Donor Highlights

It is with deep gratitude that we recognize and acknowledge our donors for their continued dedication and support of Interfaith Neighbor’s mission, programs and services across Monmouth County. 

Donor Highlight | Monmouth County Office on Aging, Disabilities & Veterans

| March 2022

Since 1991, when Interfaith Neighbors began offering the Senior Nutrition/Meals on Wheels program, the Monmouth County Office on Aging, Disabilities & Veterans Services (Office on Aging) has been our lead partner in operating the program. 

The Office on Aging was established by the County Board of Commissioners in 1975 and utilizes federal, state and county funds to develop programs and partnerships to deliver essential services to the seniors of Monmouth County. Their objective is to enhance the quality of life of Monmouth County Older Adults and their caregivers with respect, care and accountability.  They advocate for the elderly by advising local governments on the needs of older adults, recommending legislation where appropriate, and monitoring all programs funded under Title III of the Older Americans Act. In addition to the Interfaith Neighbors Senior Nutrition/Meals on Wheels program, Title III of the Older Americans Act also provides supportive services for information and assistance, outreach, benefits screening, legal assistance, nutrition education and counseling, transportation, certified home health aides, housekeeping, senior centers, Adult Protective Services, residential maintenance, telephone reassurance, friendly visiting, child care/Grandparent raising grandchildren, physical health, physical fitness, education and socialization/recreation. 

“Monmouth County is committed to assisting our most vulnerable residents and the work that Sue Moleon and the entire Division on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans Services clearly exemplifies this commitment,” said Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone. “We are grateful to Interfaith Neighbors and all of our community partners for working with us to serve our senior citizens.”

This county agency not only provides funding, but support and expertise to non-profit service providers across the county who serve senior citizens. They are a wonderful resource to senior citizens and their families in connecting to resources or navigating the social services network. 

“The Monmouth County Office on Aging provides irreplaceable assistance in helping us execute on our daily program of providing 1,100 meals to homebound and congregate senior sites across Monmouth County. Led by director Sue Moleon, and her team of Sam Pandure, Linda Jensen and Cherry San, their combined decades of experience and expertise help us navigate the multitude of questions that arise through our work on the various grants we receive to undertake Interfaith Neighbors’ largest agency program,” comments Chip Craig, Interfaith’s Associate Executive Director and Chief Business Officer. “They are always available for consultation, never too busy, and always with a mind-set of helping us find answers and solutions to the questions and challenges we might be encountering.”

Interfaith Neighbors is grateful for their continued financial support and expertise in helping us to ensure that Monmouth County senior citizens do not have to choose between their housing or medications and a healthy meal. The Senior Nutrition/Meals on Wheels program is Interfaith Neighbors largest program both in terms of operating budget and staff and volunteers. The Monmouth County Office on Aging works with us to help enroll new senior citizen clients into the program, administers the bulk of the funding to support the program, and assists us with purchasing and connections to other service providers.

Donor Highlight | Anonymous Donor is Changing Lives| November 2021

Interfaith Neighbors is truly blessed to have the many loyal and generous donors that have supported our mission over the past 33 years. Some of you have been giving from the very earliest days of our founding. Some have just discovered Interfaith Neighbors, connected by a friend or someone in the community. Regardless, it is all of you that makes our tag line, “Neighbors Helping Neighbors,” ring true.

The donor we would like to draw your attention to has requested anonymity, but has agreed to let us share her story, hoping to inspire others to give. For the purposes of this story, we will call her the Good Neighbor.

Over the years, the Good Neighbor family has been regular, loyal supporters of Interfaith Neighbors. About four years ago, she decided to come by our offices for a visit before making her annual gift. After speaking with Joe Marmora and members of the Interfaith Neighbors team, the Good Neighbor decided to increase her year-end annual gift to $10,000! What a wonderful surprise.

