Tri-County Scholarship Fund raised a record-breaking $2.25 million in scholarship funds through its 40th Annual Awards Celebration on October 25, a virtual event, live streamed to over 900 guests, friends and supporters. Fulfilling the mission of Tri-County, the scholarships will go to financially disadvantaged Kindergarten -12th grade students in Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties so they can obtain quality, values-based educations at accredited independent elementary and secondary schools. This year was a milestone 40th anniversary for the nonprofit, celebrating the 34,000 life-changing scholarships awarded since 1981.
The giant cake created and donated by Carlo’s Bakery.
This year's virtual gala honored three distinguished members of the New Jersey community. The Hall of Fame Award was presented to Navneet and Reema Puri, of the New Jersey based pharmaceutical firm, Nevakar. Navneet is Nevakar Founder and CEO. Reema is Senior VP of Human Resources. The Puri’s were recognized for their continuing contributions to educational opportunity for financially needy students in high school and beyond. They were introduced by Dr. Brian L. Strom, Chancellor of the Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, and Dean of the Rutgers University School of Public Health. The Hall of Fame Award was also presented to longtime Tri-County Scholarship supporter and board member, Mr. Steven J. Goulart, Executive VP and Chief Investment Officer of MetLife and President of MetLife Investments, who was introduced by Mr. Thomas J. Healey, Tri-County Trustee Emeritus and former Hall of Fame honoree himself, currently Partner of Healey Development, retired partner Goldman Sachs, and former assistant Secretary for Domestic Finance of the US Treasury. The Making A Difference Award was presented to the Margaret A. Darrin Charitable Trust, represented by co-trustee, Michael Hanifin. The award, recognizing significant contributions to the Tri-County mission, was introduced by Tri-County Chairman, Joseph W. Spada, Private Wealth Advisor, Summit Financial.
The 2021 Tri-County Awards Recipients: Tri-County Making a Difference Award recipient, The Margaret A. Darrin Charitable Trust, accepted by Co-trustee, Michael T. Hanifin, Steven J. Goulart, of MetLife, Inc. received the Tri-County Hall of Fame Award, Navneet and Reema Puri, of Nevakar, Inc. received the Tri-County Hall of Fame Award
“We were thrilled to recognize three such distinguished honorees for Tri-County’s 40th Anniversary Celebration,” said Prudence Pigott, President of Tri-County Scholarship Fund. “All three honorees have been important supporters of the Tri-County cause. Because of their leadership and generosity the event was hugely successful, raising the funds for 800 scholarship children to attend safe quality schools next school year.“
The featured student speaker was Tri-County scholarship recipient Zorya Morgan, Paterson resident, and Senior Class President at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon. After her moving speech, Zorya was presented with the Bishop Sweeney Student Speaker Scholarship, an additional $500, on top of the Tri-County scholarship that she already receives.
The Puri’s reflected on the reasons they support Tri-County,“The parents want to instill in their children the same values of hard work and social responsibility that our parents instilled in us. A quality education is the foundation of a purposeful life.”
The online event began with a special “Red Carpet Pre-Show” featuring current Tri-County Scholarship recipients. Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery and Cake Boss fame, made an appearance, congratulating Tri-County and the students, and presented a special Tri-County 40th Birthday cake that was enjoyed by the students at St. Gerard’s school in Paterson. Dozens of other Tri-County scholarship recipients from Academy of St James in Totowa and Holy Spirit school in Pequannock were also featured. A student choir from DePaul Catholic performed the song “Firework.” Numerous Tri-County alumni presented their thanks and stories of success in college and careers. The event also celebrated the 53 Tri-County partner schools that all remained opened during the pandemic, practicing health protocols, and enabling their students to stay on track with their studies.
Special guest, Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery.
Remarked honoree Steve Goulart, “The work of Tri-County Scholarship Fund is meaningful, impactful and consequential. Supporting educational opportunity addresses the societal problem of poverty while cultivating the leaders of tomorrow. I am proud to support this great cause.”
For the current 2021-22 school year Tri-County Scholarship Fund has awarded 750 scholarships for financially disadvantaged Kindergarten – 12th grade students to attend 53 different partner schools. This included extending emergency scholarships for 200 students whose families continue to be hard hit by the pandemic. Over the past 40 years, $35 million have been raised by the organization to fund more than 34,000 scholarships for needy children in our area. Scholarship recipients have gone on to the top colleges in New Jersey and throughout the country with Tri-County graduates currently attending Georgetown, Rutgers, Notre Dame, Seton Hall University, Montclair State, Colgate, Cornell, and Penn State, to name just a few.
Those interested in watching a replay of the event or supporting Tri-County's mission are invited to go to www.tcsfund.org or call the Tri-County offices at: 973-984-9600.
Zorya Morgan, Senior Class President at Mary Help of Christians Academy was presented with the additional Bishop Kevin Sweeney Tri-County Scholarship award by Prudence Pigott, President of Tri-County.
Steve Goulart with Tri-County scholarship recipients from Paramus Catholic High School.