Newswise — Hackensack Meridian Health Meridian Health Foundation is pleased to announce its 20th Anniversary Gala raised a record-breaking $2.7 million for the organization. The event took place on Saturday, November 18 at New Jersey’s iconic historical venue, Ellis Island, where Peter Cancro, founder and CEO of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. was honored for his dedication to supporting health care, and many other wonderful causes, for the community. This signature fundraising event benefits Hackensack Meridian Health’s southern regional not-for-profit hospitals and community health programs.

Peter Cancro has been involved with Hackensack Meridian Health for several years, serving as chair of Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center Foundation and leading record-breaking fundraising efforts resulting in more than $25 million raised for both Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital. He also chaired the annual Jersey Shore Golf Classic until he completed his term on the Board last year.

“It was an extreme honor to recognize Peter Cancro at the 20th Anniversary Gala,” shares John K. Lloyd, FACHE, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Peter has been a tremendous partner of ours for more than 20 years. He has made a difference in the lives of countless patients through his personal and professional philanthropy and exudes generosity in every facet of his life. Peter is incredibly deserving of this recognition.”

As founder and CEO of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc., Cancro oversees the franchise’s 1,500 locations that are open and under development. For the past seven years, Jersey Mike’s locations designated a “Month of Giving” national fundraising campaign, raising over $18 million for local charities since the campaign’s inception.

“Giving back and making a difference in someone’s life has always been a guiding principle in my personal life and at Jersey Mike’s,” explains Cancro. “I’m proud to help support something as hugely important as health care, and feel confident that through Hackensack Meridian Health my family, friends and the staff at our local Jersey Mike’s all have access to excellent, quality care, right in their backyards.”

More than 700 people attended the 20th Anniversary Gala at Ellis Island, home to the United States' first public health hospital. Guests enjoyed live music, dancing, a variety of delicious foods from around the world and access to the monument’s vast array of exhibits.

“We are so proud that this year’s event raised record-breaking funds for Meridian Health Foundation,” explains Robert Garett, FACHE, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “We attribute the success in large part to Peter Cancro’s involvement, and know this level of fundraising would not be possible without his leadership.”

“Philanthropy is incredibly important to our health network and funds raised at events like the Gala directly impact patient care through our local hospitals and health care initiatives,” explains Joseph Stampe, president and chief development officer of Meridian Health Foundation. “We are so grateful for all who made the trip to Ellis Island and are especially grateful for Peter and his incredible team at Jersey Mike’s for making the 20th Anniversary event our best Gala yet.”

The Gala was generously supported by Title Sponsors, Envision Physician Services and Jersey Mike’s Subs, Cocktail Reception Sponsors, TD Bank and Team Health, Decoration Sponsors, Coastal Imaging, Crothall Healthcare / Morrison Healthcare, John D. Gumina, M.D. of Meridian Medical Group-Primary Care Monmouth Family Medicine Group, Meridian Laboratory Physicians, P.A., Morris Anesthesia Group, OceanFirst and Vee Technologies, and Entertainment Sponsor C.R. Bard. To learn more about how you can support Meridian Health Foundation, visit

ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HEALTH Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children's hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack Meridian Health has 28,000 team members, more than 6,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The Network's notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, the number one hospital in New Jersey as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For," one of the "20 Best Workplaces in Health Care" in the nation, and the number one "Best Place to Work for Women." Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

The hospitals of Hackensack Meridian Health include: academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; children's hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital in Neptune; community hospitals – Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood.

For additional information, please visit ABOUT HACKNESACK MERIDIAN HEALTH MERIDIAN HEALTH FOUNDATION Meridian Health Foundation drives transformational philanthropic support for Hackensack Meridian Health’s hospitals and partner companies in Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex counties including: Jersey Shore University Medical Center, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, Bayshore Medical Center and Raritan Bay Medical Center – Perth Amboy and Old Bridge. Currently in the Foundation’s first comprehensive campaign, Giving Heals, more than $55 million has been raised with funding priorities dedicated to oncology, enhancing the patient experience, broadening clinical research and academic programs, and improving clinical outcomes. Meridian Health Foundation has consistently been named a “High Performer” by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy for its exemplary performance in fundraising. For more information visit

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