Leaders to be Honored at Foundation’s Celebration

The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation honors community leaders at its 25th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, October 26, 2023.  The celebration takes place from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Aura Restaurant & Bar, located at 159 Main Street in Hackensack, New Jersey.

The festivities celebrate leaders, who are local heroes, with a cocktail reception of appetizers, a wine/beer open bar, and an interactive game-show style awards ceremony. Ryan Huban from the professional improv group, Howdy Stranger, emcees the festivities. Other highlights include a fun New Jersey trivia contest.  The celebration’s net proceeds help support the Foundation’s work in the arts, creative placemaking, environmental protection, and civic engagement.  In addition, the funds raised support public health and local education in North Jersey communities.

Community Leaders

The NNJCF will honor these local leaders in civic leadership, the arts and the environment for their contributions to the community:

Community leader Michael Shannon



Michael Shannon, President and co-founder, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation. Shannon, an Englewood resident, 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.







Jennylyn Brown, President of the Hackensack Garden Club, Chairperson of the Hackensack Environmental Commission, and Girl Scout Troop 95880 co-leader. Brown, a resident of Hackensack for 16 years, hails from Grenada and grew up in New York City. She has held several community leadership positions to create a greener future for Hackensack and its residents.  Among her leadership positions, she serves on the advisory board to the City Council concerning matters of open space, water resources, and pollution control, as well as environmental issues.



The Tree Lady

Community leader Monica Chavarria-Malin


Monica Chavarria-Malin, President of the Hackensack Art Club and Curator and Art Director of Club Colombia USA of Hackensack. She has worked for over 24 years as an art teacher. Chavarria-Malin includes in her curriculum an interest in the preservation of nature and human values. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts and Artistic Education. In addition, she holds a Master’s degree in Management and Cultural Promotion from Antioquia University-Colombia. Chavarria-Malin grew up in Colombia surrounded by trees and flowers.  Furthermore, she is called the “The Tree Lady” for her painting of surrealistic trees that take on a human form.

For over 30 years, she participated in several art exhibitions and cultural events.  Among her work, she also painted murals for the cities of Hackensack and Paterson.  A resident of Teaneck, she is a member of several organizations, including the Fort Lee Artist Guild, the Art Educators of New Jersey, and “Colombian Leaders Working for a Better Colombia”.



Lifelong Hackensack Resident

Community leader Albert Dib



Albert Dib, The City of Hackensack’s Director of Economic Development and Redevelopment. Dib, a lifelong resident of Hackensack, graduated from Fordham University.  In addition, he received a J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law. Before joining the City of Hackensack in 2004, he worked as a commercial litigator for several years.  In his work with the city, he has served in many roles, including Information Technology, legal and administrative support. As the Executive Director for the Main Street Business Alliance, he oversaw the Special Improvement District.  During that time, the Alliance and the City laid the groundwork resulting in the transformation of the downtown.  Dib is also a member of the City’s Planning Board, Performing Arts Center Board, Environmental Commission and the city liaison to the Main Street Business Alliance.


Registration and Sponsorship Opportunities

The cost per ticket is $125 per person, $600 for five tickets, $1,250 for ten tickets, $1,875 for 15 tickets and $2,500 for 20 tickets.  Tickets may be purchased online.

Sponsorship levels, ranging from $150 to $5,000, are available for individuals and businesses to participate.  Funds raised from the sponsorships benefit the NNJCF’s new and ongoing programs in the arts, creative placemaking, environmental protection and also civic engagement.

To date, sponsors for the event are: The Algrant Family, Print House, Winne Banta Basralian & Khan, M&T Bank, and bergenPAC.  In addition, other sponsors include Steven Cirillo CPA, LLC, Suburban Consulting Engineers, Arohnson Weiner Salerno & Kaufman P.C., and Newark Science and Sustainability Inc.  For information about sponsorship opportunities and relevant marketing opportunities, visit the celebration’s webpage.

In addition, people unable to attend are invited to support the organization by making a donation.  They may also send a donation by check made out to The Northern NJ Community Foundation (NNJCF).  Send donations to 1 University Plaza Drive, Suite 128, Hackensack, NJ 07601.

Celebrating 25 Years in the Community

With the motto, ‘What can we do together, that we can’t do alone?”, the Foundation helps communities in North Jersey become better places to live and work, as well as enjoy.  The Foundation brings people together to address pressing issues, such as public health, environmental protection, civil society and education.  Founded in 1998, the NNJCF has awarded over $1 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and scholarships to local residents.  The ArtsBergen initiative provides opportunities for artists, designers and makers.  The initiative also leverages the power of the arts and creative placemaking to enhance communities in Bergen County.  Furthermore, the Climate Action Mobilization Project helps Hackensack and neighboring communities become more resilient in northern New Jersey.

To get involved in the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s work, call 201-568-5608 or send an e-mail to nnjcf@nnjcf.org.

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