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31st Annual Awards Dinner

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear Friends,

It is our pleasure to extend to you an invitation to attend the 31st Tri-County Scholarship Fund Annual Awards Dinner on Monday, November 19, 2012 at 6PM at the Parsippany Hilton in Parsippany, New Jersey.  We are proud to have Tom Healey, a 2011 honoree and a long time Tri-County trustee and friend, as this year’s honorary Dinner Chair.

Our greatest natural resource is our children.  As we celebrate 31 years of providing a values-based education for many children living at poverty levels in northern New Jersey, we ask for your support to help lift a child out of poverty and give him, or her, the hope of a brighter future.  It is up to each one of us.

A Word About Our Honorees, Peter Simon and Darla M. Romfo….

J. Peter Simon co-founded William E. Simon and Sons along with his late father, former TreasurySecretary William E. Simon, and his brother, Bill Simon, Jr. in 1988.  He serves as Co-Chairman of the Firm and its Investment Group.  Currently, Mr. Simon is an appointed member of the New Jersey State Board of Education and is a member of the Board of Trustees at Lafayette College.  He also serves as Chairman of the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Executive Advisory Committee at the University of Rochester.

Philanthropically, Mr. Simon donates his time to a broad variety of charitable entities.  He serves as Co-Chairman of the William E. Simon Foundation and Chairman of the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center Board of Trustees.  He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Richard Nixon Foundation.  He is also a member of the Covenant House New Jersey Board of Directors.  Mr. Simon resides in Green Village, New Jersey, with his wife, Janet, and their four children, Peter Jr., Emily, Timmy and Cameron.

Darla M. Romfo serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Children’s Scholarship Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to providing partial scholarships for children of low-income families in grades K-8 to go to private school. CSF’s motto is to give parents a choice and children a chance. Ms. Romfo has served as CSF’s President and COO since the organization offered its first scholarships in 1999.

Immediately prior to joining CSF, Ms. Romfo practiced law in both the public and private sectors. She worked on Capitol Hill from 1993 to 1999, serving as Legislative Director and Counsel to Senator John Breaux of Louisiana and Legislative Director and Tax Counsel to Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota.  Previously, she was an attorney in private practice specializing in tax law. 

A Word About Our Students…David Ortiz, a Tri-County scholar and Rutgers graduate, “beat the odds.”  He has since embarked on a career at GE where he is Manager of Human Resources.

“If you live in a great neighborhood you have doors open for you…kids that don’t…don’t have doors open for them.  Tri- County instilled in me the confidence to follow my dream. Growing up in Paterson, I was pulled in many directions.  However, I developed a positive inner voice and decided I wasn’t going to hang out with certain friends and that I had to do what was right for me. The people at Tri-County saw my potential and encouraged me to reach for my goals. It’s different when someone outside your family sees your potential, than trying to realize this on your own. You can’t put a dollar sign on that. Their encouragement started a spark in me and gave me hope to believe in myself and to reach for my dream. My dream was to leave Paterson, work for a good company, get married and start a family. I’m now living my dream and giving hope to others so that they can reach for their dreams.”

David is now a board member for Community Shelter Services where he is developing a plan that will give people the skills to attain jobs in local manufacturing companies in Erie, Pennsylvania.

A Word About Our Results…Since 1981, Tri-County has funded over 29,000 scholarships to students from kindergarten through 12th grade which have changed the lives of thousands of children.  With your support you will be changing lives, one student at a time.  Truly, there is no better return on your investment.  This year, 99% of Tri-County seniors graduated from high school and that entire group is headed to college this Fall, most of them the first in their families to do so.  Our students count on the generosity of friends and donors. With average single parent family incomes of $25,000, they cannot succeed without your help.  So please, right now, take a minute to send your check for dinner tickets, a table, and/or an ad in our program journal.

On behalf of all the students of the Tri-County Scholarship Fund, we sincerely thank you.  We look forward to seeing you at the Tri-County Dinner on November 19th!


Jo Ann Burk                                                          Joseph A. Gonnella Co-Chair                                                                 Co-Chair

P.S. If you have questions, please call the Tri-County office at 973-984-9600.

Call 973-984-9600 to register for a Chancellor, Founder or Leader Sponsorship.


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