New Jersey LCV honors Verizon and other environmental champions at annual gala

The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters hosted its 9th annual gala on June 12. The event raised a record-setting $328,000 for the organization, which is more than double the amount raised last year. The organization also set a new record for turnout, with approximately 500 people in attendance.

“We are extremely grateful to our supporters who attended the New Jersey LCV gala and helped us achieve a new milestone in donations. Their generosity enables us to continue our mission of ensuring that everyone in New Jersey has access to clean air, safe drinking water and open space for recreation,” Ed Potosnak, executive director, New Jersey LCV, said. “By educating the public and holding our elected officials accountable, we can make a real difference in fighting for the issues we believe in — including mitigating the climate crisis, advancing environmental justice and protecting the environment for our children and grandchildren.”

New Jersey LCV also recognized and presented awards to environmental champions. The following individuals and organizations were honored for their environmental leadership:

  • Sustainability Award — in recognition of committing to a sustainable future in New Jersey, integrating sustainability in everyday life, and making sustainability more accessible to the public: Verizon, accepted by Sowmyanarayan Sampath, CEO for Verizon Consumer Group.
  • Emerald Award — in appreciation of outstanding devotion to the protection of New Jersey’s precious air, water and open space: New Jersey Sen. Andrew Zwicker (D-Hillsborough); New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City); Somerset County Commissioner Melanie Marano.
  • Founders Award — in appreciation of outstanding leadership, vision and devoted service to the success of New Jersey LCV: U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.).
  • Changemaker Award — in recognition of making an incomparable difference for New Jersey’s environment in your community and the lives of others: Capt. Bill Sheehan, Hackensack Riverkeeper; Henal Patel, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice; Sam Pesin, Friends of Liberty State Park.

New Jersey LCV was also honored to be joined by Vincent Mann, chief of the Turtle Clan of the Ramapough Munsee Lunaape Nation, who opened the ceremony with a land acknowledgement. Additional speakers included Somerset Mayor Phil Kramer; Corporate Advisory Board Chair Nick Adamo; U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Public Engagement Stephanie Klein; and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn Latourette. Other notable attendees included many statewide elected officials and environmental champions.

“We integrate our ESG strategy into operational decision-making across Verizon to make us a stronger, more resilient company for business and for society. We have an obligation to lead in areas like climate protection, human prosperity and diversity — areas where we know we can not only make an impact, but drive positive and lasting change for our customers, our shareholders, our employees and society,” Sampath said.

“It was a tremendous honor from New Jersey LCV to be in the awards group with such great environmental leaders and to hear their informative and inspiring remarks,” Pesin, volunteer president of Friends of Liberty State Park, said. “I again thank New Jersey LCV and Executive Director Ed Potosnak for their critical public good leadership, mission and accomplishments, and for their strong support in the grassroots battles against Liberty State Park commercialization and privatization.”

“I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from New Jersey LCV, an organization that provides such energetic leadership to policymakers throughout our state,” Marano said. “Thanks to you, an increasing number of elected officials ask themselves ‘How will this decision affect our environment?’ every time they consider a new law or policy.”

“I am humbled to see the environmental and business community come together to support New Jersey LCV’s efforts,” Jason Krane, senior director of development, New Jersey LCV, said. “I am proud of our accomplishments and excited to be able to set and break multiple fundraising records all in support of our mission to preserve this beautiful state for future generations.”