ECLC of New Jersey has more than a million reasons to celebrate the New Year! With an outpouring of year-end donations in December, ECLC reached—and exceeded—$1 million to fund the PRIDE Program for adults with disabilities.

This big milestone was achieved thanks to donations from families, Board members, staff, the community and a $50,000 matching grant from billionaires Toby and Leon Cooperman.

The Endowment was established in December 2014 to provide long-term support for the PRIDE program, which serves graduates of ECLC’s special-education schools in Chatham and Ho-Ho-Kus. The Coopermans pledged a $250,000 matching grant over five years, which ends in 2019. The cause is close to the family. Toby Cooperman was a Learning Disability Teaching Consultant at the ECLC school in Chatham for 25 years and now serves on the Board of Trustees.

The Endowment will ensure PRIDE can keep its doors open for many years to come. Without PRIDE, these adults with disabilities, who are not able to work, would have few options.

“We’re thrilled at our success in just two years of the campaign!” said ECLC Executive Director, Bruce Litinger. “Now, we have to keep the momentum going. Our goal is to ensure that PRIDE will stay open and offer a nurturing, safe place for our graduates to thrive.”

ECLC has been a pioneer in special-education and providing services to adults with disabilities since its founding in 1970. The Endowment will:

  • Supplement day-to-day operating costs
  • Provide start-up costs for new centers
  • Purchase equipment, such as vans, computers and more
  • Allow for the program to run all year long
  • Give emergency funding for compassionate reasons related to client and family aging issues

While government funding is going down, demand for placement in the PRIDE program continues to go up. Already, PRIDE has expanded into two locations—Florham Park and Paramus—serving more than 160 clients. As more students graduate and enroll in the program, ECLC faces a challenge to keep up with the demand.

“The PRIDE program is so critical to our families,” said Litinger. “The Endowment will be the gift that keeps on giving for years to come, allowing us to maintain a high-quality program with full-time staff.”