The next year, the donor came back for another visit and this time took a tour of Interfaith Neighbors’ Kula Urban Farm and our Asbury Park Westside neighborhood programs. She learned about the Kula Cafe Hospitality Training program and the new SOAR Program that was just getting underway, and it was these workforce development programs that the donor really connected with – helping individuals enter the workforce, participate in education programs to allow them to advance in their jobs, and through these programs improve the community and their families’ futures. For the next two years, this special donor continued to donate $10,000 each year, but now focused on these jobs programs.

In late 2020, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic shutdowns, Interfaith Neighbors began talking with the Good Neighbor about the impact of the pandemic on the families that we serve through our programs. So many people had lost their jobs or had their hours or wages reduced and were struggling financially. We shared how during this time, here at Interfaith Neighbors, we took the opportunity to retool our jobs and career programs, expanding their reach to serve a broader sectrion of the community while combining all of these services under the newly named Launch Center. Seeing the impact of the pandemic and the need in the community that we were successfully addressing, she decided to invest in our work in a significant way. Shortly therafter, a contribution arrived from the Good Neighbor in the amount of $100,000!

“We decided to make this contribution because these programs are helping young people. It’s giving them a boost to get the education they need to secure a good job or overcome the challenges that are keeping them out of the workplace. It helps those that have been incarcerated, who are struggling to get back into the workforce, find a path,” says the Good Neighbor.

The Good Neighbor grew up as a member of a congregation committed to social action both locally and internationally. Giving back and helping others has always been a part of her life. She and her family have been philanthropic supporters of charitable organizations over the years including providing technology to schools in Israel, funding endowments at Trinity College, and supporting their local congregation. When the family relocated to this area, they joined one of Interfaith Neighbors founding congregations – Monmouth Reform Temple, which is also dedicated to social action. Sally Priesand, President of the Board of Trustees at Interfaith Neighbors, served as the Rabbi at Monmouth Reform Temple until her retirement. Our Good Neighbor credits Rabbi Sally for her connection to Interfaith Neighbors. Rabbi Sally says, “This generous donor understands the true meaning of the Hebrew word tz’dakah. Most people translate it as charity, but literally it means righteousness. In other words, we give charity because it is the right thing to do, and the best way to count our blessings is by making our blessings count.”

If you are interested in one of Interfaith Neighbors’ programs or services, please give us a call to arrange a visit or a tour. It may just inspire you to get more involved as a volunteer or donor!

Donor Highlight | Funding Growth | June 2021

Interfaith Neighbors, Inc. received its first grant from the Elizabeth & Barets O. Benjamin Charitable Foundation in 2011. To date, they have provided philanthropic support totaling $245,000 changing the trajectory of many lives served by Interfaith Neighbors.

The Benjamin Foundation works to share the legacy of Mrs. Elizabeth Benjamin, a strong, independent woman who was ahead of her time in many ways. Their grants are focused in two areas – supporting adolescent girls and older women through their W.I.S.E. (Women of Independence, Strength and Education) Initiative and a focus on youth development and college access with a special focus on Monmouth County, where Mrs. Benjamin had lived for the majority of her life.

Since the start of our relationship with the Benjamin Foundation, they have been a wonderful partner investing in new ideas and programs designed to serve individuals from the greater Asbury Park area striving to change their futures.

“The Benjamin Foundation was our first investor in Interfaith’s new social enterprise, the Kula Cafe, back in 2012, designed to prepare young adults for work in the expanding hospitality industry in Asbury Park and to bring a local eatery with healthy options to the Westside neighborhood,” says Paul L. McEvily, Executive Director of Interfaith Neighbors.

He continues, “They funded the concept and stuck with us as we got the initiative off the ground. They believed in our goal to train young people from the community with the basic skills they would need for that first job and those specific skills to be successful in a local restaurant. We learned a lot in those first few years. Primarily, that many of the people we were training needed help with more than just training for a job. They were facing challenges around transportation, childcare, housing, etc.”

