Great Oak Awards to Honor Generous Jerseyans

New Jersey Monthly to recognize philanthropist Ray Chambers and 3 Jersey-based companies.

Ray Chambers, recipient of the Catalyst Award.
Ray Chambers, recipient of the Catalyst Award.
Photo by John Emerson

Three New Jersey-based companies and one homegrown philanthropist will be the honorees at the fifth-annual Great Oak Awards dinner, October 29 at NJPAC in Newark.

New Jersey Monthly presents the Great Oak Awards each year in conjunction with presenting sponsor Berkeley College to honor the state’s businesses for their work on behalf of social and charitable causes and nonprofits.

This year’s Great Oak Awards recognize three companies and one individual, Newark native Ray Chambers, who will be presented with the inaugural Catalyst Award for individual philanthropy..

The three company winners all were chosen for their exemplary work on behalf of New Jersey charities and nonprofit initiatives. Marketsmith Inc., a marketing firm based in Cedar Knolls, is the small company winner. Atlantic Stewardship Bank, based in Midland Park, is the medium-company winner. And the Morristown-based Provident Bank Foundation takes the honors among large companies.

A panel of New Jersey business and philanthropy experts nominated 18 companies and six individuals for this year’s awards. The final honorees were chosen by a team at New Jersey Monthly based on information provided by the nominated companies.

Additional partners for the Great Oak Awards include marketing partner the NJ Sharing Network. For event tickets, click here.

Here is a look at this year’s winners:

Marketsmith, Inc. (small-company winner): Self-described as a female-owned marketing agency, Marketsmith creates marketing campaigns for a variety of clients. Services include competitive analysis, strategic planning, consumer research, creative execution, data management and direct-response marketing. Marketsmith prides itself on supporting charitable organizations that provide services for disabled children, feed the poor, further children’s education or provide permanent homes for disabled animals.

Atlantic Stewardship Bank (medium-company winner): ASB is a full-service commercial bank with branches in Bergen, Passaic and Morris counties. Founded in 1985 on the principle that it is essential to make a difference, ASB incorporated into its charter the value of tithing, or sharing, 10 percent of its taxable income each year with nonprofit, educational, charitable and/or evangelical religious organizations that foster a better community life.

The Provident Bank Foundation (large-company winner): For more than 175 years, Provident Bank has provided individuals, families and businesses with personal and business banking services. The bank created the Provident Bank Foundation in 2003 with the intent of supporting not-for-profit groups, institutions, schools and other such organizations that provide valuable services to the communities within the bank’s geographic footprint.

Ray Chambers (Catalyst Award): After building a personal fortune in private equity, Chambers turned his attention to philanthropy and humanitarianism. He has directed most of his efforts toward at-risk youth and global health. Chambers is the founder of Malaria No More, and served as its co-chairman until his appointment in 2008 as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria. He also served the UN as Special Envoy for Financing the Health Development Goals—an internationally agreed-upon set of humanitarian targets—and is currently Special Envoy for Health.

Chambers is the founding chairman of the Points of Light Foundation and co-founder, with Colin Powell, of America’s Promise—the Alliance for Youth.  He also co-founded the National Mentoring Partnership and served as chairman of the Millennium Promise Alliance. In December 2008, President George Bush recognized Chambers with the Presidential Citizens Medal for his work helping children worldwide through the fight against malaria.

Chambers has been instrumental in the revitalization of Newark, as a major contributor and fundraiser for the construction of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. He also helped bring the New Jersey Devils to the Prudential Center, which he also helped develop.

Chambers attended Rutgers University-Newark and earned an MBA from Seton Hall University.

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