THE STATE WE'RE IN
For decades, charitable organizations have recognized the benefits of reaching people where they work. A single workplace-giving program can access hundreds, or thousands, of employees far more efficiently than mailing individual appeals to peoples' homes.
When it comes to conservation and environmental causes in this state we're in, the leading workplace-giving program is EarthShare New Jersey. Its motto is "One environment. One simple way to care for it," and simplicity is indeed one of its charms.
Paula Aldarelli, EarthShare New Jersey's executive director, describes the program as a painless way for people to make a difference in the environment where they live, work and play. "Someone might not be able to sit down and write a check for $100, but they can give $2 a week through their workplace," she said. "It's a little thing that goes a long way."
EarthShare New Jersey started in 1994 as the Environmental Fund for New Jersey, a coalition of 16 New Jersey-based environmental groups who joined together to raise funds through workplace-giving programs. Today, EarthShare New Jersey benefits 23 local and 38 national environmental organizations. Its unified workplace-giving campaigns reach workers in a way that doesn't overburden employers.
At a time when companies are raising their environmental consciousness, EarthShare New Jersey allows them to "walk the walk." Many employers match employee contributions dollar-for-dollar, but some go even farther with a two-for-one match!
EarthShare New Jersey is one of 14 affiliates of the larger EarthShare, a federation of national and international environmental groups representing more than 450 environmental and conservation charities. Altogether, they reach nearly 6 million employees in over 400 workplaces nationwide each year.
Here in the Garden State, EarthShare has raised more than $3.8 million for member environmental organizations since its inception. New Jersey Conservation Foundation is proud to be a founding member of what has grown into a valuable and diversified partner in conservation.
Giving through EarthShare New Jersey supports four main goals: preventing human health problems caused by pollution; preserving and conserving natural resources, wildlife diversity and habitat; educating the public about environmental resources; and promoting a sustainable economy.
Participants can donate to individual environmental charities through EarthShare, or they can give to a large pot that helps many. "People don't have to choose between air, water, land and wildlife. They can give one gift and do it all," says Aldarelli, who audits the charities to make sure donations are used wisely.
Over the years, EarthShare New Jersey has also helped employers and employees work together to benefit their communities in other ways. In addition to workplace-giving campaigns, they offer recycling programs, environmental education resources and volunteer programs.
And you don't have to wait for EarthShare to come to your place of employment. Encourage your human resource department to consider this worthwhile program.
In the meantime, you can support their efforts by joining them on the evening of Friday, March 26, for their "EarthShare Celebrates New Jersey" gala at the Laurita Winery in New Egypt, Ocean County. The evening includes wine tasting, good food, music by a jazz quartet, a tasting of teas, organic gelato, and an exhibit of art in nature. The highlight of evening may be the "Experience NJ" auction featuring more than 50 items that exemplify the diverse experiences our state has to offer, including merchandise, gift certificates, theatre tickets, overnight stays and exclusive environmental adventures. If you love the environment, you'll love this event!
Tickets for "EarthShare Celebrates New Jersey" are available online under the "Info & Events" link at www.earthsharenj.org, or by calling 609-989-1160. If you're interested in partnering with EarthShare at your place of business, you can also find out more about how it works.