We identify visionaries, institutions and unsung heroes doing groundbreaking work, and we amplify their impact by providing financial and strategic support. We invest in areas that reflect our founder's passions and perspective, including diabetes care and research, Israel's cultural and economic vitality, interfaith bridge-building, elevating the profession of sales and strengthening community in New Jersey.
Russell Berrie, founder, chairman and CEO of the celebrated gift company bearing his name, was one of the most innovative philanthropists of his generation. He approached philanthropy as a social investment, seeking out energetic leaders with a sense of urgency around their missions and infusing The Russell Berrie Foundation with an entrepreneurial spirit that continues to inspire our work.
The Russell Berrie Foundation is embarking on a new, experimental effort to invest in diabetes prevention by supporting the creation of two innovative community-based prevention initiatives in Bergen County. The pilot initiatives will draw on knowledge that has emerged from the field of diabetes care and prevention, along with a recognition of the powerful role that trusted community-based institutions can play in translating clinician recommendations into the real-world circumstances of people's daily lives. To read the full press release, please click here.
This year’s John Paul II Lecture on Interfaith Understanding, which took place on June 20 at the Jewish Theological Seminary, was distinctly different from previous events, which have featured talks by leaders such as Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee and Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan. This year’s event, co-sponsored by the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, took a musical turn — with clergy, vocalists and musicians from the Jewish, Muslim and Christian traditions presenting “Songs for the Holy City: An Interfaith Evening of Music and Prayer.”
New Jersey's most inspiring unsung heroes were recognized for their outstanding work on behalf of others when they were named as recipients of the 2018 Russ Berrie Making a Difference Awards. The top prize, of $50,000, went to Pino Rodriguez of Camden, who has worked with residents to transform some of the city’s most blighted neighborhoods by planting flowers, cleaning up debris and, in the process, reducing crime. The 22nd annual awards, accompanied by cash prizes ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, were announced at a ceremony at Ramapo College on May 4.