JESPY House gifted $1M from longtime supporters Ken and Judy Peskin

JESPY House, a South Orange-based nonprofit organization that has supported adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for 45 years, recently announced it received a $1 million gift toward its Go Big for JESPY campaign from Judy and Ken Peskin.

The Peskins’ gift supports the organization’s campaign to build new residential units for JESPY House’s clients ages 18 and up, with a focus on affordably priced units. The Go Big for JESPY campaign also will create vocational, clinical and program spaces, community spaces, a new library and technology center, and expand existing health, wellness and recreational facilities.

“When we began planning our Go Big for JESPY campaign, we knew it would take confidence, determination, incredible philanthropic support and many cheerleaders,” Audrey Winkler, JESPY’s executive director, said. “Judy and Ken were one of the first to say, ‘We’re in!’ And, thanks to their seed gift, we were positioned to think big and to go big. We are thrilled that Judy, a longtime board member, is the honorary chair of the Go Big for JESPY campaign and we will always be grateful to Ken for remaining one of JESPY’s No. 1 cheerleaders.”

“It is our sincere hope that many others will follow our lead and contribute to the Go Big for JESPY campaign,” Judy Peskin said. “We believe that this very exciting dream can come to pass and that many philanthropic people will be inspired to join us in supporting it, as did Leon and Toby Cooperman (whose historic $13.25 million matching challenge gift was announced this summer). We invite others who care about the work of JESPY to join us in supporting this campaign in a ‘big’ way. It will make an enormous difference in the lives of our clients.”

“I have long been uplifted by JESPY and its mission of enabling clients to be as independent as possible while learning to accept and deal with the various issues that affect their lives,” Ken Peskin said. “I have been privileged to witness how JESPY has changed from the original four clients to the current 300-plus clients who are supported and encouraged by professional staff. We are very excited about the organization’s future.”

The Peskins recognize that many JESPY clients are struggling with escalating rents in the community and have therefore directed their gift to support affordably priced units.