The Arc of New Jersey Recognizes Outstanding Advocates and Partners with 2023 Award Celebration

The Arc of New Jersey honored tremendous community members, partners and legislators at the organization’s annual Award Celebration on June 6, at the Imperia in Somerset. This event is an opportunity to highlight and thank the incredible individuals, organizations and corporations who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the State.

“The 2023 honorees bring something truly remarkable to the table. They give of themselves: their time, their resources and their heart, not because it will improve their own lives, but because it will improve the lives of others. These individuals and organizations go above and beyond to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities lead the best lives possible in all regions of New Jersey,” Tom Baffuto, The Arc of NJ’s Executive Director, said.

“Thank you for this incredible honor. It is a privilege to work with The Arc of New Jersey, whose advocacy for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities is a model for all to follow. As the state’s largest organization serving children and adults with IDD and their families, The Arc of New Jersey provides invaluable services for more than 15,000 state residents,” Senator Patrick Diegnan, who received the 2023 Legislator of the Year Award, said.

Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, co-chair of the Disabilities Caucus said: “Being awarded legislator of the year was an extreme honor. It is amazing to see that my work as a legislator is recognized and the policies I push have had a positive impact on a community I fight for every day. I will continue to advocate for those with developmental disabilities and to work with our advocacy groups to have our laws reflect the needs of this vulnerable group of residents.”

“Senator Diegnan and Assemblywoman Murphy can always be counted on to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. They truly understand the challenges facing those represented by The Arc, and they use their positions in the Legislature to ensure the voice of our community is heard. We thank them for everything they do and for all of their hard work.” Tom Baffuto said

The highest honor of the evening went to the New Jersey Business and Industry Association who received the President’s Award. “NJBIA is incredibly proud of the work we have been able to accomplish along with great partners like The Arc of New Jersey in shining a huge spotlight on the opportunities that exist for hiring people with disabilities,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka. “This includes providing resources and best practices on more diverse hiring practices and ways to accommodate the physical needs of this workforce. We have a workforce at the ready at a time when hiring needs are critical. Our continued collaboration with The Arc of New Jersey will enable both our businesses and our workforce, while, in turn, strengthening our communities and our economy.”

“We are so grateful for NJBIA and all the work they are doing to help open employment doors for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They have devoted tremendous time and energy to bringing together industry leaders with a goal of educating businesses and exposing companies to the benefits of hiring a person with IDD. From webinars to resource sharing, NJBIA has done extraordinary work to promote people with disabilities as a viable pool of workers who should not be overlooked,” Tom Baffuto said. “They are always at the forefront of legislation and policy that will benefit the Direct Support Professional workforce and we are very fortunate to have them fighting for these issues in the State capital.”

The evening also recognized leaders from local county Chapters of The Arc, volunteers, professionals and supporters. The full list of awardees is as follows:

• President’s Award – NJ Business and Industry Association
• Spirit of The Arc Award – Jennifer Langer Jacobs, NJDHS, DMAHS
• Legislator of the Year – Senator Patrick Diegnan, Jr. (D-18)
• Legislator of the Year – Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (D-7)
• Professional of the Year – Renee White, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
• Volunteer of the Year – Susan Fegely, The Arc of Burlington
• Self-Advocacy Leadership Award – Pam King, Council 4, NJ Statewide Self Advocacy Network
• Distinguished Community Service – Norm Worth, WRNJ
• Martin Papish Award – Kathleen Hinnigan-Cohen, The Arc of Essex
• Legacy Award – Richard Lecher, SCArc, Inc.
• Legacy Award – Frank Caragher, The Arc of Union County
• Outstanding Community Service – George Barnard

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