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There are many ways to have influence in New Jersey, but perhaps none is greater than giving back. We know there are a lot of folks who give generously in their communities — many of whom do not want the accolades. “Do good to do good” is a common phrase. This year, we offer four leaders who have gone (way) above and beyond to have an impact in the state. We hope you’ll be inspired by the stories on this page to find a way for you, or the company you work for, to make a difference. And we’ll offer philanthropist Ray Chambers as the ultimate example. The Jersey icon has donated his time, effort, smarts and money all over the state and the world. Most recently, he was a key (behind-the-scenes) consultant in Newark’s bid for Amazon’s HQ2. “The Amazon bid would not have had the same impact without Ray,” one insider said. “He invests and donates in Newark at the same scale he does globally — with generosity, humility and love.”
Owner and ‘chief roof giver’
Anania uses his residential roofing and remodeling company in Carlstadt to make a difference. What he calls his “for-profit, for-progress” company has helped more than 800 needy families around the world with free roofing and other emergency home repairs.
Anania says it’s his way of combining social entrepreneurship with his commercial and residential roofing business. “I made a conscious decision as a Christian and as a father to, quite frankly, make less of a profit,” he said.
And not just in New Jersey. Roof4Roof has offered assistance following natural disasters in places of poverty such as Colombia, the Philippines and Guatemala — and Anania was one of the first volunteers in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.
Last year, Anania established Contractors4Change, a 501(c)(3) charity working in conjunction with Roof4Roof. “We wanted to do more, so we incorporated Contractors4Change to encourage more people to contribute by getting tax write-offs for their donations and to get other contractors involved to do larger projects,” he said. “Maybe we could do something like an ‘Extreme Makeover’ here locally, two to four projects a year, with electricians, plumbers, carpenters and other people outside of our specific expertise.”
Rising Tide Capital
The Jersey City-based organization recently honored 248 graduates of its Community Business Academy, Rising Tide Capital’s 12-week training program for entrepreneurs on how to start, grow and sustain a business. The program, which began in 2006, now has more than 2,500 alumni.
Demmellash, the co-founder and CEO, said the program’s history of success is evident statistically. Within two years of graduating, its entrepreneurs achieve a 112 percent increase in their business sales, a 58 percent increase in household income and a 48 percent reduction in the use of public assistance.
“The Community Business Academy is the bedrock of Rising Tide Capital’s mission to help entrepreneurs chart a path toward economic independence and sustainability by providing them with the necessary tools, training and knowledge capital,” she said. “Rising Tide Capital entrepreneurs are talented and innovative, but often lack access to resources and networks.”
Demmellash is changing that.
“After graduation, our entrepreneurs begin their journey toward their business goals with the guidance of our vast network of business experts, who continue to provide support and mentoring,” she said. “As a result, these visionaries — most of whom are from underserved communities — are helping to create more inclusive, attainable and opportunity-generating local economies.”
Jingoli — often in partnership with Jack Morris — provides mentoring and job training opportunities for members of the communities where they build projects. As partners in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, the two work with Friends in Action, a local Atlantic City nonprofit, to offer a unique 12-week job training program for local residents, teaching them the skills necessary to begin a career in the construction industry. Jingoli and Morris are involved in many such programs across the state, but Jingoli lands on this page for the F.A.R.M. Team project he started on a farm in Lawrenceville.
The F.A.R.M. Team (which stands for Facilitating Active Recovery Mission) exists to serve as a vehicle to help men and women in recovery. “The purpose is to create a safe, friendly environment, where people can come in early recovery and learn transferable job skills,” Jingoli said. “The F.A.R.M. team’s mission is to facilitate the progress of young adults in recovery by providing a unique combination of focused mentoring and life skills with the goal of helping them enter a career within an established organization.”
Participants can learn job skills as well as participate in equine-assisted learning. The F.A.R.M. team also provides grants and scholarships to assist individuals when acclimating into the working world (including getting a driver’s license, providing transportation to work, providing safe housing in sober facilities and paying outstanding fines that may be preventing employment).
Monica C. Smith
Bring Dinner Home/One More Smith
As the founder of Marketsmith Inc., one of the top women-owned digital marketing firms on the East Coast, Smith is a regular on our technology list. This year, we honor her for her philanthropic work.
One More Smith, which was founded in 2004, provides a forever home for animals, mostly cats that have been neglected or abandoned.
Bring Dinner Home is the featured event of a program that helps support Camden Street School in Newark year-round since 2011. Last Thanksgiving, the event provided dinner for more than 1,000 people along with distributing more than 1,000 coats. Throughout the year, the group provides learning materials to help support programs as well as items to help students have a more stable home life, including funding a Camden Cares room at the school. It features washing machines for all families to use as needed.
Smith said she would like nothing more than to see other companies follow her example of corporate giving. “We have not yet met what we’re seeking to do,” she said. “What we haven’t been able to achieve yet is the ability for somebody else to be inspired enough to be able to do the same for Passaic, or Paterson, or Camden, or Trenton. There are plenty of schools that need an angel.”