Two years after Interfaith Neighbors launched the Kula Urban Farm, the Benjamin Foundation took another leap with us as we expanded our workforce development programs to include the Farm Experience Program, targeted to those individuals who were returning to the workforce needing a short-term work experience to kick-start their job search. In 2016, they allowed us to apply their funding to both the Kula Cafe and the Kula Farm training programs.

The Benjamin Foundation’s consistent funding over the years has allowed Interfaith Neighbors to develop, grow and refine its workforce development programs. Most recently, the Benjamin Foundation continues to support us as we announce the opening of the Launch Center. The Launch Center, a collection of programs and services that meet people where they are, address their barriers to personal and economic success, and help them to identify their goals and a pathway forward to achieve those goals. All of Interfaith Neighbors’ workforce development programs now fall under the Launch Center along with our SOAR career training program and our Business Development Center.

“The Interfaith Neighbors team has done an impressive job designing creative programs to train Asbury Park youth for local employment opportunities,” says Peter Lasser, Chair of the Benjamin Foundation Board. “They pay close attention to the full array of supports that program participants need in order to be successful, and have also developed strong and effective relationships with the broader community.”

We are grateful for the consistent and loyal support we have received from the Benjamin Foundation. Their support has truly changed the lives of over 100 individuals who have benefited from these programs.

Donor Highlight | Neighborhood Transformation | December 2020

“This is a state tax credit program that really works,” Interfaith Neighbors Executive Director Paul McEvily has said repeatedly.

His comment refers to New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs’ Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) program, a fundamental part of IFN’s development projects, and support of community initiatives in Asbury Park’s West Side neighborhood.

Established in 2006, the NRTC program encourages investment in distressed neighborhoods via a 100 percent tax credit for New Jersey corporations with a state tax liability. Over the past 12 years, IFN has received over $8 million in tax credit investments to fund construction  and programming focused on the West Side neighborhood of Asbury Park. IFN has allocated over $1 million from this program to over 20 community initiatives led by other area non-profits. Investors in IFN’s NRTC projects include New Jersey Natural Gas, NJ American Water, M&T Bank, among others.

“The reason this program is a success is the leveraging  opportunities it has created to attract additional capital to the Asbury Park community,” McEvily said.

They include the $15 million in infrastructure improvements the City of Asbury Park completed in the Springwood Avenue corridor during IFN’s construction of the Springwood Center and the mortgage financing afforded to local homebuyers.

Construction of IFN’s Kula Urban Farm and the adjacent Springwood Center were supported by the NRTC program.

NRTC investments have supported our Kula Café and Kula Urban Farm social enterprises, as well as our SOAR workforce development program. Interfaith Neighbors was also able to support Community Affairs and Resource Center’s (CARC) workforce program, the local Big Brother and Big Sister mentoring initiative, the Monmouth County Boys & Girls Club Junior Entrepreneur Program, Second Baptist Church’s Fine Art & Technology youth summer camp, the Women’s Hospitality Network’s support for females experiencing homelessness, and the popular Asbury Park Music Foundation’s Music Mondays in the Park free concert series.

IFN’s latest project to receive NRTC investments is the Parkview AP development. As a state-certified home developer, IFN has constructed over 55 affordable homes in the West Side neighborhood.

Parkview AP, a 10-lot project along Springwood Avenue, stands out among other affordable housing projects in Asbury Park because of its focus on homeownership and its income property component, said Patrick Durkin, IFN’s Director of Real Estate Development.

Architectural rendering of the completed Parkview AP homes.

“Currently only 25 percent of people own their homes in Asbury Park,” said Durkin, who maintains that the best way to transform a distressed community is by increasing the opportunity for its residents to become homeowners.

Each Parkview AP lot features a three bedroom, two and one-half bath single family home fronting Springwood Avenue and a one-bedroom apartment above the adjacent garage.  The owner-occupied development affords one the ability to live in one home while renting out the other. And while this is a mixed-income housing project, primarily targeting low to moderate-income families and individuals, it also addresses a group often overlooked – middle market homebuyers unable to afford the rising market rate home prices in Asbury Park. The first home is projected to be finished in February with the next two following closely behind.

