MILL student feedback and research.

Lifelong learning increases brain health

“I am 92 years old and always glad to learn something new.”

“The class has helped me realize that I can learn and enjoy something new.”

One study suggested that engaging your brain throughout your life may provide protection against Alzheimer’s disease.  Another suggested that engaging in lifelong learning may improve memory.  And further research demonstrated that ongoing cognitive activity may relate to improved cognitive performance

Lifelong learning expands social connections

“I’ve developed many new friendships with a diverse group of intelligent women!”

“The gathering of people with like-interests has gained me many new friendships!”

“The class is a community with lovely people who I look forward to joining with at every class.”

MILL classes are intentionally multiple weeks long, so new friendships can form and develop.

Lifelong learning improves mental health and reduces stress

“The MILL class has improved my life in many ways. I think I’m calmer, more focused, and certainly have better balance.”

“This class helped me in many ways: to reintroduce me to yoga, which I haven’t done in decades, to increase my physical and mental health and well-being, to ease my transition into semi-retirement and to introduce me to all the wonderful programming that happens through the MILL as well as the other senior programs at Edgemont.”

A study has suggested that lifelong learning may result in improved mental health and emotional resistance.

Lifelong learning builds knowledge and new skills!

“Classes like this help me to dust off and reacquaint with information that I breezed through in school. Now I get to understand and appreciate the importance of why and what occurred during this period of history.”

“In retirement I am exploring art. I learn a little more technique in each class.”

MILL courses offer a chance to discover and revisit topics that didn’t seem important during school and college.  Participation in the MILL is an opportunity to try out new skills for which you didn’t have the capacity at another time in your life.

A Legacy of Support for Nursing Education

Edward A. Smith appreciated the excellent nursing care he received at Mountainside Hospital, and starting in the 1970s he was an ardent supporter of both the hospital and the Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing.  Though he passed away in June of 2003, his legacy to helping students pursue careers in nursing has continued through the Edward A. Smith Memorial Nursing Scholarship. The scholarship is funded annually by contributions from his wife, Ellen Smith.

Mr. Smith was devoted to his family, his church and the community. He had two daughters, Janet and Nancy, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He was born and raised in West Orange, lived in Bloomfield and then moved to Montclair after he married Ellen in 1962.  He spent his entire 40-year career at Prudential Insurance in Newark, starting in the mail room and working his way up to the Human Resources Department.  Mountainside Hospital was the beneficiary of annual matching gifts from Prudential during his tenure there.

Mr. Smith was also very active with the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Bloomfield, and later when the two churches merged, with the Bloomfield Presbyterian Church on the Green.  During the 1950s and 1960s, he served as a Church Deacon, Elder and Clerk of Session.

The Edward A. Smith Memorial Nursing Scholarship was established in 2005, and was awarded each year to a student attending the Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing until the school closed in 2016.  Since then, the scholarship has been awarded through a program established by Partners for Health Foundation through the Independent College Fund of New Jersey.  Scholarships are given to full-time nursing students attending programs at Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Montclair State University, and the Seton Hall University School of Nursing. 

His daughter Janet recalls, “My father spent many days at Mountainside Hospital and he always did well there.  It was only natural that he wanted to support scholarships to help future nurses with their education.”

“Partners for Health Foundation appreciates the generosity of Edward and Ellen Smith, and the scholarships that have helped so many aspiring students to finish their nursing education.  We’re proud to have been part of assuring Ed’s legacy through this scholarship,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director.

Food Pantries in Need of Donations and Volunteers!

This back to school season, we ask you to remember your local food pantries and soup kitchens, who are always in need of help!

There are many ways you can help keep their shelves stocked and kitchens open:

    • Organize a community food drive to collect food

    • Volunteer at a summer feeding programs

    • Collect and donate food for backpacks programs distributed to children and families in need

    • Donate diapers, wipes and feminine products

    • Volunteer to deliver food to the home-bound

    • Donate fruits or vegetables from your own home garden

If you would like to learn more, reach out to any of these local pantries and kitchens.

              

Thank you for making our Annual Golf Tournament a success!

Partners for Health Foundation held its Annual Golf Tournament on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. The event raised more than $75,000 to support local organizations that address Hunger & Homelessness. We would like to extend a warm thank you to all who participated and helped to make it a memorable day!

Special congratulations to the event honoree – John Fromhold, CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center.  John is pictured during the awards program (center) with, from left:  Chris Petermann, Partners for Health Board Chair; Co Bertsche, Partners for Health Leadership Advisory Council; John Kelly, Chair, Partners for Health Golf Committee; and Pam Scott, Executive Director, Partners for Health.

To learn more about the tournament, click here to view the Event Program.

Partners for Health Golf Outing 2019

Click on the photo above to access the Golf Tournament photo album!

Summer Learning and Lunch Program at Montclair Public Library

Montclair Public Library Foundation will continue its summer feeding program for Montclair’s youth. The Summer Learning and Lunch Program is the result of a collaboration among Montclair Public Library, Partners for Health Foundation and Toni’s Kitchen.

Going into its third year, this program is meeting a real need in the Montclair community as evidenced by the 2,867 lunches served last summer.  Six out of ten public schools in Montclair are designated as Title 1 schools, indicating a high percentage of children are from low-income families. For the 2018-19 school year, 1,064 students – 16% of the Montclair district – qualified for reduced-fee or free lunch. But during the summer when school is not in session, many of those children do not have access to lunch. This program meets a critical need to offer a nutritious lunch in a non-stigmatizing community-accepted environment.

Toni’s Kitchen will provide a healthy brown bag lunch which will include a sandwich, fruit, and a dessert. Lunches will be served Monday through Friday from July 1-August 30. No applications are necessary to drop in and all children and teens are welcome. Along with lunch, reading and educational enrichment activities will also be offered.

”Montclair’s Library is going far beyond its historic role as merely a place to house books,” stated Library Director Peter Coyl. “We embrace our responsibility to meet a broad array of community needs, especially for those most vulnerable.”

Libraries are abuzz with children all year round, but especially as they fill the gap for schools to provide summertime learning through popular reading programs. The lunch, along with positive enrichment activities, will help ensure kids return to school healthy and ready to learn.

This program is funded by a grant from Partners for Health Foundation.

Videos featuring the 2018 Community Impact Awardees

To celebrate our 10th anniversary in 2018, Partners for Health Foundation awarded 10 Community Impact Awards, and grants totaling $100,000, to recognize nonprofit organizations and individuals making a significant difference in the health and well-being of local communities. 

Watch the videos below to hear how Community Impact Awardees are making a difference in their communities.


Mario Szuchman, MD, Zufall Health


KinderSmile Foundation


Wally Weikert, Family Service League


Mary Rossettini, Clifton Homeless Task Force


Connections at Home


Carolyn Lack, Aging in Montclair


Ann Lippel, Montclair Senior Citizens Advisory Committee


Katie York, Lifelong Montclair


YMCA of Montclair


Human Needs Food Pantry


Anne Mernin, Toni’s Kitchen


City Green


Adele Katz, Sister to Sister



Montclair Art Museum – Art Party Luncheon

Montclair Art Museum hosted its annual spring fundraising events last week with the Art Party Luncheon and the Art Party Evening. These events support the Museum’s exhibitions, the Vance Wall Art Education Center, and engaging diverse audiences from across the region. Beth Hart, Director of Development, says about the event, “This annual fundraiser serves as a big thank you to our supporters and funds our many community programs.”

Montclair Art Museum holds a renowned collection of American and Native American art from the last 300 years. It’s also home to The Vance Wall Art Education Center which is responsible for the Museum’s educational efforts including classes, lectures and talks, family events, tours, and the MAM Art Truck.

Margo Walter and Patti Elliott served as the overall Event Co-Chairs.

 “These events are a critical lifeline of support that enables MAM to present the ambitious scope of exhibitions and programs each year,” says Ms. Walter. “The Art Party will present a festive series of events all in the spirit of celebrating the impact of the Museum in our community and honoring this community space as a welcoming, accessible, and inspiring place for people of all ages,” adds Ms. Elliott

Partners for Health Foundation is humbled to have been chosen as this year’s honoree at the Art Party Luncheon on May 16, 2019.  Partners for Health Foundation’s vision to help make the 15 communities weserve in Essex and Passaic counties healthier, better places to live. The luncheon was co-chaired by Susann Connors and Janice Linaugh.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Foundation’s mission and vision for our community!

S.O.F.I.A.’s Teen Healthy Relationship Workshop Leaves a Lasting Impression

Teens and young people experience abuse in intimate relationships at disproportionately high levels. Continuing the work reflected in the Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (S.O.F.I.A.) tag-line, “With Awareness There is Hope,” the non-profit’s Teen Safe Dating and Healthy Relationship Workshops ensure that young people learn about the warning signs, negative effects, and strategies to help themselves and their peers develop healthy intimate relationships in an interactive and relatable environment.

Presenters, who are trained as Domestic Violence Response Team members, use examples from social media, celebrity news, real life, and even their own experiences to share recognizable situations that delve deeper than cut and dry lists and consequences. Materials are used to supplement and encourage the interactive style of each workshop. With an emphasis on a non-judgmental and inclusive focus, participants take a “quiz” that includes surprising statistics and read aloud from Tweets that emphasize the range included in abusive relationships as well as the reasons some victims may choose to stay in an unhealthy situation.

“After every workshop, we have a few participants approach us with concerns for a friend or family member,” shares Kristin Wald, a regular workshop leader. “It’s clear that helping young people recognize and name abusive behaviors is incredibly important.”

An often moving moment in the Teen Safe Dating workshops is the final activity, when every participant stands and recites a pledge to value a partner’s boundaries, as well as their own, whether they are physical, emotional, sexual, financial or digital. “Even teens who don’t take it seriously can understand the impact of the words,” said Cynthia Walker, S.O.F.I.A.’s founder, “Our goal is to build awareness, and by reciting and reading the Pledge, we know each teen has experienced its meaning. As have their peers.”

The S.O.F.I.A. Teen Safe Dating Workshop has been presented to small groups, classes, and even in auditorium presentations. The values shared and awareness that Love is Respect resonate with both the young people and the adults in their lives. It is not unusual for S.O.F.I.A. to receive requests for repeat workshops and presentations that continue the themes discussed. The Teen Safe Dating and Healthy Relationship workshops help S.O.F.I.A. promote that truly, “With Awareness There is Hope.” By Kristin Wall, S.O.F.I.A. Teen Dating/Outreach Presenter

Learn more about S.O.F.I.A. at https://supportsofia.org/

“Beyond the Silence” Film Screening and Q & A with Filmmaker Michael Barbee

Toni’s Kitchen and the YMCA of Montclair have partnered to launch Montclair Bounce (https://montclairbounce.org/), a week-long festival that will explore opportunities and resources to strengthen emotional health and connections within the community.  Partners for Health will co-present a screening of Beyond the Silence during the BOUNCE festival on:

Thursday, June 6th @ 7:00 PM
505 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair

Beyond the Silence is a feature-length, suspense movie that is loosely based on the novel Clipped Wings They Do Fly by William Michael Barbee. The movie highlights the life of Billy Ray Michaels, who suffers from multiple personality disorder, compounded with schizophrenia.  He finds himself on trial for murder for a crime he does not remember committing. Billy Ray is entangled in a world of confusion which, unbeknownst to him, he created. 

More details are at:  https://montclairbounce.org/signature-events/2019/6/6/beyond-the-silence-film-screening-and-q-amp-a-with-filmmaker-michael-barbee

Ticket information is forthcoming.

Partners for Health receives award at Senior Citizen Prom

The Township of Bloomfield hosted a Hollywood-themed prom for Bloomfield and Glen Ridge Senior citizens on Friday, May 3.  The event was sponsored by the Neighbor to Neighbor Network, the Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services, and Bloomfield College Nursing Students.

Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health Foundation, was presented with an award in recognition of the Foundation’s continued support.  She is pictured (center) with (from left):  Councilwoman Sarah B. Cruz, Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia, United States Senator Bob Menendez, and Councilman Nicholas Joanow.

