The Greater Newark Holiday Fund began in 1937, when America was in still in the throes of the Great Depression. It was a time of unprecedented poverty and joblessness that affected millions of people’s lives.
Moved by the hardships they saw around them, a group of businessmen were inspired to provide Christmas presents to children on the streets of Newark. It was the beginning of a lasting tradition.
By the 1950’s, this initiative had grown into the Greater Newark Christmas Fund and it now supported relief efforts by several local social service agencies during the holiday season. The Newark Evening News promoted the fund by carrying appeals for donations and stories about the good it was doing.
In 1972, when the Evening News ceased operations, Mort Pye, then editor of The Newark Star-Ledger, instituted a partnership with the fund that continues to this day. Over the years, the fund has extended its geographic reach to cover Essex, Union, Passaic, Hudson, Morris, and Bergen Counties.
In 2002, the organization changed its name to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund, reflecting the cross-denominational nature of its mission. Despite the fact that our yearly campaign officially runs for two months during the holiday season, we accept donations year round. Over the years, we have contributed nearly $12 million toward the betterment of thousands of families in our community. Annual donations are approaching a half-million dollars a year; a tribute to the civic generosity of the people of New Jersey.