West Orange Resident Honored by Prudential Foundation
Prudential Financial, Inc. [NYSE:PRU] recently presented awards to three Essex County residents as well as more than 525 of its employees around the world and grants totaling $252,250 to the community based non-profit organizations with which they volunteer. The donations were made through two special programs that each year honor employees for the volunteer service they provide to local non-profit organizations.
One program, Skills in Service Awards selected 25 employees who best demonstrated how they have used or developed their work skills and leadership qualities while coordinating their volunteer service project. This year, 25 non-profit organizations each received a $5000 grant from The Prudential Foundation, for a total of $125,000.
Of the 25 national winners – Three were residents of Essex County,NJ:
Marcia Dukes, a West Orange resident who works at the Prudential offices in Newark, was one of this year’s Skills in Service award winners. Dukes used leadership skills developed at Prudential to benefit the Mount Pleasant PTA.
With a goal of creating a culture in which all ideas are welcomed and to break down barriers, Dukes used her skills and volunteer time to enhance communications, educate parents and engage the community in the work of the Mount Pleasant PTA. From creating a parent portal website, to opening communications with parent and instituting new events her success was measured by a 10% overall increase in membership and a 50% increase in attendance at the annual general meeting.
David Marden, a resident of Verona who works at the Prudential offices in Newark, was one of this year’s Skills in Service award winners. Marden used leadership skills developed at Prudential to benefit Gramercy Brass Orchestra of New York. The Gramercy Brass Orchestra seeks to advance literacy, creative thinking and communication skills for young students through after-school and summer camp music education programs, open to all.
With a focus on the annual Brass Camp as well as building overall awareness of the program, Marden used his skills and volunteer time to work to improve a wide range of issues. From researching promising new venues for the annual Brass Camp to improving educational programs and redesigning the website he has seen significant improvement in the six years he has been part of the program.
“We work closely with the students to insure they are getting the learning experience they are expecting at the annual Brass Camp and to better meet the needs of the students, parents and guest artists,” said Marden.
Regina Rodriguez, a resident of Hackensack who works at the Prudential offices in Newark, was one of this year’s Skills in Service award winners. Rodriguez, who serves on the non-profit’s board of trustees, used her leadership skills developed at Prudential to benefit the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge. Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge believes that all animals have a natural right to humane treatment including proper care, respect and safe shelter. The shelter adheres to a "no kill" policy, giving animals an open-ended stay at a warm, safe place until loving homes can be found.
Rodriguez applied her volunteer time and skills to public relations, updating the photography and brochures and her awareness building plan became part of the organization’s five year strategy.
“Our donations are increasing, and contributions are up even in a weak economy. Our exposure to the community grows and our Facebook page is liked by more than 1000 people who respond almost immediately when we send out requests for items needed at the shelter,” said Rodriguez.
“We are inspired by the dedication and commitment of our volunteers who give so much of their time and talent to support the missions of non-profit organizations in their communities,” said Lata Reddy, vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility, at Prudential and president of The Prudential Foundation.