Great Oak Awards: Saluting Jersey’s Most Generous Companies

Each year, New Jersey Monthly presents the Great Oak Awards to honor the state’s businesses for their work on behalf of social and charitable causes and nonprofits.

Large Companies

Industry: Health care and agriculture
NJ Employees: 2,800
Cash Giving: $700,000
Volunteer Hours: 4,200
Through Bayer’s company initiative Making Science Make Sense, the global enterprise is committed to helping improve science education and literacy in schools. With 140 employee volunteers, MSMS-New Jersey reached over 2,300 students by conducting in-class experiments and hosting teacher workshops. Bayer is also heavily involved in community service and events and supports nonprofits that focus on issues such as hunger, shelter, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness.

Franklin Lakes
Industry: Health care
NJ Employees: 2,000
Cash Giving: $1.3 million
BD supports organizations that provide resources to vulnerable populations faced with challenges like hunger, housing and homelessness. Focusing mostly on the Paterson area, BD’s volunteers regularly serve meals at Oasis, a Haven for Women and Children. Through Students2Science, they host student visits to the company labs in Hanover Park. BD also funds Ramapo College’s minority-scholarship program and supports Fairleigh Dickinson University’s nursing and pharmacy schools.

Celgene Corporation
Industry: Biopharmaceuticals
NJ Employees: 3,000
Cash Giving: $1.16 million
Celgene’s philanthropic efforts focus on health services and STEM education. The company supported organizations and events, including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Valerie Fund, Good Grief and the Captain Turner Ocean Swim in Longport. STEM-related philanthropy focused on the Governor’s STEM Scholars program, the Student Partner Alliance and Rockefeller University’s Science Saturday Program. Celgene also supports Community Health Charities and the American Red Cross, among others.

Ernst & Young, LLP
Industry: Accounting/advisory services
NJ Employees: 2,070 full-time; 1,281 part-time
Cash Giving: $100,000
Volunteer Hours: 5,300
Ernst & Young’s Corporate Responsibility Strategy focuses on three target areas: education, entrepreneurship and workforce equality. The firm’s College MAP program, a long-term group-mentoring program for high school students, is active in more than 30 U.S. cities. The EY Vantage Program allows managers to work alongside high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets to address their largest business obstacles at no fee, leading to accelerated growth and job creation. EY supports numerous organizations, including Junior Achievement, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and the Boy & Girls Clubs.

Merck & Co., Inc.
Industry: Health care
NJ Employees: 6,555
Volunteer Hours: 34,973
To celebrate Merck’s 125th anniversary in 2016, the company challenged employees to reach out in their local communities. Employees responded by volunteering with Children’s Specialized Hospital, the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and the Newark chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, a small group of employees worked with America’s Grow-a-Row, a nonprofit based in Pittstown, and harvested 40,000 pounds of squash that was delivered to local food banks and soup kitchens.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.
East Hanover
Industry: Pharmaceutical
NJ Employees: 4,157 full-time; 635 part-time
Cash Giving: $1.1 million
Volunteer Hours: 12,013
The Novartis Patient Assistance Foundation donated medicines to 921 New Jersey patients in 2016, an in-kind gift valued at more than $29 million. Employees volunteer through initiatives created by NPC, including the annual Community Partnership Day, when employees volunteer with local nonprofits. Additionally, NPC associates volunteer with the company’s Multi-Cultural Teen Mentoring Program and the Disability Mentoring Day, encouraging academic and career success for underserved New Jersey populations.

Basking Ridge
Industry: Technology & communications
NJ Employees: 154,000+
Cash Giving: $500,000
Volunteer Hours: 31,755
The Verizon Foundation focuses on STEM education, domestic-violence awareness and sustainability programs. The foundation has donated funds to the Liberty Science Center, the Newark Library, the Red Cross and other nonprofits. Verizon also runs a HopeLine program with Jersey Battered Women’s Services, donating, refurbishing and reselling old mobile devices, accessories and batteries to benefit victims of domestic violence. In 2016, Verizon donated more than 230 HopeLine phones and accessories to victims of domestic violence, an in-kind gift valued at $110,000.

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