NJ.com - New Greater Newark Holiday Fund chairman is an old hand at spearheading good causes


This year, Ralph LaRossa will add another title to his resume -- chairman of the 2014 Greater Newark Holiday Fund. (Courtesy of PSEG)
Janelle Griffith | NJ Advance Media for NJ.comBy Janelle Griffith | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 
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on November 09, 2014 at 10:00 AM, updated November 09, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Ralph LaRossa has deep ties to the city of Newark — and to social service.

In addition to his work as president and chief operating officer of Newark-based Public Service Electric and Gas Co., LaRossa is on the board of trustees of Montclair State University and the Newark Alliance and sits on the board of directors for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the American Gas Association, New Jersey Utilities Association, Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, Choose New Jersey and Bergen County’s United Way.

This year, LaRossa will add another title to his résumé — chairman of the 2014Greater Newark Holiday Fund.

“I was born in Jersey City and raised in Rutherford, and have witnessed the enduring generosity of the people of New Jersey,” LaRossa said. “I know they will step up and make this year’s holiday fund drive a great success.”

The Greater Newark Holiday Fund, which began in 1937, was founded by a group of businessmen who sought to address the needs of impoverished families and children in Newark during the Christmas season. The fund collects donations throughout the year, especially during the holidays, and distributes this money to social service agencies in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic and Union counties. These agencies use the money to serve the needs of homeless New Jerseyans, abused and neglected children, people living below the poverty line and the elderly.

“Like the Greater Newark Holiday Fund, PSEG’s roots are in Newark, which has long been New Jersey’s largest city and our headquarters city,” LaRossa said. “I feel fortunate to have built my career here, and so do my colleagues. PSEG’s commitment to Newark and surrounding communities has never wavered.”

The Greater Newark Holiday Fund raised more than $350,000 during its 2013 campaign. Individual donations rose by an estimated 10 percent from 2012, which fund officials attributed, in part, to its 2013 chairman, John Nietzel, who implemented an employer-matching program at Investors Bank, where he is a senior vice president.

LaRossa said he will continue this practice for the 2014 campaign.

“Being chairman is an honor that will allow me to spread the word with business leaders in the area and PSEG employees about how easy it is for folks to make the holiday season better for those less fortunate,” LaRossa said. “PSEG will match employee donations dollar-for-dollar.”

LaRossa joined PSEG in 1985 as an associate engineer and advanced through a variety of management positions in the utility’s gas and electric operations. He earned an engineering degree from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken and completed the Harvard Business School’s program for management development.

“If we can make this holiday season a time of hope for our neighbors in need, we will have something extra special to celebrate,” LaRossa said. “Every gift to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund has an impact.”

Donations can be made by calling (866) 292-HOPE (4673) or going online toholidayfund.org.

Janelle Griffith may be reached at jgriffith@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @janellefiona. Find NJ.com/Entertainment on Facebook.