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Julie Bellezza joins OceanFirst Foundation

Bellezza will serve because the nonprofit’s Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator.

Julie Bellezza

Julie Bellezza

MANAHAWKIN, N.J.Aug. 29, 2022PRLog — Where there’s a need, there’s always a means. OceanFirst Foundation, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this past year, has built a good reputation as an excellent neighbor providing grants that assist families, organizations, schools and communities in NJ markets.

The necessity is strong also it runs deeper than simply cutting a check. That is why OceanFirst Foundation has welcomed Julie Bellezza to its team as Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator. Bellezza is charged with organizing all areas of volunteering, including promoting opportunities to all or any of OceanFirst’s 900+ employees along with other local businesses.

Bellezza, the former Recruitment Coordinator for CASA of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, is tasked with supporting all nonprofits within OceanFirst’s growing footprint, whether or not or not they’re funded by the building blocks.

“My role is certainly going out in to the community, meeting the various OceanFirst Bank associates and connecting them with nonprofits looking for volunteers,” Bellezza said.

Since its establishment, the building blocks has granted over $45 million to 8,800 local charities and schools through the Bank’s NJ markets, including scholarships awarded to local universites and colleges, and also Model Classroom and Good Neighbor grants.

OceanFirst Bank and OceanFirst Foundation routinely partner to aid when our communities come in need, just one single example was providing funding for pandemic-related efforts totaling over $175,000, primarily to local food banks, family care along with other organizations.

“At OceanFirst we have been proud that the services we deliver in the communities we serve tend to be more than checking accounts and loans. Our employees are portion of the markets we have been in, often living and raising their own families in the towns, and volunteering their time and talent if they can,” said Christopher D. Maher, Chairman and CEO of OceanFirst Bank and Chairman of OceanFirst Foundation. Maher added, “When our OceanFirst employees volunteer, we call them the WaveMakers and over time the WaveMakers have given hundreds of hours to helping our neighbors that are most in need.”

But sometimes grants aren’t enough.

Kathy Durante, OceanFirst Foundation’s Executive Director, who spent some time working in the nonprofit sector for over 30 years and is among OceanFirst Foundation’s founding board members, knows that a lot of nonprofits have a crucial dependence on feet on the floor.

“At OceanFirst Foundation we have been focused on connecting people, said Durante. She added, “This consists of connecting non-profit organizations with one another to share guidelines and ideas in addition to connecting employees of OceanFirst Bank or others to volunteer for non-profit organizations helping our neighbors in need.”

Seeking to the near future, Bellezza is organizing OceanFirst Bank’s CommunityFirst Day on October 6. OceanFirst will close its branches early that day (essential services it’s still available) and encourage all employees to volunteer at various local nonprofit organizations.

Bellezza will undoubtedly be dealing with local nonprofits to create volunteering sites for employees to pick from. “There is also the choice of choosing the cause they are passionate about and volunteering their time this way,” she said. “My goal is for several OceanFirst employees to keep to volunteer after October 6 also to add more companies to your volunteer efforts.”

Durante added, “Being an organization, we wish to aid the nonprofit community over the entire footprint. Our goal is easy to empower nonprofits to believe bigger, solve more problems and make life better in the neighborhoods we serve.”

For more information about OceanFirst’s CommunityFirst Day or if you’re a nonprofit or community organization looking for volunteers, please email Julie Bellezza at


OceanFirst’s beginnings

OceanFirst Bank N.A., founded in 1902, includes a long-standing tradition of providing financial solutions for families and businesses, while delivering extraordinary customer support, and giving back again to their neighbors.

OceanFirst is among the largest and oldest community-based finance institutions headquartered in NJ and contains grown to over $12 billion in assets serving customers in five states. OceanFirst Foundation was established in 1996 with the Bank’s conversion from the mutual to public ownership, the initial foundation created this way. OceanFirst Foundation is really a private entity with a mission of providing money to charitable non-profit organizations helping its neighbors.

“With approval from the Bank’s depositors, OceanFirst became the initial bank in the united kingdom to produce a private foundation together with conversion to a public company,” said David C. Wintrode, President of Causeway Category of Dealerships/Causeway CARes.

Wintrode, who has served on the OceanFirst Foundation board going back 21 years, notes that collaboration is definitely key to OceanFirst’s success.

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