The Community Chest to Honor Visions Federal Credit Union and Community and Young Adult Leaders

(Eastern Bergen County, New Jersey; April 12, 2023) -- The Community Chest of Eastern Bergen County toasts and honors in person our neighbors and volunteers' contributions at its annual gala, Cheers to 90 Years. 

The Chest, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization serving eastern Bergen County, New Jersey, presents the gala on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Montammy Golf Club, located at 7 Montammy Drive in Alpine, New Jersey.  The gala's net proceeds will provide grants to nonprofit agencies responding to an increased demand for services for our neighbors in the areas of mental health services, food insecurity and healthy eating, home care, educational enhancement in college and career preparation, and racial justice education.


            This year, The Chest recognizes the contributions of these six leaders for their extensive involvement, connection, and contributions to the community:

• Corporate Philanthropy Award - Visions Federal Credit Union.  This nonprofit corporate philanthropist has been involved in the community and participated in several of The Chest's activities.  The company's Visions Cares and grants program awards over $1 million annually to local causes, supporting more than 500 organizations.  The company has supported several of The Chest's fundraising events, and their staff has volunteered at its Partnership for Healthy Eating's dinner.

• Outstanding Volunteers Award - Mark and Phyllis Kesslen.   

            These long time supporters of The Chest have participated in various capacities.  Mark Kesslen served previously on the organization's board of managers and as president, and he joined the organization at a pivotal point assisting with its transition to electronic record keeping.  Mark is an attorney at Lowenstein Sandler, leading the firm's IP group.

            Phyllis Kesslen, an educational and career counselor at Bergen Family Center, works with students at The Zone, a counseling program located at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood.  She led the way for Bound for Success, a new program supported by The Community Chest, to prepare students to take the SATs.  Her other community activities include serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the JCC on the Palisades.

• Leadership Award - Reverend Preston Thompson.

            Reverend Thompson is the Senior Pastor from Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Health and Wellness Specialist for Seniors at Bergen Family Center in Englewood.  Throughout his 30-year career in the clergy, he has worked to bring the community together and galvanized people to reach a common goal.  Reverend Thompson has received several awards for community service, including the NAACP Bergen County Chapter's Rev. Thomas Johnson Community Service Award, the 2008 Educational Leadership Award from the Urban Education Fund and the 2008 'Men Making a Difference' Award from the American Cities Foundation.

• Young Adult Leadership Awards - Abigail Kushman and Samma Faragalla.

            Kushman, a senior at Tenafly High School, volunteered actively with The Chest for two years serving as the webmaster for the Partnership for Healthy Eating initiative's website and developing the organization's Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) program.  Among her other interests, Kushman is a student teacher at Temple Emanuel in Closter, and she also has served on the Tenafly Borough Environmental Commission.

            Faragalla, a senior at Dwight Morrow High School and a member of the Law and Public Safety Academy, received The Community Chest's 2022 Young Women's Leadership Program's Junior Leadership Award.  Originally from the Sudan, she led the development of a new club at Dwight Morrow High School, the Lady Empowerment Association (LEA), teaching members how to support their community and get involved.


            Producer/Director Harry Martin, an Emmy Award-winning TV journalist, who anchored TV newscasts at three leading television stations in New York City, brings his extensive expertise to emcee the event.  During the program, The Chest will announce The Barbara Strauss Children's Legacy Fund in memory of the organization's late president.  The fund will award grants to nonprofit agencies providing service for groups of children residing in The Chest's geographical service area.  

            The program also features a magical musical performance by the Bergen Performing Arts School singing select songs by Bruce Springsteen.  Live and online silent auctions will offer a range of products to bid upon with auctioneer Ryan Cohen officiating.

Tickets and Sponsors

            The cost per ticket is $185 per person, $250 per patron, and $1,500 for a table of ten.  Register online at or send a check made out to The Community Chest, located at 122 South Van Brunt Street, Englewood, New Jersey 07631.  Other opportunities to support The Chest's work include bidding in the live and silent auctions, congratulating the honorees in the journal, and making a contribution directly to the organization.

            Sponsorship levels are also available for individuals and businesses to help fill the chest.  Each offers various marketing opportunities and the recognition of this philanthropic involvement by The Community Chest's large number of supporters.  To date, the 2023 sponsors are: Aburustum Family, BMW of Tenafly, Connect One Bank, Englewood Health, Jaguar, Kaplen, Kesslen, Lakeland Bank, Emily and Sam Mann, Otterstedt, R and J Russell, Adam and Franci Steinberg, SK Salmon, Arnie and Judy Herrmann, Taub, Valley Bank, Visions Federal Credit Union, VRH Construction, Shelly and Justin Wimpfheimer, Wolfgangs, and World Insurance.

            Other sponsors are: Dov and Deborah Bachrach, Ball, BCB, Brensilber, Liz Corsini, Dawn and Armando Diaz, DiSalvo, Stephen and Shari Greenbreg, Arnie Herman, Kamson, Kennedy, Klyde, Kushman, Julie Levi, Max Mara, Merril Lynch Eric Snyder/Lisa Alexander Brendan Mitchell, Palestroni, Rattigan, Raymond James, Sciarra & Co., Louise Schwartz, Michael Shannon, Temple Sinai Sisterhood, Uram, and Barry Zingler.

            Visit the event's website,, and register for the gala, purchase sponsorships, buy an ad in The Chest's gala journal, and view items available in the auction.  For additional information, call the office at 201-568-7474.

About The Community Chest

            Founded in 1933, The Community Chest, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization headquartered in Englewood, New Jersey, has supported local not-for-profit agencies for 90 years.  The Chest leads initiatives and supports nonprofits that make our communities stronger and benefit people in need in eastern Bergen County.  Each year, The Chest raises funds and allocates them to agencies demonstrating the capacity to provide services to local citizens.  The organization also provides coordinating and planning services in its communities, serving as a bridge between agencies and organizations and investing in the stability and quality of the service network.

            The Community Chest's Board of Managers is comprised of community leaders dedicated to improving the lives of neighbors in need.  People interested in being considered for board membership may contact Executive Director Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer at (201) 568-7474.

            For further information about The Chest, visit or contact (201) 568-7474.  Stay updated about the organization’s activities on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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