Neil Greenstein, owner of Brookdale ShopRite, was also recognized at the event.

Take the KINDNESS Challenge!

Partners for Health is proud to be a sponsor of Montclair Film’s KINDNESS Challenge, taking place throughout the Film Festival (May 3 – 12, 2019). 

Research shows that even the smallest acts of kindness can lift a person’s spirits.  Kindness, together with empathy, forges a path forward even when we disagree with another’s behavior or beliefs. This is the thinking behind the KINDNESS Campaign, which will engage school-age children throughout Montclair via assemblies and free screenings. Following the screenings, students will participate in extended conversation around the issues raised in the films.

Students will also be encouraged to “Take the KINDNESS Challenge” and share random acts of kindness on social media.

Images that exemplify kindness will be displayed around Montclair during the festival to engage the entire community in this intergenerational project.

Click here to explore the Kindness Kit.

Verona Brownie Troop Visits Toni’s Kitchen

On April 3, 2019 the Brookdale Avenue School (Verona, NJ) 3rd grade Brownie Troop had the opportunity to learn more about the work of Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair. 

Anne Mernin, Executive Director of Toni’s Kitchen, and Jessica from her staff spoke to the girls about the work of Toni’s, answered their many questions and shared with them information about how to volunteer with Toni’s in the future.  The troop donated oatmeal and raisins for Toni’s healthy backpack program along with 15 boxes of girl scout cookies that were donated through their cookie booth sale.

Thank you for your support of Toni’s Kitchen!

Seniors in Taxis Program Revived

Through a Community Impact Awards from the Partners for Health Foundation grant the township will revive its Seniors in Taxis program that ended the first of the year.

With the $6,600 grant, the township will partner with the Ryde4Life program to offset Seniors in Taxis.

Effective immediately, Montclair residents, age 55 or older, will be able to access a credit for Uber/Lyft rides through EZ Ride’s Ryde4Life program. Ryde4Life facilitates Uber/Lyft rides. To participate one just needs a cell phone (doesn’t have to be a smartphone) and a credit or debit card.  Sign up for an account by calling 201-939-4242, ext. 4 or visit ryde4life.org. There is an annual fee of $15.

Once you have an account, you can call to get a ride right away. Evening and weekend hours are also available.  

And thanks to the Community Impact Awards funding, the first 100 Montclair seniors who sign up will get a $50 credit: $15 to cover the annual fee and $35 in ride credits.  

In November, Ann Lippel, chair of Montclair’s Senior Citizens Advisory Committee (SCAC), and Katie York, Montclair’s director of Senior Services/Lifelong Montclair, received the grant. They decided to pool their award money and use it to improve transportation options for Montclair’s older residents.   

EZ Ride is also the operator of the Montclair Senior Bus, a free transportation option for Montclair residents ages 55+ and residents of any age with disabilities.

Montclair BOUNCE, A Festival of Optimism and Resilience, Coming Spring 2019

Toni’s Kitchen will partner with The YMCA of Montclair to launch MONTCLAIR BOUNCE: A Festival of Optimism and Resilience, May 31 to June 7, 2019.

The first-annual BOUNCE Festival will explore everyday opportunities and oft-unnoticed resources to strengthen emotional health and connections to the community. This townwide, playful adventure will also do the serious work of offering essential practices and vital connections.

Sample events include: Blue Plate Bounce, an arts-infused outdoor community meal, Been There — And Back, a moveable feast of diverse and seasoned life experts and Here, There and Everywhere: Nature, Exercise & Spirituality, forays into Montclair’s mind/body/soul resources. In addition, readings and speaker panels; dance and theater performances and even a Happy Mapping Montclair project are planned for the week.

“This collaboration between Toni’s Kitchen and the Montclair YMCA is a natural fit,” said Anne Mernin, Executive Director of Toni’s Kitchen. “Both organizations recognize the connection between physical and emotional health and design programming to strengthen them.”

Montclair Bounce events will reflect research-based keys to promoting optimism and resilience including acting with empathy, confronting fears, fostering positive relationships, and community alliances. The Festival will bring together a range of organizations and groups to develop and curate the weeks’ activities.

“Opportunities for optimism and resilience can be found in everyday places and in people all around us,” says Buddy Evans, executive firector of the Montclair Y. “Montclair Bounce will tap into those resources to enrich all our lives.”

Bounce events will be accessible to all. Funds raised will support ongoing programming at the YMCA of Montclair and Toni’s Kitchen designed to build emotional health and resilience.

For more information on MONTCLAIR BOUNCE, visit www.montclairbounce.org.

Clifton participates in point in time count, providing services to those most in need

On January 23, 2019 Clifton participated for the first time in its own annual statewide homeless point in time count, held every January. A task force was formed last fall, and among the goals it laid out was getting an estimate of the homeless population. On this day, free services were provided to those in need at the Catherine A. Rowe Transitional Housing Program.


From Left to Right: Kevin Donahue, St. Peter’s Haven; Jennifer Kidd, Clifton Health Department; Kate Kelly, Monarch Housing; Mary Rossettini, Clifton Homeless Task Force; and James Anzaldi, Clifton City Mayor.


Visitors to the center were provided breakfast or lunch, and had the opportunity to utilize many of the free services, including: clothing, haircuts, health screenings, as well as information on housing, social security, mental health services, veteran services and more. In total, 19 individuals were reached on this day.

“The event shows what can happen when a community comes together to end homelessness. St. Peter’s Haven is committed to inviting everyone in Clifton to join the movement against hunger and homelessness,” said Kevin Donahue.

We would like to extend a special thank you to all the organizations that were involved in this event:

• Adult Family Health Services
• Assurance Wireless
• Catholic Family and Community Services
• Clifton Department of Public Works
• Clifton Fire Department
• Clifton Health Department
• Clifton Homeless Task Force
• Clifton Police Department
• Collaborative Support Programs
• Eva’s Village Recovery Community Center
• Hackensack Meridian Health
• Hair Ambition
• Monarch Housing
• North Hudson Community Action FQHC
• Passaic County Board of Social Services
• Passaic County One-Stop
• Paterson Coalition for Housing
• St. Peter’s Haven


A Fond Farewell to Trustees Leaving our Board!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the December Board meeting, Chris Petermann, Chair, praised the tremendous contributions of three members who are leaving the Partners for Health Board on December 31, 2018.

 

Fred Guterl who served as a Trustee from mid-2016 through 2018, was an active and thoughtful member of the Nominating and Grants Committees.  He was instrumental in planning the 10 Year Anniversary Celebration, serving as Chair of the Communications Committee and as a member of the Awards Selection Committee.  In addition to his unique perspective and flair with words, Fred contributed his musical talents, performing with the “Fred Guterl Jazz Quartet” at a Board social gathering in the spring of 2018.

John Kelly holds the unique distinction of being the last Trustee who previously served on the Mountainside Hospital Foundation Board.  He was re-elected to the Foundation Board in 2012 following a one-year hiatus.  John was honored for his immeasurable contributions at the Foundation’s 2018 Golf Tournament, which he’s chaired since 2013 and will continue to chair in 2019.  John served as a Board Officer, most recently as Treasurer, and was an active member of the Development and Finance Committees.  Through his lovely wife, Patrice, the Foundation has supported the A Lot to Grow gardens, which grow and donate fresh produce to local food pantries and soup kitchens.

Kevin Rendino has been a true leader during his time as a Trustee (2011-2018), including the years when he served as only the third Board Chair of the Foundation from 2013 through 2017.  In April 2016, Kevin was honored with an EPIC Award as one of the “Exceptional People Impacting our Communities” by the New Jersey Institute for Nursing, in recognition of his leadership in making our communities healthier.   During his tenure, the Foundation awarded nearly $6 million in grants!

We thank all of you for your service!

Foundation marks 10th anniversary by honoring community partnership and collaboration

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Partners for Health Foundation awarded 10 Community Impact Awards, and grants totaling $100,000, to recognize nonprofit organizations and individuals making a significant difference in the health and well-being of local communities. The awardees were selected from 65 nominations that cited contributions in areas such as hunger, homelessness, chronic disease prevention, oral health, and mental health. The awards were presented at a celebratory event emceed by Jim Axelrod, Senior National Correspondent for CBS News.

“Each of the awardees has an amazing story to tell about what inspired them, what they have been able to accomplish, and what they aspire to achieve. We are honored to partner with them to accomplish even more,” said Pam Scott, Partners for Health Foundation’s executive director. “Their collective stories portray dedicated advocates, volunteers, caregivers, unsung heroes and leaders, along with the tens of thousands of lives they touch.”

The Partners for Health Foundation 2018 Community Impact Awardees are:

  • Mario Szuchman, MD, Zufall Health, West Orange – Access to Health

  • KinderSmile Foundation, Bloomfield – Oral Health

  • Wally Weikert, Family Service League, Montclair – Mental Health

  • Mary Rossettini, Clifton Homeless Task Force – Homelessness Prevention

  • Connections at Home, Verona – Aging in Place

  • Carolyn Lack, Aging in Montclair; Ann Lippel, Montclair Senior Citizens Advisory Committee;

    and Katie York, Lifelong Montclair – Aging in Place

  • YMCA of Montclair – Chronic Disease Prevention (Healthy Eating and Active Living)

  • Human Needs Food Pantry, Montclair; and Anne Mernin, Toni’s Kitchen, Montclair –

    Hunger Prevention

  • City Green – Chronic Disease Prevention (Healthy Eating and Active Living)

  • Adele Katz, Sister to Sister, Montclair – Youth Resiliency

The Board of Trustees of Partners for Health Foundation also presented its 10-Year Anniversary Founder’s Award to longtime Board member Paul A. Lisovicz of Glen Ridge, who served as a Trustee from 2005-2015 and Board Chair from 2009-2013. The Founder’s Award recognizes an individual whose efforts significantly shaped the Foundation through commitment, innovation, professional expertise, philanthropy and overall leadership.

Partners for Health Foundation fosters collaboration among nonprofits so that, together, they can increase positive health outcomes in the communities they serve. A key focus provides access to healthy food and physical activity as a way to prevent chronic disease. The Foundation also supports the issues of homelessness, aging, mental health, community safety and more. Since 2008, Partners for Health Foundation has awarded more than $12 million through 341 grants to 132 organizations.

Click here to view the event photo gallery

Learn more about each awardee here

Founder’s Award: Paul A. Lisovicz honored for leadership of the Foundation

Partners for Health Foundation’s Board of Trustees presented its 10-Year Anniversary Founder’s Award to longtime Board member Paul A. Lisovicz, who served as a Trustee from 2005-2015 and Board Chair from 2009-2013.

The Founder’s Award was established to recognize an individual whose efforts significantly shaped the Foundation through commitment, innovation, professional expertise, philanthropy and overall leadership. The award was presented on November 29, 2018, when the Foundation also recognized 10 Community Impact Awardees who are making extraordinary contributions to health and well-being.

Paul Lisovicz was elected the Foundation’s second Board Chair shortly after it had begun to operate as an independent public charity and had made its first community health grants in 2008. During his tenure as Chair, Paul guided Partners for Health through its formative years. He was also the first Chair of the Board’s Trusteeship Committee when it was established in 2014. He remains active as a former Trustee, serving on the Partners for Health Golf Committee that raises funds to support the Foundation’s mission, and its Leadership Advisory Council.

Chris Petermann, current Board Chair, and Kevin Rendino, who served as Chair from 2014-2017, noted that, “Paul was instrumental in transitioning Partners for Health to its new mission. We are delighted to recognize him for his past and continuing contributions.”

“I’ve known Paul on a personal and professional level for more than 25 years. He has a great understanding of what public service means and is deeply committed to positively impacting the community,” adds John Kelly, Board Treasurer and Chair of the Golf Committee. “Paul helped shape the Foundation into what it is today, collaborating seamlessly with Trustees and staff with a level of integrity that was universally appreciated and respected.”

