Our mission is to enhance the educational opportunities in the Upper Freehold Regional School District through the identification and development of community partnerships and private resources. These collaborations will inspire academic excellence and a positive learning environment that would be otherwise unavailable due to budget constraints.


Bridging The Gap

In collaboration with The Upper Freehold Regional School District and The Board of Education, UFREF has raised over $25,000 in targeted funding and in kind donations towards it’s "Bridging The Gap" initiative.

The Issue: $7.43M shortfall

In the fall of 2010, the community faced the following realities:

  • $811K in 2009-2010 state aid reduction
  • $1.71M in 2010-2011 state aid reduction
  • $4.91M in cuts in the 2010/2011 school budget

In order to meet the $7.43M shortfall, the District was forced to reduce administration, teachers, staff, frozen IT expenditures, school programs, and school activities.

The Response: A New Initiative

At the request of the community, UFREF accepted the challenge of coordinating efforts to restore some of these programs and activities.

At the Back to School nights for all three schools, UFREF presented its “Bridging the Gap” initiative to help provide funding and resources to the programs, clubs, and activities that were impacted.

The response was overwhelmingly positive and the support was unprecedented. The community expressed its passion to the tune of over $25,000. This has allowed UFREF to award in excess of $114,000 to the Upper Freehold Schools since 2007.

2010/2011 Programs:

The programs that UFREF has received donations for as a result of the launch of the Bridging The Gap Initiative are:

1. Stokes 7th Grade Trip – amount solicited $1,308 amount collected $1,308. Community Champion Michelle & Paul Anthony.

2. Washington DC 8th Grade Trip – amount solicited $1,635 amount collected $1,840. Community Champion Meg McCarthy

3. Matching Gifts of $1,308 collected were donated towards the funding of awards resulting from the semi-annual UFREF Grant cycles.

4. Science Club Grant – Amount solicited $1,380 amount collected $2,500 as part of an awarded Lockheed Martin company grant. Community Champion Vince Hoffman.

5. Robotics Club - $6,000 awarded by Bristol Myers Squibb bringing their awarded total to $56,000 to date. Community Champion Chris Nalbone

6. Baseball Field Irrigation upgrade - $4,000 in-Kind donation

7. 3rd & 4th Grade Word Works Study program - $2,550 collected. Community Champion Shelley Stagnitti.

8. Soccer/Lacrosse Field Scoreboard - $6,000 collected. Donation by Mrs. Bonham from the George Link Jr. Charitable Trust. "It brought tears to my eyes", said Brian Irwin Athletic Director AHS when approached with the donation.

9. Elementary School Playground initiative – through the use of A.R.A. American Recovery Act Federal funds $12,000 used to procure Playground equipment for the 2 to 5 Age Group children of the Newell Elementary School. At the request of the community, UFREF has launched a Playground initiative program to help upgrade and re-build the basketball court and the existing playground of the Newell Elementary School. To help and get involved, you can contact Sydney Guerrero UFREF VP sguerrero14@optonline.net or Danielle Esteves UFREF Trustee elle11212001@yahoo.com. We are looking for community Champions and Sponsors to help.


“We are pleased to be able to help the community and contribute our resources to spearhead such a worthwhile cause in the Bridging the Gap Initiative. The community is passionate about this and so are we. With the School District, the Board of Education, and the community standing united, we are doing all we can to face the reality of this historic economic crisis head on,” said James Derasmo, President of UFREF.

“We were very touched by the tremendous response that we have received from the community including the community champions helping to spearhead the collection of funds for the different programs.” said Sydney Guerrero Vice President of UFREF.

Help can come in the form of volunteering your time and talents towards the different programs or activities as well as the donation of funds and/or talent (in-Kind). Let’s make a difference together, contact UFREF with your ideas, help, and suggestions regarding bridging the Gap at BridgingtheGap@ufref.org.

“Everything the foundation accomplishes on behalf of the children is made possible by the communities' generous gifts of time and money.” Derasmo said.