Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation

Dr. Mingi & Heather Choi

“We are committed to making a meaningful difference”

Heather and Mingi Choi fully understand how life can be forever changed in a matter of moments. Their young son, Eugene, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and passed away at the age of 15. For Eugene’s sake, they learned to be brave in the face of what they could not control. For the sake of others, they are committed to making a meaningful difference.

Joseph Muscarelle:

“My parents led by example and I want to continue that spirit of giving with my children and grandchildren.”

By giving generously, Joseph Muscarelle hopes to encourage others to do the same. “If a person can be inspired to support charities, they will be surprised by a tremendous inner feeling of reward and satisfaction,” he says.


“This is where breakthroughs will happen. This is what brilliant minds can achieve.”

With an extraordinary philanthropic donation, a decades-long collaboration was transformed into a potentially life-saving partnership. For years, scientists at Celgene Corporation have worked alongside physicians in the Multiple Myeloma Division at John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. Their collective dedication led to the discovery and approval of two of the most widely used drugs to treat multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer. Survival rates have improved dramatically.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

“We welcome this collaboration with partners in the community to improve the health and well-being of the patients we serve.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) granted Hackensack University Medical Center an award to identify and address the health-related social needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in the community, furthering the medical center’s commitment to improve population health. Through the CMS award, Hackensack University Medical Center is addressing social factors that impact health and fostering collaboration with community-based organizations to improve the continuum of care.

Robert (Bobby) Williams has always been a health conscious individual. He routinely sees his cardiologist as his primary doctor at least three or four times a year. He has been under the care of William Salerno, M.D., director of the Advanced Cardiovascular Assessment Program (ACAP) at Hackensack University Medical Center, for three years. Initially drawn to Dr. Salerno’s responsiveness, Bobby says he learned through experience to also appreciate Dr. Salerno’s comprehensive, thorough and advanced approach to health care.

Bobby was initially evaluated for high blood pressure. Dr. Salerno recommended a cardiac calcium scan which revealed that Bobby was particularly susceptible to cardiac issues. Mindful of family history, Bobby had already been aware of good health practices.  He then developed an even more stringent diet and exercise routine.


Strategic Events


24th Annual Recognition Gala

The Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation’s 24th Annual Recognition Gala was held at the world-famous Rockefeller Center. During the evening, the legendary Radio City Rockettes made a surprise appearance and performed in the outdoor Plaza at Rockefeller Center. The gala was attended by more than 1,100 guests and raised $3 million. The proceeds will be used to benefit Surgical Excellence at Hackensack University Medical Center.

HackensackUMC Foundation 19th Annual Invitational Golf Outing

More than 300 golfers hit the links for the Hackensack UMC Foundation 19th Annual Invitational Golf Outing at the Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus. Proceeds from the event, which raised more than $825,000, supported essential research and clinical fellowship programs at Hackensack University Medical Center.


Designer Showhouse of New Jersey

More than 20 top interior and landscape designers transformed an impressive grand manor on 2.4 acres in Saddle River into a decorating masterpiece at the 9th Designer Showhouse of New Jersey. The 2017 Showhouse, which opened with a Preview Party and afterwards was open to the public for approximately six weeks, showcased premier design talent from New York and New Jersey. Proceeds benefitted The Department of Patient Care: Patient Experience at Hackensack University Medical Center.

The Center for Behavioral Health and Medicine Gala Celebration

A special event was held at the Venetian in Garfield, NJ, hosted by Jim and Caryl Kourgelis and Joseph M. Sanzari. With the focus on addressing addiction and behavioral health challenges, more than 1,000 guests gathered for a meaningful and memorable evening. Caryl and Jim spoke meaningfully about their family’s personal experience, emphasizing that substance abuse is a growing public health crisis and a personal crisis for the individuals and families struggling with addiction. The event raised almost $700,000 in support of this cause.

Dig In To Joe’s World

Ro Sorce and the Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation welcomed hundreds of friends and supporters to the Stony Hill Inn to Dig In To Joe’s World. The evening honored Joseph M. Sanzari for his continual support and generosity benefiting The Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. The Gala event raised funds for the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and the Caryl & Jim Kourgelis Fund for Addiction and Behavioral Health at HackensackUMC.