Paul is a Partner at the law firm of Kinney Lisovicz Reilly & Wolff PC. His practice is concentrated in the areas of product liability and commercial litigation. He resides with his wife, Joan, in Glen Ridge, NJ, where they raised their three children, Jessica, Edan and Phillip, and where Paul has been a member of the Borough Council for the past 12 years.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to receive the Founder’s Award, especially during this milestone anniversary year,” says Paul Lisovicz. “I’m proud to have been part of the development of Partners for Health, proud of what we accomplished during my tenure, and most of all, proud that the Foundation has developed a reputation as an anchor institution addressing the health of our community.”

New floors at MCDC helping children to Breathe Easy

With a grant from Partners for Health Foundation, the Montclair Child Development Center has been able to remove carpet and install child-friendly, non-porous floors at their Montclair school. More than 10% of the children who attend MCDC have asthma and more than 25% have allergies, both of which cause labored breathing at times.  These children are absent from school twice as often as their peers who do not suffer from these chronic medical conditions.  Absence from school impacts the child’s learning, and children who are chronically absent do not learn as much or as well as their peers. 

The non-porous floors were installed in time for the beginning of the 2018 school year, and MCDC has already heard praise and appreciation from families and staff. Many returning parents have expressed how much healthier the environment is with the change in the flooring. “I am so grateful for the new floors because they make the room breathable and fresh,” said one parent. A returning student observed, “Everything is new in the classroom.”

Chanel, pictured above, said she likes the new floor. Her mom expressed how fresh and new it looked in the building.

“For our first month of school, the attendance rate for children with asthma and allergies was 91% which is a marked improvement from 89%. We are striving for 94% by December 2018”, said Susan Chaberski, Deputy Director of Finance at MCDC.

The Montclair Child Development Center, Inc (MCDC) is a private non-profit 501(c)3 corporation that has provided quality early childhood education for over 45 years.  Today, MCDC represents more than four decades of providing Head Start and Early Head Start services to low income families.  MCDC is dedicated to serving families living at or below the federal poverty level who live in Montclair, Bloomfield, Belleville, Orange, and West Orange.  Learn more at http://www.mcdcnj.org/

ChangingAging Tour is coming to Montclair!

Renowned geriatrician and visionary Dr. Bill Thomas’s ChangingAging tour is coming to northern New Jersey! The tour kicks off in Ridgewood on November 7th and continues in Montclair for two live “nonfiction theater” stage productions on November 8th.

Featuring Dr. Bill Thomas, international recording artist Samité and reggae legend Nate Silas Richardson, the tour explores the second half of life by blending storytelling, live music, theater, mythology, breathtaking visual art with medical science.

Addressing local hunger through Breakfast After the Bell

More than 13 million kids in the country go to school hungry, and hunger detracts from their ability to focus on learning during the school day. That’s why Partners for Heath Foundation is taking action to make sure children in Northern New Jersey get a healthy breakfast this school year.

Our very own Kathy Smith was at CBS-TV New York, and Pam Scott at Jersey Matters (WJLP-TV) talking about Breakfast After the Bell in NJ. 

“If a child is hungry, they may present with headaches or stomach aches, more visits to the nurse, or they just act out and they don’t even know why. They’re hungry,” Program Director Kathy Smith told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes and Cindy Hsu.

Watch the videos below to learn about local efforts to ensure students have the healthy start they need to succeed in school!

 

 

New Jersey Healthy Communities Network Blog

The New Jersey Healthy Communities Network’s Community Grants Program brings together local, regional, and statewide funders, leaders and partners to support communities in implementing healthy eating and active living strategies to advance environment, policy and system changes.

Since 2011, the NJHCN Community Grants Program has provided $3.2 million in grants.

Partners for Health Foundation is proud to be supporting 7 organizations through this initiative. 

  • Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services
  • Boys & Girls Club of Clifton 
  • Caldwell Health and Human Services
  • Center for Family Resources
  • New JErsey Anti-Hunger Coalition
  • Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges
  • Township of Montclair

To learn about the great work our partners are doing through NJHCN, read their blogs at: www.njhcn.org/funders/partners-for-health-foundation/ 

Toni’s Kitchen’s Summer Love Food Program

Toni’s Kitchen’s Summer Love Food Program, running from June 25 through August 31, works to ensure local children at summer camps, preschools, libraries and sports programs are well fed all summer long.

Summer can be a tough time for low-income families. As school closes, breakfast and lunch programs that children rely on disappear. Working families find themselves facing increased food costs as well as the expense of covering childcare or summer camps. It’s a hefty impact for families that are already stretched.

Toni’s Kitchen is working with dozens of community partner programs throughout the summer months to ensure healthy food is available where children gather. Brown bag lunches with healthy sandwiches and fresh fruit are available at the Montclair and Bloomfield public libraries as well as summer programs throughout our local area. Backpacks filled with healthy staples – oatmeal, tuna, raisins, etc. – are also going home with children enrolled in local preschool and tutoring programs. Keeping kids healthy and growing in safe affordable programs builds resilience for families.

These initiatives are supported by Partners for Health Foundation, as well as Nicolos Italian Bakery and Deli which provides of fresh bread for the sandwiches.

2018 Golf Tournament Honoree: John F. Kelly, President & CEO, Frenkel & Company

Partners for Health recognized John F. Kelly for his leadership of the 2018 Golf outing, an event he has chaired since 2013.  Through the generous sponsorship of Frenkel & Company – and so many others – the Tournament has raised more than $1.1 million since John joined the Foundation Board in 2005.

John has more than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry and founded the Frenkel National Accounts Department in 1985.  Over the past 35 years, John has worked extensively in both the domestic and London markets and has enhanced Frenkel’s reputation in the French market with both insurers and brokers.  In 2001, John led the management buyout of Frenkel’s ESOP and returned Frenkel & Company to private ownership.  As President and CEO, he remains actively involved in the more complex accounts within Frenkel.  He is a member and past president of the New York Chapter of the Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters. 

In addition to serving as a Trustee of Partners for Health, John is on the Insurance Executive Board of the Atlantic Health System, a Director of A Lot to Grow, a Council Member at the University of Notre Dame for the College of Arts and Letters, and a Board Member of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation.  

John and his wife, Dr. Patrice Kelly, Founder and Executive Director of A Lot to Grow, reside in Glen Ridge and New York City.

In Response to Suburban Hunger… More than $600,000 in Fresh Produce Grants!

As suburban poverty has risen, more and more local residents have struggled to put food on the table.  Soup kitchens and food pantries report sharp increases in demand for their services, while their usual sources of support cannot keep up with increased demand for food.  Partners for Health Foundation launched its fresh produce grants program in response to this growing crisis.  The grants emerged from a three-meeting “hunger” colloquium sponsored by the Foundation in 2009.

According to Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health, “Fresh produce grants are part of the Foundation’s strategy to fight local hunger, and we’re proud to have awarded $656,164 since the program was launched. She adds, “This effort is vital.  Inadequate intake of costly fruits and vegetables is prevalent among all Americans, but particularly so among low income populations, who also experience higher rates of chronic health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.”

Produce grants are currently awarded to these pantries and kitchens in Montclair:  Human Needs Food Pantry, Salvation Army, Toni’s Kitchen, and Seventh Day Adventist Pantry and Meal Program.  St. Peter’s Haven Family Shelter and Healthy Food Pantry in Clifton also receives funding.

Soup kitchens and food pantries report on the impact the grants are making:

At Toni’s Kitchen, funds ensure that fresh vegetables and fruits are served at every meal, and that guests can be given produce to take with them for later in the week.  Toni’s also sends 10 bags of produce into one of the local schools on a weekly basis.  The bags are then placed in the classrooms for children who have ‘forgotten’ to bring a snack.  Anne Mernin, Director of Outreach, adds, “Because the fruit is set out for all of the children, its availability is normalized and there is no stigma or shame in reaching for something.”

Michele Kroeze, Business Manager of The Salvation Army, says, “With this grant, we’re able to serve our guests better quality meals throughout the year.  On Thanksgiving Day, we provide more than 1,200 meals on site and through delivery to area shelters, senior housing facilities and to housebound individuals.  Side dishes for these meals are now made entirely with fresh vegetables

Rev. Peter DeFranco of St. Peter’s Haven Family Shelter and Healthy Food Pantry notes the produce grants led to a collaborative venture with NJ SNAP Ed, a nutritional program offered through Rutgers University to low-income SNAP participants.  The program has helped clients to identify and adopt changes leading to a healthier lifestyle.  “We’ve seen a shift in our clients’ perspective on how fresh produce can benefit them and their families.”

Many who visit the food pantry at the First Seventh Day Adventist Church of Montclair are now eating a more balanced diet.  “We’re encouraged to see that food recipients recognize the importance of eating vegetables and fruits and that they are gradually able to move away from preprocessed foods,” says Pastor Paula Olivier.

The Human Needs Food Pantry continues to see increases in the number of clients and currently serves an average of 1,700 people each week.  “The Partners for Health grants cover nearly half of our yearly produce expenses,” says Mike Bruno, Executive Director.  “We are more than grateful for this budget relief and simply would not be able to keep up if not for their generous support.”

A volunteer prepares bags of fresh produce for distribution to clients of the Human Needs Food Pantry.

 

 

Adding Advocacy to the Toolbox Event

On Wednesday, June 13th Partners for Health hosted a nonprofit advocacy learning session at the Van Vleck House and Gardens. About 50 individuals representing nonprofit organizations from the Foundation’s service area attended this event.

The panel discussion, led by John Mooney, Chief Executive Officer & Founding Editor of NJ Spotlight, touched on best practices and successful advocacy stories in the field. The panelists included:

  • Brandon McKoy, Director of Government and Public Affairs, New Jersey Policy Perspective
  • Kate Kelly, Associate, Monarch Housing Associates
  • Cecilia Zalkind, President & Chief Executive Officer, Advocates for Children of New Jersey

Thank you to all who attended and our panelists for making this such a successful event!

Community Partnership Award

Partners for Health was recognized with The Salvation Army Montclair Citadel “Community Partnership Award” at the 12th Annual Coffee and a Cause event on Thursday, May 3, 2018.  The award was presented to Pam Scott, Executive Director of the Foundation by Major Kevin Stoops and Michele Kroeze, Business Manager of the Salvation Army.

 

Guest speakers at the program included Commissioner Jim Knaggs, who completed his appointment as The Salvation Army’s Territorial Commander for the USA Western Territory in December 2016, and Detective Sergeant Charlie Cunningham, who supervises the Vice Crimes Unit at the Montclair Police Department.  Pam Scott also shared an overview of the work of Partners for Health.

 

The Salvation Army Montclair Citadel has provided a continuum of care to the homeless and disadvantaged in our community for more than 35 years. Operating since 2009 in a newly constructed facility on Trinity Place, The Salvation Army Montclair Citadel serves Essex County in the provision of emergency services to the homeless and imminently homeless which include, but are not limited to: shelter for the homeless, drop in center services, shower program, utility and rental assistance, food pantry, furniture and clothing assistance, congregate feeding, information and referral services, counseling and support services.

 

“Speak Out!” Award presented at Montclair Film Festival Emerging Filmmaker Competition

Montclair Film Festival’s Emerging Filmmaker, co-presented by Partners for Health Foundation and Gelotti, celebrates the work of local filmmakers in two filmmaking sections:  Storytellers (Grades 6-8) and Visionaries (Grades 9-12). These films represent a wide range of styles and voices that showcase the diverse talents of young people who are using cinema to tell their stories. Categories include narrative, comedy, documentary, and experimental films.

Awards were presented in each of these categories, as well as for films that make a social impact, and a new Partners for Health Foundation “Speak Out!” Award.

“Our sponsorship provides a platform to showcase young voices through film, a theme the Foundation launched in 2016 that supports our mental health/youth resiliency focus area,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health.

Click here for a full list of 2018 Emerging Filmmaker Competition Awards recipients, and view a photo gallery of the Award presentation ceremony.