In October, the NJ Department of Community Affairs NRTC program announced a new funding program for small businesses located in NRTC neighborhoods. As many small businesses are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis restrictions, the agency has made funding availalble to assist small businesses with rent, utilities, and COVID-related expenses.  IFN, working with the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce applied for and received $133,000 in funding for West Side neighborhood affected businesses. These funds are meant to keep them on their feet until it is safe to ease restrictions again, McEvily said.

Donor Highlight | The Stone Foundation of New Jersey | September 2019

The Stone Foundation of New Jersey was founded in 1998 by members of the Huber family. To date, the family has awarded over $5 million in grant funding, with a focus on Monmouth County. The Stone Foundation works with organizations that are intent on community building or the environment. They look to see how an agency fits into the broader fabric of the communities they serve.

The Stone Foundation first became involved with the revitalization of the West Side neighborhood of Asbury Park when they joined with the Monmouth Conservation Foundation to provide the balance of funds needed by the City of Asbury Park for the construction of Springwood Park.

Most recently, they awarded Interfaith Neighbors a $15,000 grant in support of the SOAR program. “The interconnectedness of Interfaith Neighbors’ programs, which are really addressing the needs of the community, and focusing on the existing residents is what led us to support Interfaith Neighbors. And, SOAR is an extraordinary example of that,” says Sam Huber.
Interfaith Neighbors is grateful for the continued support of the revitalization of the West Side neighborhood of Asbury Park by the Stone Foundation of New Jersey.

Donor Highlight | TD Charitable Foundation | June 2019

TD Charitable Foundation has been a long-time supporter of Interfaith Neighbors, awarding over $75,000 in grant funding over the years to support Interfaith Neighbors’ Affordable Housing program. This spring, the TD Charitable Foundation awarded its latest grant of $10,000 to Interfaith Neighbors in support of the Kula Urban Farm.

TD Bank’s “The Ready Commitment” initiative has refocused their charitable giving to impact positive change increasing financial security, environmental quality, inclusive communities and equitable health outcomes. Their recent grant to Interfaith supports the overall Kula Farm program, the Kula Farm Experience program, and provides for farm supplies.

Interfaith Neighbors is grateful for the TD Charitable Foundation’s continued support of our efforts and is proud to partner with them in our mission of improving the quality of life for individuals, families and the communities in which they live.

Donor Highlight | March for Meals | March 2019

Help Prevent Senior Hunger and Isolation

The month of March mobilizes hundreds of local Meals on Wheels programs across the country to reach out to their communities and build the support that will enable them to serve America’s seniors all year long. The 17th annual March for Meals campaign gave the businesses, organizations, governments and volunteers who contribute so generously in their communities an opportunity to support homebound seniors in a variety of ways to make America stronger and healthier.

Our Nation’s Senior Population is Growing Exponentially

21% of NEW JERSEY residents are senior citizens.

The average life expectancy today across the nation is 79 years.

Nationally, the senior population is set to NEARLY DOUBLE BY 2060 from 58 million to 114 million.

Leaving More and More Americans at Risk of Hunger and Isolation

Nationally, nearly 9 million seniors face the threat of hunger.

237,839 New Jersey Seniors are threatened by hunger.

And, While Hunger and Isolation Can Affect Anyone with Limited Mobility and Declining Health, Financial Strain Makes Them Much Worse

Over 1,000 meals are delivered every day by Meals on Wheels Monmouth County provided by Interfaith Neighbors by hundreds of volunteer and staff to seniors at home and 7 congregate sites.

Meals on Wheels can provide a senior citizen meals for one year for roughly the same cost as spending one day in the hospital or 10 days in a nursing home.

March for Meals Community Champions

This year, the following businesses and organizations stepped forward to become March for Meals Community Champions!  Many thanks for their continued support of both Interfaith Neighbors and Monmouth County Senior Citizens!

