The Community Chest of Eastern Bergen County Honors Exceptional Young Women With Sixth Annual Leadership Awards

(Eastern Bergen County, New Jersey; May 19, 2023) -- The Community Chest of Eastern Bergen County announces the recipients of its sixth annual High School Young Women's Leadership Program's awards. 

The recipients were announced and presented with their honors at the 2023 Young Women's Leadership Award Ceremony on May 15 at the historic Elizabeth Cady Stanton House in Tenafly, New Jersey.

                  The 2023 award recipients demonstrated leadership, compassion, innovation and the courage of their convictions in the community.  Samma Faragalla, a resident of Englewood Cliffs attending Academies @ Englewood of Dwight Morrow High School, received the Young Women’s Senior Leadership Award and $5,000.  In 2022, she also received the Junior Young Women's Leadership Award.  This fall, Faragalla plans to attend Rutgers The State University of New Jersey's honors program.

                  The Young Women’s Senior Leadership Awards runners up --Sofia Bella Huie-Pasigan, a resident from Bergenfield attending Dwight-Englewood, and Ria Vij, from Hasbrouck Heights and a senior at Academies @ Englewood of Dwight Morrow High School -- were each recognized with a $2,000 award.  Huie-Pasigan plans to attend Bryn Mawr College to major in economics and minor in French, while also playing on the soccer team.  In the fall, Vij will attend Union College to study biology.  

                  Four juniors were recognized for their leadership, with each receiving a scholarship to attend Teen LEADS in August and the opportunity to participate in an internship with a nonprofit agency.  The 2023 Young Women's Leadership Junior Award recipients are: Lauren Yu from Cresskill attending Bergen County Academies, Gabrielle Eimbinder from Tenafly attending Tenafly High School, Judy Zhang from Teaneck attending Dwight-Englewood, and Victoria Konopka from Garfield attending Academies @ Englewood of Dwight Morrow High School.

                  "The Community Chest received an outstanding range of applications for these leadership awards.  Each applicant demonstrated exceptional talents and a commitment to social justice causes.  The need exists for good leaders and especially now, young women with strong leadership abilities and a commitment to social consciousness are critical in our communities, said Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer, Executive Director, The Community Chest.                   

                  Guest speaker and entrepreneur Ava Rattigan discussed her career path from working in finance and transitioning to the home care industry.  Rattigan, a member of The Community Chest's board of managers, founded her own company, Favor Senior Home Care Services, LLC, a woman owned and operated business in Englewood.

Leadership Awards

                  The awards program celebrated the leadership the three "Elizabeths" from Bergen County demonstrated throughout their lives.  Elizabeth Cutter Morrow of Englewood became the founding board chair and president of The Community Chest during the Great Depression 90 years ago.  Elisabeth Morrow Morgan, daughter of Elizabeth Cutter Morrow and the founder of the Elisabeth Morrow School, grew up in Englewood.  Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a Tenafly resident for several years, became an internationally recognized leader in the suffragette movement.

About The Community Chest of Eastern Bergen County

                  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.

Photo Caption:Group photo of junior and senior finalists with The Community Chest of Eastern Bergen County's representatives.   
Photo credit: Jordan Yanowitz

Front Row (Shown from left to right): Franci Steinberg, President of The Community Chest of Eastern Bergen County's Board of Managers, and Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer, Executive Director of The Community Chest of Eastern Bergen County

Back Row (Shown from left to right): Emily Yang, member of The Community Chest's Board of Managers and Co-Chair of the Young Women's Leadership Program's (YWLP) Committee; Samma Faragalla, Senior Award; Ria Vij, Senior runner-up; Victoria Konopka, Junior Award; Lauren Yu, Junior Award; Sofia Bella Huie-Pasiganm Senior runner-up; Judy Zhang, Junior Award; Gabrielle Eimbinder, Junior Award

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