Partners for Health Foundation to receive award for summer lunch program at Montclair Public Library

The New Jersey Library Association will award Partners for Health Foundation the 2018 Library Service Award for their funding of health related programs at the Montclair Public Library.  The award will be presented at the New Jersey Library Association Annual Conference awards ceremony on Thursday, May 31 from 6-8 pm at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City.

 

In 2017, Partners for Health Foundation helped fund a number of health-related programs at the Montclair Public Library, including a summer lunch program designed to feed children who did not have access to the free and reduced lunch program due the summer break from school.  Around 15% of Montclair Public School students are eligible for the government sponsored lunch program.  Funding from Partners for Health Foundation provided summer library staff who organized and served the lunches donated by Toni’s Kitchen.  In the ten weeks the program was active the Library served 2,383 lunches to children.

 

“The summer lunch program fills an important need, ensuring children from low-income families can return to school in the fall ready to learn.  We are proud to support this innovative collaboration between the Montclair Public Library and Toni’s Kitchen,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director, Partners for Health Foundation.

 

Thanks to continued funding from Partners for Health Foundation and the generosity of Toni’s Kitchen the Library will again be serving lunches to children from June 25 to August 31, 2018.

 

“It’s so exciting to see Partners for Health recognized in this way. This partnership with the Montclair Public Library, Toni’s Kitchen and the Foundation provides a model for keeping low-income children engaged, healthy and learning throughout the summer months,” said Anne Mernin, Executive Director of Toni’s Kitchen.

 

“We are grateful to Partners for Health Foundation for their support of the Library and the children of Montclair.  We were honored to nominate them and recognize all they do to help promote health and wellness in our community,” added Peter Coyl, Director of Montclair Public Library.

 

PARTNERS FOR HEALTH WELCOMES NEW TRUSTEE

Partners for Health is pleased to welcome Tom Creaser as a new Trustee. Tom is a finance, operations and strategy executive presently serving as Vice President of Finance and Operations for Jazz House Kids, Inc., the Montclair-based nonprofit arts organization, which helps transform the lives of K-12 students via year-round education that develops musical potential, enhances leadership/life skills and strengthens academic performance. Tom’s for-profit experience includes senior finance, operations and strategy roles in the media industry with the Walt Disney Company, CBS and in media investment banking. Tom is a graduate of the College of Holy Cross and Columbia Business School. He and his wife, Mary, and their three children live in Montclair.

 

Montclair Film presents Slam My Story!

Presents

Slam My Story!

Premiers Sunday, March 18, 2018

Everyone has a unique story to tell. Slam My Story! gives high school students an opportunity to share their own individual story and/or college essay. Submit your story and you may be chosen to read or perform LIVE at Montclair Film’s Cinema505 during the Montclair Literary Festival on Sunday, March 18th. The top performers will go on to perform LIVE at Montclair Film’s adult StorySlam at the Wellmont Theater on Saturday, April 28th as part of the Montclair Film Festival. Selected stories will also help launch Montclair Film’s NEW podcast series!

For Questions, please call: 973-705-0813​

Slam My Story! is an ongoing series. If your story is not selected for the premier on March 18th, you will be included for consideration at the next Slam My Story!

This program is sponsored, in part, by a grant from

Operation Blue Angel to give Montclair senior residents more peace of mind

The Montclair Police Department, Montclair Fire Department, and Montclair Ambulance Unit have collaborated through Lifelong Montclair, the Township’s aging in place initiative, to give our senior residents more peace of mind.  “Operation Blue Angel” is intended to provide Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) access to a residence in the event of an emergency where the resident is unable to open the door. 

As part of funding from the Partners for Health Foundation, eligible residents will be provided with a free lock box.  The key, provided by the applicant, will be stored in the secure lock box near the entrance to their residence. The access code to the lock box will only be available to first responder personnel and used only during an emergency. The Community Service Unit (CSU) supervisor will assign an officer from the unit to respond to the applicant residence to recode the lockbox. Whenever the lock box is entered during the hours when the CSU is not available dispatch will send an email and voicemail to the supervisor of the CSU advising him/her of the incident.  The applicant and/or the emergency contact person listed on their application will be provided with the new code. The new code will transmit to dispatch via email and logged by the Lock Box Coordinator.

To be eligible to enroll in “Operation Blue Angel” lock box program, Montclair residents should meet the following requirements: they must be 55 years or older or have medical conditions that could lead to incapacitation and live alone or are alone for extended periods of time on a regular basis.

To learn more about the program or to apply, click here. 

Christopher Petermann elected Board Chair

The Trustees of the Partners for Health Foundation have elected a new Board Chair, Christopher Petermann, effective January 1, 2018.  He replaces Kevin Rendino, who had been Chair from 2014-2017. 

Chris is a partner at PFK O’Connor Davies, LLP, an accounting and advisory firm.  He has more than 30 years of experience serving a multitude of nonprofit organizations and is a frequent speaker on a variety of exempt organization topics.   Chris is the former Board Chair and a current Board member of Exponent Philanthropy, the country’s largest association of funders.  He also serves as a Trustee of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the William F. Grupe Foundation, and is a member of the Board of the Kearny Financial Corporation. 

 

Chris earned his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Bucknell University.  He and his wife, Theresa, live in Verona and are active members of the community.

 

Partners for Health fosters collaboration among nonprofits so that, together, they can increase positive health outcomes in the communities they serve.  A key focus area is providing access to healthy food and physical activity as a way to prevent chronic disease. The Foundation also supports the issues of homelessness, aging, mental health, community safety and more.

 

Since 2008, Partners for Health has awarded more than $11.5 million through 165 grants, and partnered with more than 70 organizations, congregations, school districts and municipalities.  The Foundation will mark its 10th anniversary in 2018 with Community Impact Awards, a program that will distribute a total of $100,000 to celebrate 10 individuals and organizations – including unsung heroes and rising stars – who are making extraordinary contributions to the health and well-being of their communities.

Commenting on his election as Board Chair, Chris said, “I’m proud to assume the leadership of a committed Board and dedicated staff, especially during this milestone year when we are  celebrating the Foundation’s 10th Anniversary.” 

Grants of more than $900,000 will Address Local Hunger and Homelessness

More than 840 community members opened their hearts and wallets during the 2017 holiday season, donating $450,000+ to the Matching Grants Program sponsored by Partners for Health Foundation.  With the Foundation’s $1 to $1 match, grants totaling more than $900,000 have been distributed to 11 local soup kitchens, food pantries and agencies that provide services to those who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.

Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health, remarked, “Since 2014, the Foundation’s Matching Grants program has generated donations of close to $1 million and resulted in grants totaling $1.9 million.  These funds enhance efforts to fight hunger and homelessness, helping our neighbors in need at a time when they need it most.”

“The matching grants program encourages donors large and small to invest in improving the overall health of our communities.  We are proud to be included in this visionary program which is transforming our work,” said Anne Mernin, Director of Outreach at Toni’s Kitchen.  “Funds will be used immediately to expand our Healthy Backpack program and to improve our Take-Away Food program for onsite meal guests.  We will also expand volunteer opportunities in response to the community’s growing interest in understanding and addressing food needs.”

Comments from other grantees reveal more about how these funds are impacting the community: 

Patrice Kelly, Director of A Lot to Grow, notes, “We are building a solar greenhouse at the Benson Street garden in Glen Ridge to maximize the annual yield of vegetables.  This greenhouse will allow us to adapt to local climate trends, while providing space for educational programs for individual gardeners and civic, religious and school organizations.  Our six gardens have to shut down between November and March but the solar greenhouse will be open throughout the year.”

“We believe all people have the right to access high quality, healthy food and these matching funds support City Green’s efforts to increase production of farm fresh vegetables distributed through our mobile markets,” said Jennifer Papa, Executive Director of City Green.

“Demand continues to increase for HOMECorp’s counseling services as well as affordable housing units.  Partners for Health has become a key partner in our efforts to maintain and expand our scope of services,” said David Grill, President, Board of Trustees of HOMECorp.    

According to Mike Bruno, Executive Director of the Human Needs Food Pantry, “The Pantry served 1,200 households in 2017, plus we delivered food to another 220 households.  Matching funds and various other grants from Partners for Health are directly responsible for our ability to provide fresh produce, a wide variety of healthy foods and nutritional supplements to all of our struggling neighbors who come to us for assistance.”

“This grant helps IHN deliver shelter, food, transportation and support services to homeless families, as well as more than 300 hours of case management for families in a housing crisis.  The support is particularly important to bridge our funding through the spring, when shelter funds from government sources run low,” said Emma Justice, Executive Director of the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Essex County.

 

Gwen Parker Ames, Ed.D., Executive Director of MESH, added, “Matching grants support 10 Bloomfield College students who become homeless during semester recesses, a meal pass program for 50 commuter students, and our new transitional housing program that prepares seniors for independent living, health and wellness, career readiness and financial success.”

“In 2017, Montclair Community Farms distributed 1,200 pounds of affordable produce to local residents with lower and fixed incomes.  We engaged more than 500 volunteers in service learning projects, and provided educational experiences to 350 children.  These funds will help us to increase our community food access goals by launching a greenhouse program,” noted Matthew Duker, Head Farmer of Montclair Community Farms.

“Nutley Family Service Bureau partnered with the Nutley School District to offer immediate eligibility to all families qualifying for the Free and Reduced School Lunch Program in 2017, which increased participation in our Food Pantry program by more than 20%.  Matching funds will provide us with the support necessary to continue our mission and plan for future programming,” said Eileen Painter, Executive Director of the Nutley Family Service Bureau.

“Demand for supplemental food aid from Saint Peter’s Healthy Food Pantry increased 40% last year, from 680 individuals served in January 2017 to 954 individuals served December 2017. We rely on support from generous donors and Partners for Health to keep serving these individuals,” said Kevin Donahue, Executive Director of Saint Peter’s Healthy Food Pantry in Clifton.

Michele Kroeze, Business Manager of the Salvation Army, noted, “Monies from the grant will help us to extend our drop in center hours and hours at the Cornerstone House when weather conditions warrant it.  We have already experienced harsh weather conditions this winter and the season is far from over.  We are committed to serving the most vulnerable members of this community and are grateful for this support of our endeavors.”

Partners for Health fosters collaboration among nonprofits so that, together, they can increase positive health outcomes in the communities they serve.  Since 2008, the Foundation has awarded more than $11.5 million through 165 grants, and partnered with more than 70 organizations, congregations, school districts and municipalities.  The Foundation will mark its 10th anniversary in 2018 with Community Impact Awards, a program that will distribute a total of $100,000 to celebrate 10 individuals and organizations – including unsung heroes and rising stars – who are making extraordinary contributions to the health and well-being of their communities. 

For more information, visit www.partnersfdn.org/AWARDS  

Sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of this program in support of these organizations. Click on the logos to learn more about each organization:

Montclair Bikery’s Annual Turkey Ride raised over $29,000 for Human Needs Food Pantry

Following up on its huge success of the last 5 years, the Montclair Bikery’s 5th Annual Turkey Ride to collect turkeys for the Human Needs Food Pantry took place on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017.  Cyclists met at the Montclair Bikery at 145 Valley Road at 9:00 a.m. and rode 15-mile circuitous route to the Brookdale Shoprite on Broad Street, Bloomfield to buy turkeys.

This year, 255 frozen turkeys were delivered by bike to the Human Needs Food Pantry, along with $14,523 in donations, which was then matched by Partners for Health Foundation, resulting in a $29,046 donation to the pantry! 

Left to Right: Mike Bruno, Executive Director of Human Needs Food Pantry; Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health Foundation; Linda Sterling, Ride Organizer and former Food Pantry Board President; Dave Adornato, Owner of Montclair Bikery; Tami Furman, Montclair Bikery Manager.

“Funds raised during the Annual Turkey Ride help to address the persistent issue of hunger in our community, while giving participants an incentive to be physically active.  We’re proud that our matching grants program has contributed to the success of this wonderful effort,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director of the Foundation.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Turkey Ride!

Montclair Community Farms: Let’s Grow!