Gold Sponsors

  • Builders’ General Supply Company
  • Interfaith Neighbors Staff
  • New Jersey Natural Gas
  • NJM Insurance Group

Silver Sponsors

  • 1st Constitution Bank
  • Independent Living Residents Association of Bella Terra

Bronze Sponsors

  • Hall Construction

If you are interested in becoming a Meals on Wheels Community Champion and showing your support of Monmouth County Senior Citizens, please contact Stephanie Ferrier at [email protected] or call 732-775-0525 ext. 220.

Donor Highlight | OceanFirst Foundation | November 2018

OceanFirst Grants Propel Local Career Training

The OceanFirst Foundation has awarded a grant of $10,000 to be used for

Katherine B. Durante, Executive Director of the OceanFirst Foundation presents grant to Interfaith Neighbors Kula Cafe Hospitality Training Program participants and program staff.

Interfaith Neighbors’ Kula Café Hospitality Training Program and our new SOAR career pathway program that will launch in 2019.

“The OceanFirst Foundation has been a steady funding partner for Interfaith Neighbors, and we thank the foundation for supporting programs to develop meaningful career choices and economic stability for local residents,” said Senior Development Officer Stephanie A. Ferrier.

Founded in 1902, OceanFirst Bank created its foundation in 1996 with a $13.4 million endowment approved by the bank’s depositors. The foundation is based in Toms River. Since that time, more than $35 million in grants have been awarded to help families, organizations, schools and communities in central and southern New Jersey. The foundation’s target areas include housing, youth development and education, quality of life, health and wellness, and the arts.

“OceanFirst is proud to partner with Interfaith Neighbors to help empower our neighbors with the skills and training they need to succeed in today’s workforce,” said Executive Director Katherine B. Durante.  “We look forward to seeing the program participants achieve their employment goals.”

Donor Highlight | Mary Owen Borden Foundation | September 2018

Our first grant supporter has never stopped giving!

Thirty years ago, the Mary Owen Borden Foundation gave a newly-launched  Interfaith Neighbors its first grant to help carry out a mission to prevent families from becoming homeless.

This year, as we celebrate 30 years of serving the community, we would like to remember that very first grant and express our appreciation of that foundation that  has been with us all the way.

“Mary Owen Borden was the first, and has supported us consistently year in and year out,” says Executive Director Paul McEvily.

“Originally, the grants were for the homeless program, and then, beyond that, the Foundation has had a particular interest in supporting the revitalization of Asbury Park,” McEvily said. “They’ve provided funding for our workforce development program, neighborhood revitalization, the Kula Cafe and Kula Urban Farm.”

Because of Mary Owen Borden’s interest in Asbury Park and revitalization, the foundation asked McEvily to join its Board of Trustees. “They were intent of having representation on their board from an agency that provides frontline services for the communities they support,” he said.

Bertram H. Borden founded the Mary Owen Borden Foundation in 1934 to honor his wife shortly after her death. In the early decades, the foundation funded local charities and  projects at Victory Park, Rumson High School, Monmouth Medical Center and the Manhatten School of Music.

In recent decades, Mary Owen Borden has focused on the needs of disadvantaged youth and their families in New Jersey’s Mercer and Monmouth Counties. That focus on disadvantaged families led Mary Owen Borden to become a strong supporter of Interfaith.

Just as it did 30 years ago, the Foundation continues to support our program to prevent homelessness. The latest grant of $15,000, for which we are thankful, was awarded in June 2018.

Donor Highlight | Mid-Atlantic Regional Group Charitable Foundation

Interfaith Neighbors is one of five charity organizations to be beneficiaries of Mid Atlantic Resource Group Charitable Foundation’s successful Diamond Jubilee Gala, which was held on April 14, 2018 at Battleground Country Club.

Each organization, which includes Lunch Break, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties, Allaire Community Farm, RallyCap

Sports and Interfaith Neighbors, is receiving $10,000, said Linda Blum, president of the foundation’s Board of Trustees.

