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April 24, 2023

The Marisa Tufaro Foundation Receives Barnes Community Champion Award

The YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge and South Amboy (MEWSA) will honor The Marisa Tufaro Foundation with its Barnes Community Champion Award.

The award is presented to an organization with a legacy of community service, that is responsive to and interested in the YMCA’s work and serves as an example for others of leadership, integrity and the YMCA’s core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.

The Marisa Tufaro Foundation is among several honorees the YMCA of MEWSA will celebrate during its Annual Dinner at the Pines Manor in Edison on May 17.

Outstanding youth employees Anthony Brown (South Amboy branch), McKenna Carey (Edison branch), Sidate Mbahwe (Metuchen branch), Sheena Patel (Piscataway branch) and Khristy Rivas-Mata (Child Care branch) will each receive the YMCA of MEWSA’s Malinowski Award for service to the community.

Metuchen resident Mike Lackland will be honored with the Charles S. Edgar Memorial Award, and the Edison Firefighters Association will be recognized with the Community Partner Award.

Since its inception less than six years ago, The Marisa Tufaro Foundation has donated more than a quarter of a million dollars to assist pediatric patients and other children in need throughout the greater Middlesex County area.

Cyndi and Greg Tufaro established the Edison-based nonprofit in loving memory of their daughter Marisa, who survived six open-heart surgeries and a heart transplant before succumbing in 2017 at the age of 13 to a rare form of cancer. Despite being hospitalized for more than two years and maintaining hundreds of doctor’s appointments, Marisa Tufaro was an Edison Township Public Schools honor roll student involved in a myriad of extracurricular activities who lived a vibrant life that inspired. The foundation is a fitting way to keep Marisa’s indomitable spirit alive and allow her legacy to be one of helping others.

“The YMCA of MEWSA is proud to celebrate Cyndi and Greg Tufaro and the impact of The Marisa Tufaro Foundation,” said YMCA of MEWSA President and CEO Rose Cushing. “They do such incredible work in our community and are reflective of the values of the YMCA. We look forward to working together in the future.”

The Marisa Tufaro Foundation has also donated thousands of toys, nonperishable food items, winter jackets, baby supplies and other items upon which it has placed no monetary value. In addition, the nonprofit has awarded $26,500 in academic scholarships to 38 high school seniors.

“We are honored beyond words to be named recipient of the Barnes Community Champion Award,” Cyndi Tufaro said. “From childcare to wellness and enrichment, the YMCA of MEWSA offers vital programs and services to thousands of members and residents that promote healthy living, social responsibility, and foster youth development. In some ways, our foundation mirrors the YMCA of MEWSA, which provides scholarships and financial assistance to families and individuals in need. Through the fulfillment of its broad-based and all-encompassing mission, the YMCA of MEWSA is exemplary, setting a standard of excellence to which all nonprofits, including The Marisa Tufaro Foundation, can aspire.”

To donate to the YMCA of MEWSA, please email or visit Tickets for the Annual Dinner can be purchased at