Montclair Community Farms (MCF) is a coalition of HOMECorp, Montclair Department of Health and Human Services, Montclair History Center, Montclair State University, and Rutgers Cooperative Extension: Essex County 4-H and Master Gardeners.

Community volunteers and Youth farmers tend their two farm sites along with a farm coordinator and farm director. MCF plants, grows, harvests and sells vegetables and produce at more affordable prices throughout the gardening season.

Watch the video below to see how this partnership is offering healthy, locally grown produce to the Montclair community!

 

Celebrate the Season with MILL Artists!

Celebrate the Season featuring paintings by 20 student artists will be exhibited in the Upper Lobby of the Vance Wall Art Education Center at the Montclair Art Museum through January 7, 2018.   The artists are local residents who participated in a watercolor and gouache class offered by the Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning (MILL) through the Montclair Art Museum’s Creative Aging Initiative.   The May 2017 class was taught by Karen DeLuca and Kristine Lombardi.

 

Five of the paintings (shown below) have been reproduced on blank notecards and are being sold in boxed sets through the Montclair Art Museum Gift Shop to raise money for future MILL programming.   Notecards may also be purchased online at https://www.montclairartmuseum.org/mam-retail/products/mill-holiday-cards.

The MILL is part of Lifelong Montclair, the Township’s initiative that supports Montclair as an age-friendly community.  Classes foster opportunities for lifelong learning and socialization for adults aged 55+.

 

The MILL is a collaborative effort of the Montclair Public Library and its Adult School of Montclair Department, the Montclair Art Museum, the Montclair History Center and Montclair State University.  It is funded in part by Partners for Health Foundation and donations from the community.

Seeking Nominations for Community Impact Awards

 

Up to $100,000 will be distributed among 10 award winners in 2018

 

Partners for Health Foundation will celebrate our 10-Year Anniversary by recognizing people and organizations who are making extraordinary contributions to health and well-being in the 15 communities we serves. The Foundation is seeking nominations for Community Impact Awards that will select 10 awardees in 2018 and honor them by distributing up to $100,000 in total among their designated non-profit organizations.

 

The awards program is the centerpiece of a year-long anniversary celebration to begin next year.  “Our goal is to celebrate this milestone in a way that’s aligned with the Foundation’s vision to make the communities we serve healthier, better places,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health.  “We anticipate that these awards will create a platform for telling the stories of those who have been working tirelessly for years, as well as unsung heroes and rising stars.”

 

Kevin Rendino, Foundation Board Chair, added, “The Partners for Health Community Impact Awards will allow us to herald those who improve the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors by meeting immediate health needs, as well as those who advocate for sustainable changes to policies, systems and environments.”

 

Partners for Health made its first grants, to six elementary schools, in June 2008.  These “Team Health” grants totaling $40,000 encouraged healthy eating and increased opportunities for

children to be more active.  Since then, the Foundation has made 324 grants to 110 organizations, totaling more than $10 million.  The Foundation works to make progress in key areas such as addressing hunger and homelessness, making healthy choices easier through policy, system and environmental changes, connecting older residents to services and activities, strengthening the mental health safety net, and increasing access to oral health.

The Foundation welcomes nominations of individuals, organizations and institutions for the Community Impact Awards.  Because the Foundation seeks to acknowledge contributions from all sectors of the community, nominees may come from non-profit and for-profit organizations as well as government and the media.  Individual nominees may include, but are not limited to employees, trustees, volunteers, philanthropists, fundraisers, community advocates or activists, youth volunteers or journalists. Institutional nominees may include municipalities or municipal initiatives, small or large businesses, faith-based organizations, educational organizations or the media. Self-nominations will be accepted.

 

Partners for Health will select 10 Community Impact Award recipients in 2018 and will honor them by distributing up to $100,000 in total among the non-profit organizations they designate that meet the Foundation’s grant-making criteria.  Nominations must be submitted by January 31, 2018.

 

For award criteria details and nomination forms, go to www.partnersfdn.org/AWARDS.

 

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Not-for-profit organizations located in, or providing direct service to the following communities are eligible for grants from the Partners for Health Foundation:  Bloomfield, Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Clifton, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Little Falls, Montclair, North Caldwell, Nutley, Roseland, Verona, West Caldwell and West Orange.

Scholarships Support Nursing Education at Bloomfield College

The Partners for Health Foundation Nursing Scholarship Fund has been established at Bloomfield College to support junior and senior nursing students.  A total of $150,000 will be dispersed over five years beginning in the fall of 2017 to students who have demonstrated academic excellence and a commitment to successfully completing their education.

“In choosing to assist Bloomfield College nursing students, the Partners for Health Foundation is lifting a financial burden and helping future nurses from one of the best programs in the state achieve their dreams,” said Jackie Bartley, Vice President for Institutional Advancement.

The Frances M. McLaughlin Division of Nursing at Bloomfield College boasts the second highest NCLEX passing rate in the state and was recently ranked the third best nursing program in New Jersey by RegisteredNursing.org. Nursing programs were assessed on several factors that represent how well a program supports students toward licensure and beyond including analyzing past and present NCLEX-RN pass-rates, weighted by year.

“As a member of the Bloomfield College Board of Trustees, I am ecstatic to learn the Partners for Health Foundation is providing funding toward our nursing students, which will help them reach their full potential,” said Jim Axelrod, Senior National Correspondent for CBS News.  “I often refer to Bloomfield College as an ‘on ramp.’ The College is designed to make sure as many people can gain access to a college degree as possible. It’s not just economic security, but emotional security, which the Partners for the Health Foundation is helping us provide with this grant.”

Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health, said, “Scholarships recipients will be able to focus on their academics rather than on the economics of paying for college.  We are proud to support their dream of becoming a nurse.”

Zufall Health Dental Mobile Provides Services to Underserved Communities

More than 250 underserved adults and children in the Partners for Health Foundation service area received affordable, high quality dental care on the Zufall Delta Dental Mobile Van in its first year of service.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony to launch the dental van in August 2016, Eva Turbina, Zufall’s president and chief executive officer noted, “This dental van will allow Zufall to bring greatly needed services directly to our most vulnerable populations, especially to who otherwise cannot get to one of our six dental offices.”

Zufall's Eva Turbiner, President and Chief Executive Officer, with Dr. Sam Wakim, Chief Dental Officer
Zufall’s Eva Turbiner, President and Chief Executive Officer, with Dr. Sam Wakim, Chief Dental Officer

A dental clinic-on-wheels had long been on Zufall’s wish list, according to Dr. Sam Wakim, chief dental officer at the nonprofit community health center. Having provided limited dental services on Zufall’s medical van for some time, he said a sustainable, efficient solution was needed to improve patients’ access and provide them with a permanent dental home.  The dental van reduces barriers to care such as cost and transportation, improves the level of care and provides regular access to care.

The 39-foot, state-of-the-art mobile unit has two fully equipped operatories utilizing cutting-edge technology that accommodate comprehensive preventative and restorative dental services. At a cost of $350,000, it was funded by primary sponsor Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation. Additional funding was provided by Partners for Health Foundation in Montclair.

Ribbon cutting on August 10, 2016
Ribbon cutting on August 10, 2016

“Partners for Health has long recognized oral healthcare as an area where access to care is compromised,” said Pam Scott, executive director of Partners for Health Foundation. “In addition to a focus on children and seniors, the van provides clinical services to residents of public housing, homeless individuals and families, and veterans, and goes a long way in addressing the oral health needs of the communities we serve.”

Dental van ribbon cutting, 2
Eva Turbiner, Zufall’s President and Chief Executive Officer, with Partners for Health Foundation’s Executive Director, Pam Scott, and Program Director, Kathy Smith

The van is manned by a general dentist and support staff and operates five days a week, spending one full day in the Montclair area and the rest of the week at sites throughout Zufall’s north and central New Jersey service area.  While its primary focus is low-income children and seniors, it also serves populations including farmworkers, veterans, the homeless, public housing residents, and school children. Services are charged on an income-based sliding fee scale. NJ Family Care insurance plans and some Delta Dental plans are also accepted.

Organizations interested in information about scheduling a van visit to their site may contact Michelle Blanchfield, director of Outreach and Special Populations, at 973-328-9100, Ext. 323. Patients who want more information about eligibility and the van’s schedule may call dental van manager William Torres at 973-329-3344 or visit www.zufallhealth.org.

 

About Zufall Health

Zufall Health is a not-for-profit, state-licensed community health center that has been providing high-quality, affordable medical and dental treatment to the working poor, uninsured, and underserved for over 25 years. More than 30,000 patients are served at its headquarters site in Dover as well as medical and/or dental offices in Morristown, Hackettstown, Flemington, Somerville, West Orange, Newton, and on its Highlands Health Van. For more information, visit zufallhealth.org.

 

 

The Peace Model Project

The Peace Model Project, a school-based mental health & wellness initiative, is a collaborative venture between The Bridge, Inc. and the Caldwell-West Caldwell School district.  It is designed to fully integrate community mental health services in the district’s four elementary schools.  The vision for the project was inspired in response to increased school violence across the nation and growing awareness that mental health intervention in the elementary years can promote emotional resilience and decrease mental health risk factors in adolescence and beyond. Launched in 2015 with funding from the US Department of Education, The Peace Model Project enters its third year of development in the 2017-18 academic year.

 

“The Caldwell – West Caldwell Schools have been working with The Bridge for over forty years.   Our most recent collaboration on the Peace Model Project has been highly successful,” commented James Heinegg, superintendent of the Caldwell-West Caldwell School District. “It is helping our students become healthier individuals, better friends to one another, stronger learners, and more caring members of the community and the world at large.  We are very grateful to the Partners for Health Foundation for this generous grant, which will allow us to continue the positive work of the Peace Model Project in the 2017-18 school year and beyond.”

 

The Bridge, Inc. employs and supports four full-time, credentialed mental health counselors in each elementary school who provide individual & group counseling; parent education; character and community-building curriculum; intervention and referral services.

 

“We are happy to work with the Caldwell-West Caldwell School district and Partners for Health to build a program that is a model of how community based mental health agencies can work with local schools to promote resiliency in children early in life,” announced Lou Schwarcz, CEO of The Bridge, Inc.  “Through The Peace Model Project, we are teaching skills that will help children to achieve their aspirations and prevent future life problems, such as self-harm, harm to others, and substance abuse.”

Let’s Walk!

 

Let’s Walk is a free walking program of guided and themed walks for those who are interested in developing a healthier lifestyle.  The program offers walks at various locations throughout the week and is coordinated by the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition.

 

Regular walking has been identified by health experts and the US Surgeon General as one of the easiest, most accessible and safest ways to maintain health and combat diseases related to sedentary lifestyles.  Benefits include boosting energy, reducing stress and risk factors for heart disease, lowering blood pressure and weight, and reducing risk for other preventable diseases related to sedentary lifestyles.  The walks can easily be incorporated into busy schedules on a regular basis; some of the themed walks include Roaming Readers, Walk With A Leader, and walks to farmers markets.

 

During this grant 2016-20107 period, more than 1,600 registered walkers participated in 207 walks. Walks are currently held 6 days a week, with ones regularly scheduled in West Orange, Nutley, Bloomfield, Verona and Montclair.

Several regular walks are offered in conjunction with partners that include the Nutley Health Department, Montclair Public Library, Bloomfield Health Department, the Walk With A Doc organization- local chapter, and the YMCA of Montclair.  One-time walk partners include Fleet Feet, Davis Integrated Medicine in Montclair’s South End and the NY-NJ Trail Conference.

 

Click here to learn more!

City Green Veggie Mobile Returns to South End

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Renee Baskerville and the Township of Montclair are partnering with Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center, Partners for Health and City Green, to once again welcome the City Green Veggie Mobile – a mobile farm stand that brings fresh produce and other healthful foods to Montclair’s South End district.

The Veggie Mobile will be at the Garden State Community Bank parking lot, 323 Orange Road from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on the following days:

September 13 and 27
October 11 and 25
November 8
The mobile farm stand accepts SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) cards, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), SFMNP (Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program) vouchers and cash as payment. The Veggie Mobile also helps to stretch families’ dollars.

