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The benefits of giving

Cedar Crest reaps rewards of operating under a charitable mission

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January 31st, 2014
The benefits of giving
The benefits of giving

Though Crest is known for its plethora of activities and social clubs, its residents stay abreast of world issues and lend a helping hand when needed. 

Examples of their giving nature abound. Most recently, Cedar Crest residents responded to the earthquake that shook the Philippines.

WABC-TV reporter Nina Pineda ran a story encouraging members of the public to participate in Flip Flops for Philippines. The Cedar Crest community stepped up to the task and collected 125 bags filled with flip-flops, blankets, towels, pillows, and small kitchen utensils, which were delivered to RDR Cargo Express. The organization shipped everything directly to the Philippines.

One of many examples

“This is just one example of the many philanthropic things our residents do,” says Philanthropy Coordinator Lauren Corrente.

For the Thanksgiving holiday, Cedar Crest residents donated approximately 200 shopping bags filled with paper and canned goods to the local Pequannock Food Pantry. Ten-year resident Nina Romano organized 40 volunteers to collect donations from across the community. 

“It makes me feel happy because we are so spoiled here. We have all the food we could want and all these activities, and I feel we need to share,” says Nina, who has organized the collection for the past five years.

“During the holiday season, our residents have donated various new toys and clothing for underprivileged children, which [were] donated to Salvation Army,” says Corrente. “We call this charity fundraiser the Angel Tree.”

Among countless other examples, including bi-monthly clothing drives for CUMAC, one hit particularly close to home. “Last year after Hurricane Sandy, residents were able to donate to a program called Santa’s Rooftop Response. They donated new clothing and toys to children who were displaced by Hurricane Sandy,” Corrente says. Areas included Ortley Beach, Toms River, Lavallette, and Seaside.  

As an Erickson Living community, Cedar Crest is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization, defined by the IRS as one that operates to further a charitable mission.

“Cedar Crest definitely operates under a charitable mission,” Corrente says. “Our volunteer program (with between 250 and 275 volunteers in many capacities), our Elderhostel program, and our many other educational programs are part of our mission.”

A not-for-profit status comes with significant benefits for Cedar Crest’s residents, by allowing the community to build up cash reserves for future needs. “With a for-profit company, any profit would go to the owner, but any margin we make stays with Cedar Crest and goes toward improvements, enhancements to our buildings, and to pay any unexpected financial obligations,” Corrente says.

Always up-to-date

“This is a huge benefit to our residents,” says Sales Counselor Ruth Phillips. “By simply doing things they would normally do—volunteer, contribute to others, teach and take continuing education classes on campus—they allow Cedar Crest to build a ‘rainy day fund.’ In turn, that allows us to keep our buildings and amenities fresh and up-to-date.”

For example, Cedar Crest recently renovated its Mountainside Café. Not only did they redesign the café surroundings, Cedar Crest chefs gave the menu a complete facelift.

Now, the café offers dining in the round, with action stations arranged in an oval around the room, replacing the former cafeteria-style lineup. They include a grill station, sauté station, soup bar, carving station, salad station, hot buffet, and a grab-and-go section. 

Regardless of how Cedar Crest’s charitable nature benefits its residents, “We are a community of giving that feels true value in supporting others who may be less fortunate or in a time of need,” Executive Director Cathy Guttman says. “Our community spirit of giving binds us all together.”

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