CarePlus Courage Awards Gala to Celebrate 40 Years of “Leading the Change”

The CarePlus Foundation will hold its 20th Annual Courage Awards Gala on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at the Venetian in Garfield, to benefit the clients and programs of CarePlus NJ.

This year marks 40 years since Joseph Masciandaro began his journey as President and CEO of Mid-Bergen Mental Health Center in 1978, which evolved into CarePlus NJ in 1999 during the merger with Fair Lawn Mental Health Center. Throughout the years, the many programs and services of CarePlus have addressed various needs in the community for adults, children, and families from every walk of life.

“We have watched the Bergen County Stigma-Free Initiative rise to the occasion of addressing mental illness and addiction with compassion and understanding,” stated Mary Ann Uzzi, Event Co-Chair, Advocate and Leader in the Stigma-Free Initiative. “What some people may not know is that CarePlus has been a driving force behind that progress. This year’s honorees all play an essential role in connecting individuals to the complete continuum of care that will best address their need.”

As the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, the Gala celebrates those who tirelessly advocate on behalf of the mental health community. Proceeds are dispersed over many important channels, including: educational scholarships for those enrolled in CarePlus services, housing and medication assistance, substance abuse services, outpatient treatment and therapy for children and adults, as well as advocacy and community education.

The 2018 Courage Award recipients reflect the organization’s annual theme of “Leading the Change”. This year’s honorees include:

  • Joseph Masciandaro for his exemplary leadership and service at CarePlus for the past four decades, setting the standard and raising the bar for excellence and compassion in behavioral healthcare.
  • Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco III for his dedication to the community and his commitment to transforming New Bridge Medical Center into a national model for integrated healthcare.
  • Marie-Alice Stout for courageously facing her own addiction, and for using that strength to guide others through the process of recovery.

“Over the past 40 years, Joseph Masciandaro has truly been leading the change in Bergen County, and really across the statewide mental health system.” Uzzi continued. “It is because of his leadership, experience and advocacy that County Executive Tedesco has been able to actualize his vision for our county hospital to evolve into a National model for integrated healthcare. With the improved model of care, more individuals such as Marie-Alice can find success and fulfillment on the road of recovery.”

Registration includes a cocktail hour, dinner, live and silent auctions, a 50/50 raffle and the opportunity to honor those who serve our community. Attendees are expected from across the state, including local community partners, state representatives and supporters from the Northern New Jersey business community. Individual tickets are available at $200 each, with full tables of 10 offered for $1,750.