General Business

Business Leaders Discuss the Importance of Serving Communities

Business Roundtable: Philanthropy

The executives below – all members of NJBIA’s CEO Business Roundtable – believe in the power of philanthropy. What follows are their views on why philanthropy (in its many shapes and forms) is important not only to them, but their employees. The overarching theme in what you will read below is that businesses, whether small or large, are woven into the fabric of their communities, and like members of a close-knit family, they are ready to assist when needs arise.

Interested in learning more about the CEO Business Roundtable? Contact NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka, at

Rashaad Bajwa

CEO, Integris

At Integris, philanthropy ties directly with our core values; specifically, “People first” and “Do the right thing.” It’s important for me, on a personal level and professionally, to engage and expand on our understanding and stewardship of our communities. When we open ourselves to observing and participating in activities to lift others, we learn more about our capacities in general, which is an invaluable gift.

Marcy Bliss

CEO, Wedgewood Pharmacy

Wedgewood Pharmacy’s mission is “to improve the lives of animals and those who love them.” Philanthropy, particularly when we support veterinarians and organizations that take care of animals during the aftermath of natural disasters, reinforces our mission. Weather events are particularly difficult for wildlife, horses and pets. Our support matters to our customers and, more importantly, to our employee team of animal lovers.

Joseph Colalillo

Chairman, Wakefern Food Corp.,  President, Shoprite of Hunterdon County

We are part of the community and that is why giving back is so important to us. The family businesses that make up the Wakefern cooperative – mine included – support causes that are important to our neighbors. And we are all committed to our year-round, hunger-fighting initiative, ShopRite Partners In Caring, which has donated $62 million to organizations on the front lines in the fight against hunger.

Alberto Garofalo

President, Bank of America New Jersey

Philanthropy is a key pillar of our business. We focus on developing strong local partnerships with organizations that enhance the lives of New Jerseyans facing some of today’s toughest challenges, including food insecurity, affordable housing and preparing for the workforce of the future. Together, we can enhance economic mobility, improve the lives of our neighbors, and build a stronger, more equitable state.

Jessica Gonzalez

CEO InCharge of InCharged

Philanthropy has been embedded in our culture from the beginning. As an organization, we want to create an impact outside of our walls and into the community that has embraced us. Between volunteering in a soup kitchen, giving donations, and hiring within the community, we want to make sure that our business has a lasting impact.

Clifford F. Lindholm, III

President and CEO, Falstrom Company

Falstrom Company contributes to our local community as best we can as an organization. Over the years, we have supported a wide variety of causes and hope that our contributions have helped in some small way. I give my time to the organizations that I am passionate about. I like to use the skills that I have developed as a business owner to benefit causes that are important to me.

Michael McBride

Co-Chair, Construction Practice Group, Connell Foley

Our founding partner, Bud Foley, believed that it was part of the firm’s culture to support charitable organizations. Connell Foley has been a strong supporter of Covenant House New Jersey (CHNJ) for more than 33 years. CHNJ seeks to help youth facing homelessness and human trafficking by providing an array of services to promote resilience and enable youths to transition to independent living.

Mark McDonough

President, NJ American Water

It is important to continue our commitment to the communities we serve because it shows that we don’t just want to be part of the business community; we want to be part of the community. It also helps provide fulfillment to our employees, knowing that they are actively contributing to the areas where they live and work.

Will Morey

President & CEO, Morey’s Piers

Philanthropy is about sharing and touching the lives of people in a positive way. Our business is about fun, and we are blessed to operate a large “family playground” that is well designed to provide respite for those facing challenges. We cannot imagine not putting our “fun machine” to work for others, both directly and through partnerships with dedicated non-profit organizations supporting kids and families.

Lori A. Roth​​, CPA/ABV, CFF

Global Managing Partner, Prager Metis CPAs

Prager Metis is very proud of our philanthropic work through our foundation (Prager Metis Charitable Foundation). We are a national sponsor of the Alzheimer’s Association and also contribute to many local not-for-profit organizations that are important to team members in our local offices. Charitable giving is a part of our culture and is something that is very important to our entire team.

Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA (DC), CGMA

CEO/Executive Director, New Jersey Society of CPAs

The very nature of an accountant is to serve. We know if we want to be a true resource to our members, we need to be a resource to the community at large. We value opportunities to mentor, train, educate and provide financial assistance to aspiring CPAs as much as we enjoy lobbying for New Jersey businesses and keeping the public abreast of tax issues.

Steve Westhoven

President and CEO, New Jersey Resources

At NJR, we believe that strong communities allow businesses to grow and succeed. The families and businesses we serve aren’t just our customers, they are our community. We focus on giving back to help meet community needs by working alongside nonprofits with both direct financial support and hundreds of volunteer hours every year to make strides in housing, education, economic opportunity, and environmental stewardship.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

Related Articles: