How We Picked the Winners

Our methodology for how we selected the 56 finalists and 10 winners of the Great Oak Awards. Also, read about the judges who made the final selections.

The Great Oak Awards are determined through a three-step process. First, New Jersey Monthly invited nonprofits from around the state to nominate companies that deserve recognition for their support of worthy causes within New Jersey. To be eligible, companies must be based in New Jersey or have a presence here that drives charitable activities within the state.

Each nominated company was asked to submit a form detailing its philanthropic activities for calendar or fiscal 2013. Companies were asked to provide information on the following:

• Direct financial support to charitible causes.

• In-kind donations of goods and services.

• Volunteer hours.

• Matching funds for employee contributions.

• Programs to encourage employee volunteerism.

Additionally, companies were asked to tell us about their signature charitable programs and to explain how their charitable activities meet specific community needs.

A team of New Jersey Monthly editors reviewed the completed forms and determined that 56 companies were eligible as finalists. The finalists were divided into three categories—small, medium and large—based on the size of their full-time New Jersey workforce. Small companies are defined as those with up to 100 New Jersey employees; medium companies have 101 to 1,500 Jersey employees; large companies have 1,501 or more.

The names of finalists in the three categories were then submitted to our three-person judging panel. This year’s judges were Hans Dekker, president of the Community Foundation of New Jersey; Dennis Miller, president of Dennis C. Miller Associates; and Abby O’Neill, principal of Abby O’Neill Consulting LLC. After reviewing the submissions, the judges gathered in early June at the Morristown offices of New Jersey Monthly and chose 10 winning companies: three each from the small and large categories, and four from the medium category.

The winning companies were chosen based on objective measures, such as total donations, in-kind giving and volunteer hours, as well as subjective factors, including creativity, innovation, timeliness and impact of their charitable programs and partnerships.

Meet The Judges

For the inaugural Great Oak Awards, New Jersey Monthly assembled a panel of three judges, each an expert on charitable giving.

Hans Dekker has been president of the Morristown-based Community Foundation of New Jersey since 2003. During his tenure, the foundation has made more than $225 million in grants to charitable causes. Dekker is a past chair of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers.

Dennis Miller, president of Denville-based Dennis C. Miller Associates, works with leaders of nonprofits on improving board governance, leadership, strategic vision and fund-raising. He also serves as executive director of the Center for Excellence in Leadership, Governance and Philanthropy at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Abby O’Neill, principal of Abby O’Neill Consulting LLC, provides guidance for philanthropies, nonprofits and companies that seek to create economic, health, educational and cultural opportunities for all citizens. Previously, O’Neill served as vice president of communications and programs at the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation. In addition, she built and led the New Jersey corporate giving, sponsorship and employee-volunteer programs at Bank of America and its predecessors, Fleet, Summit and NatWest.

Click here to read about the other Great Oak Award finalists.

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