 

Through mid-August, more than $10,000 of locally grown fruits and vegetables have been provided in Montclair, Bloomfield, Clifton and Little Falls.  City Green farm stands in these communities have served 170+ federal benefit customers (SNAP, WIC and Senior FMNP).

 

City Green also supports the Montclair Farmers’ Market (MFM) and the Nutley Farmers’ Market in providing Good Food Buck incentive dollars to SNAP, WIC, and Senior FMNP customers through the Garden State Good Food Network Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP).  They anticipate serving nearly 650 federal benefit customers at the Montclair market by the end of the 2017 season.

 

Summer Lunch Program at Montclair Public Library Nourishing Body and Mind of Local Youth

 

The Montclair Public Library in partnership with Toni’s Kitchen is nourishing the bodies and minds of Montclair youth this summer.  The program is open to all children and teens, regardless of need.

The Library is implementing the Summer Lunch Program for children and teens under 18 through a grant from Partners for Health Foundation. During the summer vacation, low-income families often struggle to have their basic needs met. For many, the summer months mean reduced or limited access to healthy food, learning and enrichment programs, and safe places to congregate and be active. This program addresses all of these issues by offering free and healthy lunches plus summer reading and enrichment programs. Six out of ten schools in Montclair are Title 1 schools and close to 1,000 students are enrolled in free or reduced-price lunch programs. 

Toni’s Kitchen is providing a healthy brown bag lunch on Monday through Friday from the end of June through early September. More than 1,100 healthy lunches were served in the first five weeks of the program.  Lunches includes a sandwich, fruit, dessert and a drink. Registration is not required. Anne Mernin, Director of Outreach at Toni’s Kitchen stated, “Toni’s Kitchen is delighted to work with the Montclair Public Library to ensure that children are learning and healthy during the summer months.”

A pilot lunch program during Spring Break, generously funded by Susan and Thomas Dunn, served more than 145 children and teens. “The free lunch program is a perfect example of the essential services the Montclair Public Library provides,” said Peter Coyl, Library Director. “This grant from Partners for Health Foundation ensures that kids and teens have a nutritious meal during the summer, and welcomes them into the library to participate in other programs.”

“Increasing access to healthy foods is a key focus area for Partners for Health and we’re delighted to support this innovative partnership between the Library and Toni’s Kitchen,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health Foundation.

This grant from Partners for Health funds several other successful programs that were begun during the summer of 2016. These include Roaming Readers, a walking book club for adults led by MPL’s Adult Department and the NJ Bike and Walk Coalition; Yoga on the Plaza for teens and adults; and weekly exercise classes for children, both taught by YMCA Staff. Registration for these programs can be made at www.montclairlibrary.org.

Seniors in Taxis in Montclair (S.I.T.)

SIT is a pilot program which offers senior residents of Montclair reduced cost taxi vouchers for local travel.  SIT is not a taxi service – residents can use SIT vouchers to pay for taxi services with participating companies.  

 

 

SIT Vouchers can be used outside of Montclair.

  • Great savings – pay $15 for $30 in rides
  • Travel anytime 24 / 7
  • Door- to-door convenience
  • Taxi sharing permitted
  • Just call – no advanced booking required
  • Includes vicinity of Mountainside
  • Enjoy mobility freedom
  • Use for ANY purpose: medical appointments, grocery shopping, visiting friends and family, shopping
  • Travel options: day, night, weekdays, weekends, holidays
  • Use in bad weather or instead of searching for a parking space

How to Purchase: 

Purchase vouchers at Montclair Health Department, Municipal Building, 205 Claremont Avenue, Third Floor, Montclair 07042

  • Bring Proof of Age (62+) & Montclair Residency
  • Payment: Cash or Check Made out to Township of Montclair
  • For Information, call the Montclair Health Department at 973-509-4970, weekdays, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Participating Companies:

  • Good Taxi: (609) 922-5179
  • Le Rubicon Taxi: (201) 463-8344
  • M&M Taxi: (973) 746-7575

SIT User Guide

This pilot project, funded through Partners for Health Foundation, is being administered by the Montclair Department of Health & Human Services and Lifelong Montclair, with the support and assistance of the Township’s Senior Citizens Advisory Committee.

Free Tax Preperation Services to be Offered in the Montclair/Bloomfield Area

As New Jersey continues to struggle with its poor economy, marked by high rates of unemployment, foreclosures, and an increasing cost of living, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) remains a crucial lifeline for low-income families. By lifting families out of poverty and giving a boost to local economies, the EITC is a vital tax credit for the more than 600,000 working New Jerseyans who rely on it ‘to make ends meet.’ Unfortunately, many families are unaware that the EITC even exists, or that they are eligible for these tax credits. In other instances, they spend hundreds of dollars paying high cost tax preparers for services that are available for free at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites.

In response to this need, Partners for Health Foundation has once again partnered with NJ Citizen Action, United Way of Northern New Jersey, and HOMECorp to provide free tax preparation services and financial literacy education to encourage community members to take full advantage of their tax credit.

nj citizen

New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA) will coordinate and conduct a targeted Montclair & Bloomfield Area VITA Project during the upcoming 2017 tax season. NJCA will staff and coordinate a mobile VITA team of 3-4 tax preparers and quality reviewers to provide free tax preparation at the Bloomfield Public Library on Wednesdays in February and March 2017.

Families earning less than $54,000 are eligible for free quality tax preparation, which allows them to receive the fullest extent of the refunds owed to them.  This year, NJCA’s Tax office launched the SaveYourRefund incentive program, which promotes tax-time savings. Recognizing that tax refunds are often the largest sums of cash many American households receive all year, the SaveYourRefund program capitalizes on this tax-time moment as an easy method of saving and adds an incentive to nudge filers into opting in to saving for their future.

EITC 1-23-2017
Pictured at a press conference to launch the 2017 tax preparation season are Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director of New Jersey Citizen Action; Pam Scott and Jackie Gifuni of Partners for Health Foundation; Ann Vardeman, NJCA Program Director; and Naomi Anderson, NJCA Director of VITA

 

United Way helps individuals build savings and improve their financial stability by putting them on a path toward self-sufficiency through free financial education, job coaching, and tax preparation services. For the 2017 tax season, United Way of Northern New Jersey will engage a Community Outreach Coordinator and a Savings Specialist to increase awareness of and access to their Free Tax and Savings Program, and to help low and moderate income tax payers set savings goals and become savers.  Residents who take advantage of these programs will save tax preparation fees they cannot afford, maximize the Earned Income Tax Credits they are entitled to

The Savings Specialist will focus on Tax Time Savings for tax payers who are working hard and still struggling save while making ends meet . For the past several years they have implemented a variety of savings incentives, provided savings information, and conducted workshops to introduce financial empowerment tools alongside the tax program.

 

pfh-homecorpwebbutton

HOMECorp will once again be providing a financial literacy program for VITA clients.  VITA clients face a choice: whether or not to use a tax refund to improve their long term financial outlook or to spend it on current expenses.  HOMECorp’s financial counseling services are uniquely prepared to help VITA clients make an informed decision that is right for their family. HOMECorp’s financial education services are provided through its H.O.P.E. Program (Housing, Opportunity, Preparation and Education).  H.O.P.E. is a financial education toolkit designed to promote the growth of low and moderate income (LMI) communities and strengthen the ability of LMI residents to remain in current affordable housing or purchase a new home.

This year HOMECorp will be expanding the EITC counseling to a new population:  college students at Montclair State University who have aged out of the foster care system and are involved in the SHIP and Transitions for Youth programs, partnerships between Rutgers and MSU that provide multi-faceted counseling to support these vulnerable young adults.  Because most come from backgrounds of poverty, they need to work and take on student loans while in college and have limited financial literacy. HOMECorp has already begun to work with 15 students between the ages of 19 to 28, with annual income ranges from $1,680 to $28,000.  HOMECorp will incorporate EITC information into their counseling services.

 

Please see attached flyers for more information on these free tax return and financial literacy services being provided in our area!

New Trustees Join Partners for Health Foundation Board

The Trustees of the Partners for Health Foundation Board of Trustees have elected Fred Guterl and Lynne Katzmann, both of Montclair, to the Board. Board Chair Kevin Rendino noted, “We welcome these talented individuals and are confident their expertise will enhance our work.”

Fred Guterl is executive editor of Scientific American and author of The Fate of the Species: Why the Human Race May Cause Its Own Extinction and How To Stop It (Bloomsbury 2012). He has won numerous awards for writing and editing from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Overseas Press Club, the American Society of Magazine Editors and other organizations. He led Scientific American to its first-ever National Magazine Award for General Excellence in 2011. Guterl was formerly deputy editor at Newsweek International. He makes frequent speaking appearances at conferences, such as the World Economic Forum, and on television and radio, such as Charlie Rose, the Today Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Leonard Lopate, Brian Lehrer and other venues. Guterl holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester and has taught writing at Princeton University.

Lynne Katzmann is Founder and President of Juniper Communities, which invests in, develops and manages senior living and long term care communities. With 18 properties in four states and more than 1,200 employees, Juniper, has $75 million in revenues. Celebrating its 28th Anniversary, Juniper is ranked #12 by Crain’s New York on its Top 50 ranking of woman-owned companies for the New York tri-state area.

Juniper is the only woman-founded, owned and led business among the top 40 national assisted living companies. Katzmann launched the business when she was 32, with six years’ experience in the health care industry and a PhD in economics. An active leader in the social entrepreneurship movement at its beginning, she was a firm believer in the so-called double bottom line: doing well by doing good.

Katzmann has been involved in the health care industry for almost 30 years, working in the public and private sectors in the United States and Europe. She serves as a board member of several for-profit and non-profit organizations including Senior Care Centers of Dallas, ElderCare Alliance of San Francisco, Naropa University of Boulder, Colorado, ArtsConnection of New York City and the Social Venture Network.

Partners for Health Foundation’s vision is to make its 15 communities healthier, better places to live. The Foundation harnesses the efforts of engaged partners to work collaboratively toward shared goals. Funds target the health of all members of the community, particularly our most vulnerable neighbors.

Three Leading Community Agencies Join Together to Support Youth in Recovery

‘ASPIRE’ aims to help young adults maintain long-term sobriety

The YMCA of Montclair, in partnership with the National Youth Recovery Foundation (NYRF) and Partners for Health Foundation in Montclair, will launch three 12-week programs geared to adults between the ages of 18 and 30 in long-term recovery. ASPIRE (Achieving Sobriety by Promoting an Insightful Recovery Experience) will provide lifestyle and professional skills coaching from business people in the recovery community to help participants launch their next life chapters. The program will be held at the YMCA of Montclair’s Park Street Branch. The first cohort of 20 young adults, who have six months or more of recovery, begins February 15. Applications and more information on the schedule can be found at www.montclairymca.org/aspire.

The NYRF works with young adults and educators in recovery and, using documented research from the leading institutes studying addiction and recovery, built the ASPIRE curriculum that is compatible with the needs of people in long-term recovery and the philosophy of the Y that life, health and community are keys to happiness and fulfillment.

Partners for Health is funding this pilot program, which fills a significant gap in the journey of recovery of young people. Participants of the three cohorts will receive hands-on experiential learning that supports improvement of relationships, career and education enhancement and health and fitness. During the three months, participants will explore their own personalities, goals and communication styles; focus on acquiring life skills needed to stay sober; improve their health and wellness; learn a variety of socialization skills; and complete a number of practical tasks leading to furthering their education, advancing career objectives and improving personal relationships.

“We are pleased to support ASPIRE’s innovative approach which aligns with our strategic focus to strengthen the mental health safety net,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health.  “The YMCA’s stigma-free environment offers a safe, supportive place for those in early recovery to convene.  We hope this program will become a model that other communities across the country will be able to replicate.”

