LAST YEAR, THE TEAM AT New Jersey
Monthly decided to create a program to
honor the state’s most generous companies. To get started, we held an in-house contest to find a name for the
Many good ideas surfaced; several
revolved around the notion of growing something from small beginnings.
Others latched onto the red oak, New
Jersey’s state tree. Combining the concepts, we came up with the Great Oak
Awards, a name that suggests local beginnings, deep roots, immense strength
and the opportunity for growth.
Next, we set out to develop our initial pool of candidates. After devising a multistep process (described on
page 54), we arrived at 56 finalists. To
become a finalist, each of the contending companies had to submit a form describing its charitable activities.
In reviewing the submissions, we
were particularly impressed by the
generosity of New Jersey companies
and the innovative ways they give back.
Consider the roofing company that provides free roofing to a family in need for
each new roof purchased, or the hair
salon that holds cut-a-thons to raise
funds for local causes.
We also admired the way companies leverage their expertise to do
good, such as the automobile dealership group that promotes safe driving
among teens, and the world-famous
food processor that generates revenue
from potentially wasted produce for the
benefit of local food-relief programs.
To arrive at our 10 winners, we assembled a panel of three expert judges
(see page 63). Each worked diligently
to identify the best of the best. We are
greatly in their debt.
In September, we will announce the
inaugural class of Great Oak winners.
For now, I invite you to turn to page 53
and read about our remarkable finalists.
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