L-R, CSI Foundation Board member Marilyn Caselli, Executive Director of the Northfield Bank Foundation Diane Senerchia, Chair of the Northfield Bank Foundation Timothy Harrison, Jay Chazanoff, President of the CSI Foundation Patrick McDermott, Executive Director of the CSI Foundation Cheryl Adolph, and Northfield Bank Foundation members John Bowen and Susan Lamberti. (Photo credit: George Davis IV)

The Northfield Bank Foundation has provided a $25,000 memorial gift to the College of Staten Island in honor of Lucille Chazanoff, a founding and longtime member of the Northfield Bank Foundation. The gift will augment The “Jay and Lucille Chazanoff ’65 Endowed Scholarship,” which was established in 2011 to provide support for students who are pursuing an Associate or Baccalaureate Business degree. A check presentation took place on Thursday, November 12 at Northfield Bank’s 1731 Victory Boulevard location, attended by Mr. Jay Chazanoff, with members of the Northfield Bank Foundation and CSI Foundation.

Diane Senerchia, Executive Director of the Northfield Bank Foundation, is very happy and proud that the Northfield Bank Foundation’s members have decided to recognize and honor Lucille with such a generous grant to benefit CSI students. At Northfield Bank Foundation’s initial board meeting, in March of 2008, the Board awarded CSI a grant for the newly created Internship Stipend Program. Throughout the years, Northfield donated $115,000 to this program, which was Mrs. Chazanoff’s favorite program to fund. Ms. Senerchia said “it is now only fitting we recognize Lucille’s contribution to the Northfield Bank Foundation with this grant to CSI for the Jay and Lucille Chazanoff ’65 Endowed Scholarship.”

Mrs. Chazanoff’s dedication to the Staten Island community through her philanthropy and participation in organizations such as Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, the Staten Island Visiting Nurse Association, and Meals on Wheels, served as the inspiration for the gift. Her selfless contributions to the community eventually led to Mrs. Chazanoff being named a Staten Island Advance Woman of Achievement in 1994. In addition, she and her husband Jay were lead benefactors of the JCC and sponsors of the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp, the world’s first full-time summer day camp for children with cancer and their siblings, provided completely free of charge. Mrs. Chazanoff, who passed in July of 2020, was also the founder of the family-run Carmine and Robert DeSantis Charitable Foundation, named after her late brothers, which assists children with special needs on Staten Island.

Tim Harrison, Chair of Northfield Bank Foundation, stated that “Lucille Chazanoff was a visionary, our ethical and moral compass, and our friend.  Her contributions to the work of the Foundation were monumental, and irreplaceable. Even today, when confronted with a difficult decision, we on the Board often ask ourselves, “What would Lucille do? What would she think is right?” And so, Lucille continues to guide us, even now. I suspect that Lucille will continue to guide us for many, many, many years.”

Current Northfield Bank Foundation Board Member, Susan Lamberti, who served as Chairwoman for 11 years, said, “Lucille, as a founding member of the Northfield Bank Foundation Board, and having served for 12 years, provided immeasurable counsel, as well as perceptive guidance in that role. Her strength of character, candor, benevolence, and devotion to her community will never be forgotten. We, as a Board, miss Lucille’s wisdom and charity, and are proud that her memory will live on through this grant.”

John Alexander, current Chair of Northfield Bank, and former Northfield Bank Foundation CEO, said “we are proud to support CSI and its students through the Chazanoff ‘65 Endowed Scholarship, which will be a lasting memorial to the generosity of the Chazanoff family and, in particular, Lucille Chazanoff who was a founding director of the Northfield Bank Foundation.”

CSI President William J. Fritz commented on this generous gift, stating that “Northfield Bank Foundation’s contribution to the Chazanoff Endowed Scholarship is a fitting tribute to Lucille, who was a champion of our College and a proud alumna. Students in the Chazanoff School of Business will benefit from this gift for decades to come, gaining the experience and academic expertise to launch successful careers and drive the economy.”

Mrs. Chazanoff gave her time and dedication to the College as a founding member of the College of Staten Island Foundation, having served for 12 years. She and her husband, both graduates of the Staten Island Community College Class of 1965, have also been generous benefactors of the College of Staten Island through their support for scholarships such as the Chazanoff Endowed Scholarship. Most importantly, the Chazanoffs made a $7.5M contribution to CSI last year, which resulted in the naming of the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business. This gift represented the largest-ever individual contribution to a public non-profit organization on Staten Island.

Susan L. Holak, Founding Dean of the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business, commented that the generous gift from Northfield Bank Foundation “is a wonderful tribute to Lucille Chazanoff that will further bolster the Chazanoff School of Business’s efforts to obtain accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the preeminent accrediting body for business schools in the United States and a major accreditor worldwide. We are most grateful for this contribution that will expand financial support, lend additional prestige to our exemplary programs, and attract high-quality students.”

According to its mission statement, the Northfield Bank Foundation “is to promote charitable purposes within the communities in which Northfield Bank operates – Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Central New Jersey. The Foundation will focus its efforts on projects to support education, health and human services, youth programs, affordable housing, and other types of community organizations or civic-minded projects that improve the quality of life around us.”

By Terry Mares