Jo Ann Short, President and CEO of the YMCA of Montclair, added, “Supporting everyone in our community is core to the Y’s mission and to be able to accommodate and welcome participants in this program is our privilege and duty. It’s a natural addition to our portfolio of mission-driven programs such as LIVESTRONG at the YMCA for cancer survivors and our Diabetes Exercise Program. Addiction is a chronic disease and the nation’s number one epidemic; to support those on their journey to sustainable recovery is an opportunity for which we’re delighted to be involved. We depend on our community partners for support and, with the expertise of the NYRF and the generous support of PFH, we are able to together have true collective impact.”

For more information and to apply to participate in ASPIRE, please email or call 973-744-6161 x186.

New Jersey Healthy Communities Network – 2016 Community Highlights

Five grantee communities—Bloomfield, Clifton, Montclair, Nutley and West Orange—are now part of the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network. The network has 43 grantee communities across the state supported by four funders in addition to Partners for Health. The Steering Committee believes communities learn best from their peers though face-to-face regional and statewide meetings, and that personalized coaching and technical assistance for each site can maximize the impact of small grants. New Jersey Healthy Communities Network Steering Committee is comprised of partners who guide the movement and identify and share financial and capacity building resources that focus on improving healthy eating and active living through evidence-based strategies and shared measures.

All communities are implementing proven strategies to help people eat more healthily and be more physically active—the essential behaviors for preventing chronic disease. A sample of successes from the five communities that Partners is supporting:

  • Some store owners in Montclair’s Healthy Corner Store project are stocking healthier products on their own—because it’s good for business. Montclair also just won a $1,500 competitive grant to renovate one of the corner stores!
  • Informed by a statewide workshop on conducting walking audits, Bloomfield health department staff members are working with EZ Ride and Voorhees Transportation Center to gather community input to identify where they should implement changes to make routes to school safer for walking and biking.
  • Nutley invited some 20 community leaders—corresponding to each of its seasonal farmers’ markets—to lead well-attended walks before each weekly market opened.
  • New grantee Clifton health department brought the City Green mobile market truck to city hall weekly throughout the summer and fall. Some 600 people bought fresh produce and the Clifton health officer declared a “home run.”
  • West Orange’s middle school principal and the local coalition lead by the YMCA collaborated to create a garden on school property and are now uniting to push for safer walking routes to the school.

To read community blogs posted throughout the year, or to learn more about the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network, click here.

Grand-Opening: KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center

 

Ribbons were cut and doors opened on October 25th at KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center (KSCOHC), 10 Broad Street, Bloomfield. Suburban Essex Chamber of Commerce members, business leaders, dental and health care professionals as well as KinderSmile Foundation trustees, friends, and staff joyously celebrated the realization of a longtime goal–a Dental Home for underserved children age 0-17.

Donna Pietroiacovo – Executive Administrator, Suburban Essex Chamber of Commerce Dr. Maria Madonna – Clinical Director, KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center Laurence Whittam – KSF Board Member Dr. Sara Kalambur – KSF Board Member, Program Director Dr. Ethan Glickman – KSF Board Member Dr. Nicole McGrath – President & CEO, KinderSmile Foundation Andrea McDonagh – KSF Board Member Lois Tirrel – Memberships Vice President, Suburban Essex Chamber of Commerce Nicole Panzica – Deputy Director, Institutional Advancement of KinderSmile Foundation
From left to right: Donna Pietroiacovo – Executive Administrator, Suburban Essex Chamber of Commerce Dr. Maria Madonna – Clinical Director, KSF Laurence Whittam – KSF Board Member Dr. Sara Kalambur – KSF Board Member, Program Director Dr. Ethan Glickman – KSF Board Member Dr. Nicole McGrath – President & CEO, KSF Andrea McDonagh – KSF Board Member Lois Tirrel – Memberships VP, Suburban Essex Chamber of Commerce Nicole Panzica – Deputy Director, Institutional Advancement of KSF

Tours of the state-of-the-art dental clinic and talk of present & future plans marked the evening’s festivities, which reinforced KinderSmile’s commitment to eradicating pediatric dental disease. Guests were equally moved by stories of the extreme need for this facility, whether they had just been introduced to KinderSmile Foundation or had been toiling in the dust & wire-strewn construction site as KSCOHC came to fruition right before their eyes on the “soft” opening day, August 29th.

Since that date, nearly 500 children have benefited from the new Dental Home. Children can often be seen everywhere, learning interactively at our Education Station, practicing oral healthcare at the Toothbrush Station and receiving dental care in a placed created just for them. Smiles abound; healthy ones!

For more information, call 973-744-7003 Ext. 209

Little Falls Schools Help Raise $2,000 to Fight Hunger

By Sara Nowen, 6th & 7th grade teacher, School #1 in Little Falls, NJ

 

In 2014, I brought the Turkey Ride event to the middle school where I work, School #1 in Little Falls.  The Montclair Bikery’s Turkey Ride is an annual event that invites bicyclists to collect turkeys for the Human Needs Food Pantry in Montclair on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

 

With the help of our Student Council, our fundraiser, which we affectionately named the “Turkey Wars,” was born. This week-long competition between students in grades 5-8 allowed us to fundraise for the event, while imparting a little friendly competition for added incentive. Staff members also got in the spirit, contributing funds for a faculty dress down day. In just one week we were able to raise $680!

 

This year I set a new goal to raise $1,000 in support of this special cause. In addition to conducting the Turkey Wars at our school, we extended the fundraising event to students and families across our district. With the help of some very creative student volunteers and a bell, contributions started to pour in on the final two days of fundraising. In the same week’s time, our generous staff, students and families of Little Falls donated $1,689.65 to the Turkey Ride event – well-exceeding our goal of $1,000, and more than doubling last year’s efforts.

 

Also contributing to the Turkey Ride this year was the Red Hawk Swim Club, a competitive swim team run through Montclair State University, where I coach throughout the school year. Swimmers, coaches and parents from RHSC raised an additional $200 toward the Turkey Ride cause, bringing our total donation to $2,000!

 

Even better, the funds we raised plus contributions from many other individuals and businesses totaled more than $10,000 – and every dollar is being matched by Partners for Health Foundation.  So the Human Needs Food Pantry will receive a check for more than $20,000 from the Foundation.

 

The Little Falls School District’s motto is “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” True to form, there is great pride in all we’ve accomplished as a community. Giving is what this season is all about, and together we’ve proved it in a very big way.

 

 

Partners for Health Foundation is launching the Third Annual Holiday Matching Grants program

1 IN 5 CHILDREN IN NJ IS FOOD INSECURE:

 Make a Difference and DOUBLE Your Impact through Partners for Health Foundation’s Matching Grants Program

 

Partners for Health Foundation is launching the Third Annual Holiday Matching Grants program to benefit local soup kitchens, food pantries and organizations working to address the persistent issues of hunger and homelessness.  Up to $225,000 in matching funds will be awarded for donations of $50 that are made by December 31.

 

“The community was overwhelming supportive last year, when we received contributions of $202,700 from 438 individuals and families,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director of the Foundation.  “These gifts were matched dollar for dollar by Partners for Health, resulting in grants totaling $405,400 that were distributed in Montclair to the Human Needs Food Pantry, Toni’s Kitchen, Salvation Army, HOMECorp, Interfaith Hospitality Network, and Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless.  St. Peter’s Haven Healthy Food Pantry & Family Shelter in Clifton also received a grant.

 

The same organizations are participating in this year’s Matching Grants program.  For more information, visit www.partnersfdn.org/HUNGER or call (973) 746-6130.

 

Remember to fight hunger and homelessness by giving online on #GivingTuesday on November 29.

Edgemont Park House for Senior Programs and Activities

The Edgemont Park House for Senior Programs and Activities opened in April, 2016. The building has seen significant upgrades, new equipment, and additional staff for its function as a space for Montclair area seniors. These improvements were made possible with support from the Township and a grant from the Partners for Health Foundation.

The Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs and Department of Health and Human Services collaborated through the Lifelong Montclair initiative to provide a place for senior residents in town to gather, socialize and relax with their peers, and participate in a wide variety of educational and recreational activities in a beautiful park setting.

The building is open Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. for classes and walk-in activities.  There is free coffee and wifi available, and seniors can participate in existing activities or take the initiative to start new programming.  There are reading materials, games, a TV, and a Wii system available.  Organized activities, including Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning (MILL) classes, are highlighted on the calendar.

The Edgemont Park House is located on Valley Road in Edgemont Memorial Park, and the phone number is 973-744-3278.

 

Talking about Walking on Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato

Steve Adubato and a panel of experts discuss “The Walking Movement” – the ways New Jersey towns and cities are making streets and neighborhoods safer places to walk. The panel reviews pedestrian and driver education, street improvements, and changes to traffic signals as viable strategies for improving pedestrian safety.

 

Panelists:

  • Charles Brown – Senior Researcher, Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University
  • Kate Kraft – Executive Director, America Walks
  • Kathy Smith – Program Director, Partners for Health Foundation
  • Cyndi Steiner – Executive Director, New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition

 

Let’s Walk Group Meeting Schedule

By Liz Brady

 

I have been facilitating walks with the Let’s Walk Group in North Jersey for the past several years. I have met so many wonderful people, some who have continued to walk with me while others have continued to walk on their own or with new friends they met while walking with the Let’s Walk Group.

 

A few years ago I started walking with a group in Brookdale Park.  In the beginning, the group told me they could not walk more than a mile.  After several weeks of walking and chatting I announced to the group that they just completed a three mile walk.  The reaction   of joy and pride from this group is what continues to inspire me to share my time and knowledge of how “Just Walking” can help improve your life.

Clipper Park, West Orange - Saturday Morning Walk
Clipper Park, West Orange – Saturday Morning Walk

Becoming active is one of the most rewarding and beneficial thing you can give yourself and those you care about.  People who are active see positive changes in mood, have less stress and more energy.  The good thing is you do not have to do high amounts of vigorous-intense activity. Walking doesn’t require special skills or equipment; making it possible for most people. Walking groups offer you instant support which helps you adhere to your fitness goals. Walking with a group encourages you to be social, provides motivation, accountability, and safety.  So take control of your physical and mental health and join me for a walk.

Nutley Farmer's Market - Sunday Walk
Nutley Farmer’s Market – Sunday Walk

The Let’s Walk Group is sponsored by a grant from Partners for Health Foundation and the leadership of New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition.

 

Here is a list of where you will find us walking.

Tuesday Early Morning

Where:  Eagle Rock Reservation

Time: 8:00 AM

 

Wednesday Afternoon

Where: Brookdale Park

Time: 5:45

 

Thursday Afternoon

Where:  Verona Park

Time:  10:00 AM

 

Friday Morning

Where:  Verona Park

Time:  11:00 AM

 

Saturday Morning  

Where: Clipper Pavilion – South Mountain Reservation, Under the Pavilion

Time: 8:30 AM

 

Sunday Morning

Where:  Nutley Farmer’s Market – Williams Street, Nutley, NJ

Time:  8:15 AM

 

For detail information on current walks and future walks:

Email Liz Brady to register for walks or for questions

Or find us on meet up at http://www.meetup.com/Lets-all-walk-together/

 

Kids, teens, and adults are invited to Montclair Public Library’s Summer Reading Celebration!

Save the date!

Montclair Public Library & Foundation’s Summer Reading Celebration will be at Edgemont Park on Saturday, August 20 from 9am to 5pm.

Kids, teens, and adults are invited to this day of programs, activities and good old fashioned fun. The event will feature yoga, mini-Adult School of Montclair programs focused on health, fitness, and nutrition, as well as a story-book walk for the little ones. Health and fitness groups from town will also be there to help you keep moving to a happy healthy life!

For event day details, click here.

 

 

Civic participation through the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)

By Stephanie Grove, RSVP Director of Essex and Hudson Counties

 

Civic engagement refers to the ways in which citizens participate in the life of a community in order to improve conditions for others or to help shape the community’s future.  We often hear this term used in the context of motivating younger people to become involved, but what about older adults?  According to the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS), only 24.2% of US residents over the age of 55 actively volunteer.  Older adults are arguably the most experienced and knowledgeable cohort of people out there.  With years of involvement in work settings, caring for children or grandchildren, being neighbors, friends and supporting each other in the community, older adults can be assets to any community.