Joseph M. Sanzari Charity Motorcycle Run & Raffle

Under a picturesque fall sky, over 350 bikers lined up at Ross Dock in Fort Lee, NJ, to take part in the 17th Annual Joseph M. Sanzari Charity Motorcycle Run & Raffle, sponsored by Joseph M. Sanzari. The event raised $720,000, making it one of the most successful to date, and bringing the total raised to more than $6 million.

The day started off at Ross Dock in Fort Lee with a special VIP event, “Breakfast with Joe.” Riders later departed for a police-escorted 70 mile tour. After the motorcycle run, riders returned for the always popular “Party under the Bridge,” which included family-friendly games and plenty of food and live entertainment. Proceeds from this year’s event benefited the Emergency Mobile Services at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Susan Zabransky Hughes Memorial Run

More than 600 runners participated in the 6th Annual Susan Zabransky Hughes Memorial Run, held in memory of the Saddle River resident who lost her battle with cervical cancer at the age of 46. The USATF certified 5K run/walk, hosted by Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation and the Run for Sue Committee, raised in excess of $170,000.

Monies raised fund the Susan Zabransky Hughes Memorial Scholarship at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University. Donations also support two weeks of camp at Pony Power Therapies in Mahwah for patients treated at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center. This equine therapy program offers pediatric patients and related families opportunities to engage in activities related to horses and the farm. Since its inception in 2012, the Susan Zabransky Hughes Memorial Run, including gifts from the Hughes and Zabransky families has raised more than $2 million.

Schlesinger Pavilion Dedication

Approximately 250 guests gathered on an October evening to formally dedicate the Mark D. Schlesinger, M.D. Pavilion and express appreciation of Dr. Schlesinger, chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Throughout Dr. Schlesinger’s 30-year tenure at the medical center as a dedicated clinician and a dynamic leader, he has demonstrated the utmost commitment to providing the highest quality, human-centered care. We are grateful for Dr. Schlesinger’s extraordinary generosity and work on behalf of our patients, their families and our community.

Justice Marie L. Garibaldi Medical Plaza Dedication

Hundreds of physicians, patients, friends, and colleagues came together in remembrance and to honor longtime supporter, dedicated board member and friend Justice Marie L. Garibaldi, at a building dedication ceremony in her name. The Justice Marie L. Garibaldi Medical Plaza, located on the Hackensack University Medical Center campus, is a fitting tribute to the first woman to serve on New Jersey’s Supreme Court and who held leadership positions on the boards at Hackensack University Health Network, Hackensack University Medical Center and the Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation.

2017 Fashion for Philanthropy Show and Silent Auction

This exclusive fashion event benefitting John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center featured a runway show presenting the season’s top trends from Bloomingdale’s, L.K.Bennett, Zilli Menswear and Brooks Brothers Men & Women. The evening began with a VIP Reception, followed by a General Reception and the Fashion Show emceed by ABC News journalist, Lynda Lopez.

Tackle Kids Cancer was formed with the mission of supporting crucial pediatric cancer research and innovative patient care programs at the Children’s Cancer Institute at Hackensack University Medical Center, bringing us closer to a world free of childhood cancer.

Endowed Chairs/Professorships

The Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation proudly hosted four Endowed Chair/Professorship events in 2017. These events acknowledge the outstanding record of accomplishment of the recipient and demonstrate a commitment to his or her continued success. They are one of the most prestigious marks of achievement and recognition for the recipient and among the highest honors conferred in the academic world. Through their bestowment, HackensackUMC moves steadily along the path to ensuring our role as one of the top ranked academic medical centers in the country.

2017 Endowed Events:

Robert C. and Laura C. Garrett Endowed Chair for the School of Medicine Dean

Donor: Robert C. and Laura C. Garrett
Recipient: Bonita Stanton, M.D.

Viswanathan Rajaraman, M.D., Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery

Donor: North Jersey Brain & Spine Center
Recipient: Patrick A. Roth, M.D.

Pitkin Foundation Endowed Professorship Fund

Donor: The Pitkin Foundation
Recipient: Samuel A. Goldlust, M.D.

Justice Marie L. Garibaldi Endowed Chair for the Chairman, Heart & Vascular Hospital

Donor: Estate of Justice Marie L. Garibaldi
Recipient: Joseph E. Parrillo, M.D.