About the honorees for NNJCF’s 25th Anniversary Celebration

Meet the Honorees of NNJCF’s 25th Anniversary Celebration

In 2023, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation is honoring our founding president, as well as three people who have shown exceptional leadership in civic affairs, environmental protection, and the arts in and around Hackensack.

Michael J. Shannon

President, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation

Michael Shannon is founding president of the not-for-profit Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF) located in Hackensack, NJ. Mr. Shannon holds a B.A. in Architecture from Princeton University, an M.A. in Adult Education from the department of Organization & Leadership at Columbia Teachers College, and a M.A. in Anthropology from Columbia University. His professional background includes corporate management as President, Northwood Corporation; Director, Design & Marketing, at Dunbar Furniture Company; and Director of Design, Formica Corporation. His self-employed experience includes design management consulting, free-lance furniture design, and pre-K-12 educational consulting in the fields of Design & Technology Education, 3-D Design, and Service Learning.

Photo credit: Michael Shannon

Albert Dib

City of Hackensack Director of Redevelopment and Economic Development

Albert Dib is a lifelong resident of Hackensack where he lives with his wife, Jeanne, and daughter, Marley.

He is a graduate of Fordham University and received his J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law. He was a commercial litigator for several years before joining the City of Hackensack in 2004.  In his time at City Hall, Albert served in many roles including Information Technology, legal and administrative support.

In 2009, Albert was tasked with overseeing the Special Improvement District as the Executive Director for the Main Street Business Alliance. During that time, the Alliance and City laid the groundwork for what would ultimately result the downtown transformation currently underway. Albert currently serves as the City’s Director of Economic Development and Redevelopment. He is also a member of the City’s Planning Board, Performing Arts Center Board, Environmental Commission and city liaison to the Main Street Business Alliance.

Photo credit: Albert Dib

Jennylyn C.A. Brown

Chair, Hackensack Environmental Commission; President, Garden Club of Hackensack; Girl Scout Troop 95880 co-leader

Jennylyn Brown, a resident of Hackensack for sixteen years, hails from the Caribbean Island of Grenada and spent her formative years in New York City. She’s always found solace and fulfillment in nature’s beauty, and she’s honored to bring these passions to serve her community.

Jennylyn holds several community leadership positions where she works toward a greener future for Hackensack and its residents. She serves as the Chairperson of the Hackensack Environmental Commission, an advisor board to the City Council in matters of open space, water resources, and pollution control, among other environmental issues, and as President of the Garden Club of Hackensack, a group united by their love of gardening, environmental stewardship, and the arts.

As Girl Scout Troop 95880 co-leader, Jennylyn leads by example for the next generation of community leaders and environmental advocates. She nurtures the growth and development of young women, empowering them to become responsible, confident, and compassionate members of the community.

Photo credit: Jennylyn C.A. Brown

Monica Chavarria-Malin

President, Hackensack Art Club; Curator and Art Director of Club Colombia USA of Hackensack

As an art teacher with more than 24 years of experience, I have always included in my curriculum the interest in the preservation of nature and human values to my students. I have a bachelor’s degree in visual arts, a Bachelor’s degree in Artistic Education, and a Master’s in Management and Cultural Promotion from Antioquia University-Colombia.

As an artist, with a Colombian background, I grew up surrounded by trees and flowers. Many people have called me “The Tree Lady.” I paint surrealistic trees that take on human form. Are they trees or are they people? They are both. Often, I add meaningful words as part of the scene. My paintings show a festival of trees in which human feelings are reflected through their branches that become arms that touch and caress each other. The imagination and the philosophy of love are reflected in the faces and bodies, creating a fantasy space, a spiritual dance of love between soul mates. My paintings invite the viewer to appreciate nature while seeing the connection between trees and people. Also, the natural wood frames made of tree bark incorporate a real element of nature and become an extension of the painting. My artwork depicts reflections about life and the preservation of nature.

For over 30 years I have participated in several art exhibitions and cultural events. I have had the honor of painting murals for the city of Hackensack, and Paterson. I currently serve as the president of the Hackensack Art Club, the Curator and Art Director of Club Colombia USA of Hackensack, member of the Fort Lee Artist Guild, Member of the Art Educators of New Jersey, member of the group “Colombian Leaders Working for a Better Colombia”, and recently, part of the team leading the Green Infrastructure for Environmental Justice initiative.