Union County Residents Win Volunteer Grants

NEWARK – The Prudential Foundation and Prudential Financial, Inc., recently provided $407,750 in Prudential CARES Volunteer Grants to 627 nonprofit organizations worldwide.

The Prudential Foundation grants acknowledged the volunteer service of 562 Prudential associates and retirees in the United States, while the Prudential Financial grants recognized 65 Prudential employees in Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and South Korea, all who excelled in commitment, leadership and service to their communities.


The Prudential CARES Volunteer Grants program recognizes individual and team volunteers who provided a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service per individual.  Grants range from $250 to $5,000 for each award winner’s charitable organization.

The following Union County residents were presented with an award to pass along to their chosen charity.

$1,000 Winners
James Baratte of Summit, N.J., a retiree of Prudential Financial, dedicated more than 175 hours of volunteer service to Atlantic Health System Inc., Atlantic Hospice in 2008.  As a trained hospice volunteer, Baratte has assisted more than 65 patients in his 16-year tenure with companionship and emotional support for the individual and their family during the last stages of life.  Additionally, he has recruited and trained several new volunteers and serves on the “Friends of Hospice’ board of directors for fundraising programs throughout the year.

Deidre Buchner of Roselle, N.J., a project manager for the process management and human resources department of Prudential Financial, contributed more than 1,200 hours of volunteer service to North Jersey Sea Scouts Squadron Inc.   Sea Scouts aims to promote better citizenship and to improve boating skills and knowledge through instruction and practice in water safety and boating skills as well as outdoor, social and service experiences and knowledge of maritime heritage.

As a volunteer, Buchner ensured that the female scouts have female leaders and mentors throughout the program activities.  Through her training and certifications, she also facilitated training sessions for the Risk Zone and Safe Swim / Safety Afloat Programs.  Also in 2008, she was promoted to Commodore of the Liberty Flotilla.  The Liberty Flotilla is a multi-council organization, created by the Northeast Region, BSA. Its mission is to support the Sea Scouts of New York City, Northern New Jersey, Western Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley, through programs in training, service, advancement and fellowship.

Barbara Fumosa of Scotch Plains, N.J., a retiree of Prudential Financial, has been a volunteer with the Special Olympics of New Jersey, Area 5 for the past 19 years and devoted more than 350 hours of service in 2008.   As a board member, she served several roles including treasurer, medical coordinator and secretary.  Additionally, she led the team in organizing and managing area competitions including athlete and volunteer registration, securing gift donations, food preparation and conducting the competition and award presentations.   Special Olympics of New Jersey is part of an international movement whose mission is to provide year-round training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Linda Maas of Springfield, N.J., a financial analyst in the CFO department of Prudential Financial, served as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician with the Springfield First Aid Squad.  She devoted 11 hours each week to the squad to provide emergency medical services.  Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the Springfield First Aid Squad provides emergency medical services (EMS) to the residents of Springfield, those who work and play in our town and those who are “just passing through.” Composed of volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life, the First Aid Squad provides aid to those in need at no cost; the squad relies on donations to cover operational expenses.

Evan Murray of Clark, N.J., a director of investment operations in the PIM fixed incomes for Prudential Financial, volunteered as the equipment manager for Clark Pop Warner Football Inc., Pop Warner Little Scholars Inc.  He devoted more than 760 hours of service in this role and was accountable for organizing and maintaining inventory of all football equipment as well as ensuring proper condition and safety standards of all helmets and protective gear.  Additionally, Murray coordinated all home game activities including field preparation and set-up of the announcement booth and stadium facilities.  Also during the 2008 season, he served as head coach and defensive coordinator for the midget level for players ages 11, 12 and 13.  Murray focused on the importance of fair and proper football play, while teaching discipline, sportsmanship, teamwork and friendship.

William Rodgers of Union, N.J., a retiree of Prudential Financial, has volunteered with the Senior Housing Corporation III for the past 10 years and devoted 520 hours of service in 2008.   As the president and chairman of the board of directors for Senior Housing Corporation at Nora Gardens, a 100-unit apartment building, Rodgers oversees all maintenance, building enhancements and repairs to ensure comfort, safety and security.   Nora Gardens was recognized by the State of New Jersey Apartment Association as the ‘best managed property in 2008’ and honored as a ‘community of quality’ by the National Affordable Housing Management Association.

Nancy Schetelick of Union, N.J., a retiree of Prudential Financial, dedicated more than 580 hours of volunteer service to the Jersey Animal Coalition, a no-kill shelter to provide medical services, training and adoption services.  In 2008, she served as the dog-walking coordinator and volunteer trainer for more than 60 new volunteers throughout the year.   Additionally, Schetelick cleaned kennels, provided transportation to the veterinary clinic and reviewed medial charts for the shelter dogs and cats.    One of the shelter’s patients, a German shepherd, lived with Schetelick following surgery for additional care in her home until a suitable adoptive was found.