We all know that volunteering can be a great way to keep skills sharp, develop new talents, make friends, get exercise, or get that overall good feeling from giving back, but new research is emerging showing us that volunteering is so much more.  Studies released by CNCS demonstrate that volunteering leads to better health and that older volunteers are the most likely to receive physical and mental health benefits from their volunteer activities.  It also showed that those who gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not.  The very act of volunteering may allow individuals to maintain their independence as they grow older.

To emphasize the importance of civic engagement, Lifelong Montclair has partnered with the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).  RSVP is a central hub for volunteers age 55+ to review and be matched with a local volunteer opportunity.  RSVP provides the support of a trained volunteer coordinator to match each person with an opportunity that meets their goals, interests and availability.

In Montclair, RSVP has opportunities for volunteers to:

  • visit homebound seniors
  • assist at senior day programs
  • tutor low-income children
  • work in community gardens
  • prepare and serve food in soup kitchens
  • support programs that find affordable housing for struggling residents

Civic participation not only benefits the individual, but helps our entire community continue to grow into an ideal place for people to age.  In NJ alone 65.5% of residents engage in “informal volunteering”.  Residents provide personal care for family, help neighbors in times of crisis, drive friends to doctor appointments, watch each other’s children, etc.  Caring for one another is at the root of any thriving community.  Now just imagine the impact older adults could make in Montclair by lending their experience and knowledge to the community through volunteer service.  Providing services such as visiting homebound seniors, delivering meals to disabled residents, helping low income residents find affordable housing, tutoring children who are struggling in school and so many more could strengthen Montclair as a whole.  A few hours a week could be all it takes to make a difference.

To learn more about RSVP and ways to give back in Montclair, contact the RSVP Director Stephanie Grove at 973-637-1766 or .  You can also visit RSVP at www.jfsmetrowest.org/RSVP or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RSVPEssexHudson.

HomeSharing Serving the Montclair Area

 

The cost of living in New Jersey is one of the highest in the nation while incomes have become stagnant; therefore people struggling to make ends meet are open to considering creative options such as sharing their homes.  HomeSharing, Inc. began 31 years ago with the mission of creating these affordable housing solutions by matching those seeking housing with those who need additional income or services to maintain their homes.  Through this approach, the needs of both home Seekers and Providers are met.

 

HomeSharing received a three year grant from Partners for Health in 2015 to expand their services in Suburban Essex County. Melissa Braxton is the full-time social worker who services Essex County clients, in collaboration with Lifelong Montclair. Since May 2, 2016 HomeSharing has made 12 matches among 26 people!

 

Home providers have the opportunity to remain in their homes without leaving the community, preserve their independence, and receive either a monetary or service contribution to their households. Through home sharing, seekers are able to afford housing below market rate rents, reduce their risk of homelessness, and live in a safe home. There are many benefits for the seeker and provider that are alike, such as companionship and added security, being better able to live on their current incomes, and access to a social worker who is there to help with accessing resources.

 

A Success Story

This story of two older adults is a perfect example of how “home sharing” works. “Ms. C” is a provider who is in her 70’s and lives in a large home, where her property taxes are approximately $19,000 per year. The amount of taxes she pays takes about 70% of her monthly income. She contacted HomeSharing because she had a spare bedroom and needed the monetary contribution to help her with the property taxes.

 

Ms. C was very detailed on what type of seeker she would like to share her home. Ms. Braxton interviewed several candidates and thought “Ms. J” would be a good fit; she’s in her mid-60’s, and was living on a tight fixed income and in desperate need of housing.  Ms. Braxton introduced the clients to each other and they clicked right away. In fact, Ms. C is now teaching Ms. J how to cook authentic Italian food and Ms. J is teaching Ms. C English!

 

To learn more about HomeSharing, visit http://www.homesharing.org/ 

If you would like to become a seeker or provider, contact Melissa Braxton at or call (908) 526-4663.

 

“Home for the Holidays” program seeking volunteers to share their career stories!

By Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless, Inc. (MESH)

MESH’s “Home for the Holidays” program, funded in part by Partners for Health Foundation, sponsors housing for college students who experience homelessness when schools close during the winter and summer breaks. Over this past winter break the program covered the cost of housing and meals for 6 homeless college students at Bloomfield College, and it’s currently covering 7 students during the 12 week summer break.

MESH is seeking volunteers to share their career stories with students at Bloomfield College. Stories of success and self-determination can help young people build strengths to overcome challenges that they may face.

Board member Marybeth Rosenthal and Volunteer Patricia Lowery shared their career stories with college students participating in MESH "Home for the Holidays" program on July 12th.
Board member Marybeth Rosenthal and Volunteer Patricia Lowery shared their career stories with college students participating in MESH “Home for the Holidays” program on July 12th.

If you would like to share your career story, please join us for a MESH Career Conversation at Bloomfield College (July 26, August 9, or August 23). To learn more call Gwen Parker Ames at (862) 621-9488 or email .

 

ABOUT MESH
MESH began as an ad hoc organization in winter 2005 when the Reverend Canon Wade Renn, an Episcopal Priest and former Interim Pastor of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, began thinking of colder days ahead as temperatures began to drop. As he toured Montclair, he noticed where some people slept – huddled in doorways, curled up on benches and vulnerable to the harsh winter elements.
MESH continues to pursue its mission as a local, faith-based organization dedicated to engaging the community to provide basic and essential services to Montclair’s most vulnerable homeless adults.

Earned Income Tax Credit Initiative

As New Jersey continues to struggle with a poor economy marked by high rates of unemployment, foreclosures, and an increasing cost of living, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) remains a crucial lifeline for low-income families. By lifting families out of poverty and giving a boost to local economies, the EITC is a vital tax credit for the more than 600,000 working New Jerseyans who rely on it ‘to make ends meet.’  Unfortunately, many families are unaware that the EITC even exists, or that they are eligible for these tax credits. In other instances, they spend hundreds of dollars paying high cost tax preparers for services that are available for free at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites.

In response to this need, Partners for Health Foundation partnered with New Jersey Citizen Action and United Way of Northern New Jersey to provide free tax preparation services to make it easier for community members to take full advantage of tax credits that are due to them.

nj citizen New Jersey Citizen Action Education Fund (NJCAEF) worked with 6 local partners to coordinate a Montclair VITA Project, which incorporated education and outreach to raise awareness of the state and federal EITCs among area residents.  They provided free tax preparation services on designated “blast” days, which were coordinated through project partners.  NJCAEF held 14 blast days, and provided free tax preparation for 212 individuals and families.

In total, $352,846 in refunds were made, with $117,545 in EITC! Approximately 34% of those who were served claimed the EITC, compared to state and national averages of 30-33%.

united wayUnited Way of Northern New Jersey hired an outreach coordinator to provide information on free tax preparation services and available tax credits. The outreach coordinator made presentations to community groups, sent flyers on the tax program and tax credits, and scheduled appointments. These efforts were focused on organizations who employ large numbers of low-wage workers (restaurants, hotels, healthcare facilities); who serve low-wage individuals (health and human service agencies, child care agencies, affordable housing facilities); and who have contact with low-income individuals (faith-based groups and libraries).

During the outreach process, the outreach coordinator was able to schedule and confirm tax appointments. This initiative played an important role in increasing the number of tax returns completed in UWNNJ’s Montclair location. This site saw a 32% increase in the number of tax returns United Way filed, growing from 474 in 2015 to 627 in 2016.  Of the 627, 136 clients received EITC.  In all, refunds totaling $803,234 were made, with $206,253 in EITC!

 

Partners for Health Foundation is grateful to both New Jersey Citizen Action and the United Way of Northern New Jersey for their efforts to secure $1,156,080 in tax refunds to our community members through this EITC initiative.

 

Nursing Student Scholarships Support Healthier Communities

 

The Independent College Fund of New Jersey (ICFNJ) has posted a new scholarship funded by Partners for Health.  Junior and senior nursing students attending Bloomfield College and Caldwell University can apply for this competitive scholarship through ICFNJ at http://www.njcolleges.org/icfnj-student-scholarship-information#Partners_for_Health. Five successful candidates will receive a $5,000 award toward the cost of attendance in 2016-17.

 

Eligible students must demonstrate a commitment to nursing by having reached their junior or senior year in a nursing degree program at Bloomfield College or Caldwell University – private colleges within the Foundation’s service area – with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2/4. Candidates will also submit a personal statement outlining their career goals and how they plan to support healthy communities and promote healthier lifestyles as part of their application.  Applications will be accepted through June 30, 2016.

 

Working with the Partners for Health Foundation has created new opportunities for students to reach their potential. The recipients will be able to focus more time on academics, clinicals and community programs that build their academic knowledge as well as their technical, communication and leadership skills. This scholarship is exciting news for our students, our member colleges and ultimately for the community,” noted John B. Wilson, President, ICFNJ.

 

“Partners for Health is proud to support nursing students with these new scholarships. Nurses who work in schools, health departments and in many other settings are vital partners in our efforts to make our 15 communities healthier, better places to live,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director of the Foundation.

 

ABOUT THE INDEPENDENT COLLEGE FUND OF NEW JERSEY (ICFNJ)

ICFNJ was founded in 1953 as a cooperative involving business and academic leaders to broaden support for private higher education in New Jersey. Today, ICFNJ continues the tradition of empowering students to realize their goals by strengthening New Jersey’s independent colleges and universities with support for strategic investments in innovative programs, student scholarships and educational advancement. Through these efforts, ICFNJ has raised and contributed close to $72 million providing opportunities for its member institutions to continuously enhance program quality, to increase accessibility and affordability; and thus fulfill their respective missions. Learn more at www.njcolleges.org.

Access to Oral Health Care: Meeting the Challenge

Caucus Educational Corporation produces important educational programming that tackles a range of issues of concern to New Jerseyans.  In this segment of Caucus: New Jersey, Steve Adubato is joined by a panel of experts to discuss access to oral health, how poor dental hygiene can negatively affect the overall health of adults and children, and what can be done to prevent these types of issues.

Guest experts include:

  • Sam Wakim, Chief Dental Officer, Zufall Community Health Centers
  • Nicole McGrath, Founder, President & CEO, KinderSmile Foundation
  • Mary Voytus, Director, Dental Residency, HackensackUMC Mountainside Hospital
  • Mario Ramos, Assistant Director, Boys and Girls Club of Newark’s Children’s Dental Center

You can watch the program at this link.

YOUNG VOICES: A Community Conversation

The subjects that teens explore when creating films provided a platform for a wonderful panel discussion about the concerns of local youth and how our community can provide a safety net to support them.  The event was held on Wednesday, May 4 and was presented by Partners for Health as part of the Montclair Film Festival.

Moderator John Mooney, Founding Editor and Education Writer of NJ Spotlight, guided the conversation with these local experts:

 

Andrew D. Evangelista LCSW, LCADC, DRCC
Student Assistance Counselor, Montclair Public Schools

Sonja B. Gray MD
Gray Consulting Services INC

Linda B. Mithaug
Director of Pupil Services, Montclair Public Schools

Betty Strauss MA, RN, NCSN
District Head Nurse, Montclair Public Schools

The works of these young filmmakers were screened prior to the discussion:

Individuality – by Al-Naf Walker, Jahleel Giles and Jailene Perez
Hue – by Holly Grobholz and AnnMarie Ciulla
I’m not Okay – by Samantha Cordero
Listen – by Samantha Nochimsom

An article in The Alternative Press (TAP) provides more information, and comments from various attendees that were compiled by one of the film festival’s bloggers can be read at this link.  More photos can be viewed by clicking here.

Partners for Health will explore further collaboration with the Montclair Film Festival to build youth resiliency through art and film.

Event photos courtesy of Brad Resnick Photography and the Montclair Film Festival:

MFF event photo #1MFF event photo #4MFF event photo #2MFF event photo #5MFF event photo #6MFF event photo #3MFF event photo #7