Winner of PLANETCIVIC’s Montclair Altruist Award Splits Prize Between Library and MFEE


Passionate school volunteer Cara Moroze, winner of PLANETCIVIC’s first Montclair Altruist Award, has opted to split her $500 prize between the Montclair Public Library Foundation ($250) and the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence ($250). Ms. Moroze also won a $150 dinner at one of her favorite Montclair restaurants, MishMish Café. PLANETCIVIC’S purpose in creating the Montclair Altruist Award was to give the Montclair community an incentive to thank the legion of volunteers who do so much for our community. Local members of the public made the nominations and voted for the nominees in PLANETCIVIC, a social platform designed to engage residents of Montclair in making the community better.

Alison Bauer, Montclair Public Library Foundation Chair, Cara Moroze, Montclair Altruist Award Winner, and Javier Guardo, PLANETCIVIC founder.
Alison Bauer, Montclair Public Library Foundation Chair, Cara Moroze, Montclair Altruist Award Winner, and Javier Guardo, PLANETCIVIC founder.

Long-time Montclair resident and Hillside PTA President Kristina Drymalski nominated Cara Moroze with the words:

Because of Cara, the students at Hillside Elementary and Buzz Aldrin Middle School have an opportunity to regularly participate in diverse, hands-on programs, many of which are free. Cara has helped create:

-Buzz Aldrin Middle School’s first ever Poetry Slam (Every Story Matters) which was nationally recognized by PTO Today Magazine and named Outstanding Academics & Enrichment Award” (2015-2016)
-Hillside’s Pop Up Workshops which perfectly blend Montclair community venues with educational programs including: A Day in a Life of a Veterinarian, Learn what it takes to be Montclair Police Officer, Filmmaking 101 with Montclair Film Festival. . .

Moroze chose to give half of her prize to the Montclair Public Library Foundation because she is a frequent and appreciative user of the library. She says, “In addition to constantly checking out books, we’ve taken advantage of their free classes, lectures, concerts, performances and access to museum passes. The Montclair history room is among one of my favorite spots to learn about our town’s past. The online resources are amazing, too.”

Moroze is giving the other half of the prize to the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence, and organization that helped her bring innovations to the schools. “Because of the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence, Buzz Aldrin Middle School was able to hold its first annual poetry slam called Every Story Matters. And this year, because of the generosity of MFEE, we are able to hold Every Story Matters 2.0, with the potential to expand this program across all the middle schools in the future. In honor of their 25th anniversary, I would like to make a donation to show my appreciation for how they significantly enhance programs throughout Montclair’s public schools.”

Says Javier Guardo, founder of PLANETCIVIC, “The contest ran through Dec 30, but people can thank the unsung altruists of our community in PLANETCIVIC anytime. All of the people who were nominated are incredible resources for our community, and every one got recognition for the good work they do. A public thank you means a lot and inspires people to act.”

The other nominees for the Montclair Altruist Award were Alison Bauer, Colleen Martinez, Greg Pason, Selma Avidicevic, Diana Jones, Chanda Hall, Gray Russell, Steve Singer, Trente Miller, Peter Giuffra, Kristen Wald, Sara Damaskos, Marcia Marley, Carolyn Lack, Jean Kidd, Danielle Neff & Lori Gladstone, Pluchet Alexander, Linda Bowers and Danny Erichson. To check out these statements of gratitude or to thank someone, go to

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