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Arthur B. Hodes founded Mid Atlantic Resource Group, LLC. in 1975. MARG provides personal insurance, investment advice and employee benefits to its clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.  MARG Charitable Foundation was formed 10 years ago when, along with MARG’s founder, other employees in the Wall-based company wanted to give back to the community.

“We are a pass-through charity.  It is rewarding to make a difference in the lives of others, whether the cause is health-related issues, special needs or groups supporting their community,” said Blum who also is MARG’s marketing director. “Whatever the cause is, it’s a wonderful feeling to hand out $50,000.”

The foundation’s first gala was held 10 years ago and the annual event has grown ever since. The foundation usually chooses two or three charities to benefit each year, Blum said. Because this was the 10th year, they decided to bring back five of the charities from the past and raise enough money to give each $10,000. The gala grossed over $80,000. “It was our best gala yet, Blum said.

The foundation’s mission is to support a culture of service within the firm while providing a way to collectively raise awareness as well as the financial resources of children and families in need in the areas MARG serves.

Donor Highlight | Friends  of the Spring Lake Five

The growth of the highly popular Spring Lake Five Mile Run from 500 runners in 1977 to the 12,500 today has seen the event’s proceeds not only benefit the town’s recreation program, local clubs and volunteer organizations but neighborhoods, youth and families beyond Spring Lake’s borders. Interfaith Neighbors is one of many beneficiaries of the race and the link to how that came about in the past eight years is Interfaith Neighbors’ Trustee, Walter “Chip” Craig, who has lived with his family in Spring Lake since 1995.In 2001, Craig and four other town residents formed the not-for-profit Friends of the Spring Lake 5, donating all net proceeds from the annual event to worthy organizations and programs. “As trustees of the event, we felt very fortunate to live in a town like Spring Lake,” he said.  “You don’t have to look too far from our town to see that what we do through the race could help other communities. We wanted to reach out and broaden our giving to other communities,’’ Craig said.Craig says he first learned of Interfaith Neighbors in 2009 at his church, St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Spring Lake. After an initial meeting with Interfaith directors Joe Marmora and Paul McEvily, Chip scheduled a meeting for the Friends of the Spring Lake 5 trustees to hear more about Interfaith. “It was easy to understand their mission and the purpose of their activities,” he remembers. “Interfaith had such a track record of performance, achievement and integrity that they were a perfect spot for our support.”As a result, the Friends made their first donation to enable the purchase of a replacement delivery truck for Interfaith’s Meals On Wheels program. “That was our first step out – our first meaningful donation outside what had been our traditional pattern of donations,” Craig said. McEvily says, “And that was the start of this beautiful, supportive friendship with the Race.”Following that initial donation, the Spring Lake 5 has continued to support Interfaith Neighbors. Their next donation helped to equip the Kula Café kitchen. “We also made a significant donation to help complete the construction of the Kula Farm greenhouse,” Craig said. “We followed that donation with a donation for the Kula delivery truck and for a security system at Springwood Center. Just this past year, we made a donation to enable Interfaith to start the Farm Without Borders program, which is the community garden created on Springwood Avenue.” The group also recently provided seed money to start developing the program model for Career Corp, an expansion of the workforce development program operated at the Kula Café into other industries.”They’ve consistently supported the Business Development Center, café and farm as they like to support the innovative and new social enterprise initiatives, particularly if it benefits youth or young adults,” McEvily said.Interfaith Neighbors is just one of dozens of groups supported in and outside of Spring Lake by the road race, which has become one of the largest runs in the country. The list of other organizations benefitting from their support includes, among others, the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County, Lunch Break and Collier Youth Services, Craig said.Since 2001, it is estimated that the Friends of the Spring Lake 5 have donated over $2.1 million to local charities, volunteer organizations, town initiatives and Spring Lake Recreation. “We plan on continuing our support of Interfaith Neighbors,” Craig said. “It has been one a remarkable organization to work with. The creative community programs they initiate and carry through to impact are the kind of programs and organizations we want to support.”Mr. Craig is an attorney and the managing partner of Coast Capital Partners LLC.

The Interfaith Neighbors Network