Pamela Smith of Roselle, N.J., a senior sales support associate in the group insurance department of Prudential Financial, volunteered seven hours each week as the chairwoman of the board for Shades of Recovery, Inc. in 2008.  The organization’s mission is to empower individuals through spiritual, mental, physical and emotional guidance for those recovering from substance abuse.   Smith managed and led the monthly board meetings as well as organized special spiritual retreats throughout the year and the annual luncheon.  She also served as a community advocate providing workshops and guest appearances to promote financial independence, discuss family matters and provide judicial system support for substance abuse victims to change and save lives.

Lori Warren-Williams of Roselle, N.J., a project management specialist for Prudential Financial, served as the volunteer creative director for the Uniting Talented Youth Inc.  The organization’s mission is to empower pre-teen and teenage young men and women by promoting culture and education through the performing arts.   Williams devoted more than 360 hours of service in 2008 and managed the financial reports, developed fundraising activities, facilitated monthly meetings and coordinated team building activities.  In addition, she served as a mentor lending emotional support and serving as a source of encouragement for more than 195 young people throughout the year.

$250 Winners
Patricia Baker of Plainfield, N.J., a senior human resource analyst for Prudential Financial, served as a volunteer for the H.E.R.I.T.A.G.E. Show Choir.  Heritage stands for ‘helping to enhance resources by incorporating the arts to gain education.’  In 2008 Baker devoted approximately 60 hours of service in her third year as a volunteer.  The show choir is comprised of 100 children ages seven to seventeen who learn to sing, compose and copyright their own work as well as perform various musical styles.   Baker coordinated all of the performances to ensure the children are safe, orderly and chaperoned for each event.  She also served on the planning committee for the major performances including the 2008 McDonald’s Gospel Fest competition and the annual December concert.

Henry Di Iorio of Clark, N.J., a career specialist agent in the northeast territory for Prudential Financial, served as the volunteer executive vice president for the Soccer Club of Cranford, Inc.   The soccer club serves 1,200 children between the age of four and nineteen and fosters enhancement and development of soccer skills for children of all ages and abilities.  In his leadership role, Di Iorio is responsible for all equipment and uniform purchases for the club.   Additionally, he has served on the scholarship committee since 1992.

Nancy Faulks of Roselle, N.J., a consulting manager for Prudential Financial, devoted more than 140 hours of volunteer service to the Girl Scouts, Heart of New Jersey in 2008.  Her leadership roles spanned myriad positions including encampment director, national delegate, member-at-large for the national board of directors, board development committee member, chairperson of the governance task group as well as a member of the policy committee.  Girls Scouts helps build girls of courage, confidence and character by providing opportunities for girls to develop leadership skills.

Laura Happ of Berkley Heights, N.J., a sales associate with Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, donated two hours of volunteer service each week to Sage Eldercare Inc. through the Meals on Wheels program.  As a volunteer Meals on Wheels coordinator, Happ delivers hot and cold meals to county neighbors who cannot provide daily meals for themselves.   The daily visit also provides companionship for the elderly recipients to support their independence, well being and overall quality of life.

Jason Pine of Garwood, N.J., a systems analyst and development specialist for Prudential Financial, dedicated more than 120 hours of service to the Celebration Singers.  The Celebration Singers have been entertaining audiences within the tri-state area for 70 years. The goal is to provide high quality musical programs that have a wide range of musical styles and to provide musical education for audiences and members alike, and most of all, to have fun.   Pine rehearsed with the Celebration Singers every Tuesday evening as well as created programs for concerts and performances including the holiday tree lighting and nursing home and hospital visits.

Rosa Santos of Union, N.J., a project manager for Prudential Financial, contributed more than 250 hours of volunteer service in 2008 to the Township of Union Public Schools, Washington Elementary School PTA .   Santos lent a hand to develop and execute several key programs throughout the year including ‘homework planners,” first and second grade reading night and ‘battle of the books’ to encourage learning and leadership in a fun environment.   Additionally, the PTA hosted several drives to support other local programs including canned food, supplies and toys.

Barbara Wheatley of Cranford, N.J., an executive assistant for Prudential Financial, dedicated nearly 50 hours of volunteer service for Hanson Park Conservancy.   The mission of the conservancy is to develop and maintain a public park that was once an overgrown area granted to the Town of Cranford.  Wheatley lent a hand with site clearing efforts and planting of native flowers, perennials, ground cover, and bushes and flowering trees.  She adopted a garden plot area that contains a chimney from a ‘canoe club’ building dating back to the early 1900s and weekly she maintains this garden as part of the public park.

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