Party With Purpose was founded nearly twenty years ago after the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Just like millions across the country, founder Scott Delea knew he needed to do something bigger in his community. Scott had recently made Hoboken his home and, after getting involved in a tutoring volunteer opportunity, he wanted to continue his impact. Thus, Party With Purpose (PWP) was born. We had a chance to connect with Scott and the recently elected President, Nicole Rocanello, to learn more about the organization, its mission, and the upcoming 5K race and after-party fundraiser. Read on to learn more about Party With Purpose and its upcoming events.
(Photo credit: Anthony S. Photography)
“When 9-11 happened it had a profound impact on my life. I didn’t want to give up my full-time job or my social life, but I knew I needed to do something bigger. That’s when the idea for PWP was born. I would still work hard and play hard, but I would work just as hard giving back to improve the lives of these local kids,” shared Scott. He continued to tell more about the mission of the organization in its early days.
“A group of friends and I set up PWP as a volunteer-run not-for-profit so we could raise money to fund mentor programs, teen centers, food banks, computer classes, and counseling services. We would also support charities that provide safe places for kids to play. We were determined to raise as much money as we could, support efficient and effective projects and build relationships along the way.”
Read More: A Guide to Hot Yoga Studios in North Jersey
As the organization started to gain momentum, it was at an event supporting the Boys & Girls Club that Scott knew PWP was making an impact. “One of my favorites was our first fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County. The party was raging and everyone was having a blast. We invited the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club to speak to the crowd. He could barely finish his speech because he was so overcome with emotion and grateful that 300 people would show up to help his kids. That’s when I knew we were on to something.”
PWP is a 100% volunteer-run organization that supports local charities in the community financially through micro-grants. Each year, the grant sub-committee of the PWP Board comes together to read through the more than three dozen applications from organizations sharing more about the work they are doing and how they would put the PWP Grant to use.
Some of the beneficiaries provide resources such as tutoring programs, grief support for children, outdoor recreation programs, after-school activities, mental health support, and more. Since its inception, PWP has donated more than $1M to dozens of charities and the organization is just getting started. PWP hosts three major events throughout the year to raise money – The Annual Winter Benefit, The Annual 5K Race & After Party, and, the most recently added an Annual Cornhole Tournament.
Keeping the Momentum
Scott shared that maintaining a volunteer-run organization alive for nearly two decades is no easy task. One volunteer who has been with the organization for almost half of its existence is President Nicole Rocanello.
“I started volunteering at the Jersey City (JC) chapter to help plan the 1st annual 5K. After the JC chapter winded down, I started attending volunteer meetings with the Hoboken chapter. At that time (2015) they were planning the annual 5K, so I jumped right in and became the volunteer coordinator for the race. That was a huge task as you needed to ‘staff’ all the different areas for the days leading up to the race and race day. I enjoyed it and it went well, so in 2016 I kept my role as volunteer coordinator for the 5K. At the end of 2016, I was voted to be treasurer of PWP to handle all the filings, payments, and finances. Then in 2017, I also became the grant relations director and was part of the process of choosing to whom we donate our money.”
She continued, “In 2021, I became the president. Over the years, PWP has hosted dozens of fundraising events along with events to support grant recipients. Nicole says that some of her favorites include providing Thanksgiving meals to the Boys & Girls Club and setting up for the 5K race, even in the downpour of 2019. She says the team was “getting soaked while soaking up the memories.
The 5K Race
(Photo credit: Anthony S. Photography)
The Annual 5K race is the largest event PWP hosts every year. This year, the race will be held on Tuesday, July 27th at 7PM with the start and finish line at Pier A. The planning for the race takes months, but as Nicole shares, makes for one of the best days of the year in Hoboken.
“The 5K is the biggest event that we hold. It is such a fun and rewarding day! Every year we note what worked well, as well as mistakes made, so we can improve upon and do better the next year. I love that the event is held on a weekday night in July – being held downtown you can feel the buzz of Hoboken in the summer, and we even get last-minute, back from work, passers-by that stop by and sign up,” shared Nicole.
After hosting the race for about 12 years, PWP was forced to change plans in 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic restrictions. The race was fully virtual and was still a success. This year, the organization will hold the race with both virtual and in-person options, making it one of the city’s first large outdoor gatherings this year.
After the race, PWP hosts an incredible after-party to raise even more money for charities. Hosted on Pier A, the after-party boasts live music and $5 drink tickets for beer and wine. Both runners and supporters join in for a great night of fun and fundraising.
PWP is always looking for new members to join the team of volunteers. Leading up to the 5K, volunteers are needed to support organization efforts, and, on the day of the race, volunteers are needed to distribute water, marshal the race, support with bag checks, and sell drink tickets.
Click here to sign up for emails regarding volunteer needs and meeting dates. Registration is currently open for race day as well. Sign up to start a team, join a team or participate solo. Click here to register for the race.
“Although it seems like we are just having fun all the time, that fun leads to raising money for those less fortunate than us throughout Hudson County,” shared Nicole. That is the mission of this long-standing organization. Work hard, play hard, give hard! Visit the website to learn more about PWP.