Cross River Honored with SINAI Community Partnership Award

Cross River Honored with SINAI Community Partnership Award

By: Elizabeth Kratz
for The Jewish Link

Cross River, a Bergen County-based financial institution, is SINAI Schools Community Partnership awardee, to be celebrated at SINAI’s annual dinner on Feb. 24.

“We have started the relationship this year with the creation of a scholarship fund at SINAI as well as the establishment of an internship program for SINAI students where we hope to provide them with, among other things, vocational training,” explained Drew Parker, a director a Cross River and longtime SINAI supporter.

“Our relationship with the institution is new but we have had a strong relationship with people who have worked for Cross River for many years,” said Sam Fishman, SINAI’s managing director, who reported that the first student, from SINAI Shalem High School, has already begun his vocational training at Cross River. Fishman added that the culture at Cross River is “very supportive of what we do. Every communication we have with them is just ‘What else can we do?’ As we prepared to honor them, the CEO, Gilles Gade, has repeatedly said, ‘This is just the beginning of our partnership,’” Fishman added.

“In our first meeting together, Gilles came off as a very sincere and thoughtful gentleman; he seems to really want to leverage our relationship to help SINAI,” said Yisrael Rothwachs, dean of SINAI Schools.

Gade, for his part, was enthusiastic about the new partnership. “Everything is on the table. I would be more than happy to help them with whatever they need,” he told The Jewish Link. He explained that on his first visit to one of the seven SINAI Schools, SINAI at RYNJ, it was the components of the program that impressed him the most. “They’re not just trying to help the students get by; they are trying to help them get where they want to get in life,” he explained.

Gade explained how he was first introduced to SINAI by Parker, who himself was aware of SINAI’s good works even when he lived in Los Angeles, before moving to Englewood 20 years ago. Once local, Parker and his wife became active supporters of SINAI, having learned “first-hand about many families who were recipients of the myriad services that SINAI provides.

“Throughout the years, we have taken tremendous pride in SINAI’s growth, not only geographically but, more importantly, in the quality and types of services it provides and the vast number of children’s lives that have been immeasurably improved and enriched as a result of SINAI’s efforts,” Parker noted.

Parker expressed hakarat hatov (gratitude) to Cross River, saying he was “terrifically proud” that Gade and Cross River have chosen to partner up with SINAI. “I have always thought that a relationship between Cross River and SINAI was a natural one for many reasons, not the least of which being Cross River’s dedication to many worthwhile philanthropic causes over the years,” said Parker. “It is a company that is truly committed to not only doing well but also doing much good. In my opinion, there is no more worthwhile cause than SINAI and given our Teaneck roots, it was not only desirable but inevitable that this partnership form.”

Cross River has grown over the past decade from a community bank with a single Teaneck branch to a major force in the financial technology world, employing hundreds, many of whom are from the Bergen County area. It is a shomer-Shabbat financial institution, famously closing for business each Friday at 4 p.m. Among approximately 100 other charities that Cross River contributes to daily, Gade said, in addition to SINAI, the financial institution also financially supports and sponsors golf or tennis outings for Madreigos and OurPlace, both organizations that support Jewish children at risk. It also provides support for Touro College and Renewal.

This article was originally published in The Jewish Link together with a related article about our 37th annual benefit dinner and honorees.