Giving Local in New Jersey

Donors Dan and Maria Geltrude at their Nutley home.

"Clara Maass is right in our backyard ... We want to help make sure the community has a state-of-the-art medical facility that can provide all the care they need.”

When Dan and Maria Geltrude made a significant donation to the new MRI suite at Clara Maass Medical Center (CMMC), they were inspired by the matching funds that were being offered by The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.

“We felt this was a unique opportunity to really help the hospital, because whatever our donation was would be doubled,” says Dan Geltrude, Managing Partner of Geltrude & Company, the accounting and financial advisory firm he cofounded with Maria in 1995.

But there was more to their motivation than that. “We’re from Nutley, our business is in Nutley, and Clara Maass is right in our backyard. It’s part of our community,” Dan says. “And we want to help make sure the community has a state-of-the-art medical facility that can provide all the care they need.”

“We know people who have been treated at Clara Maass, and we ourselves are grateful former patients,” says Maria. “We believe that giving should start at home base and extend out from there.”

“People say ‘think globally and act locally,’ and that’s very true,” Dan says. “You want to make a difference, but it’s overwhelming to think, ‘How can I change the world?’ You don’t have to change the world. You just have to help one person at a time, and that’s what we try to do.”

“We’re grateful for the long friendship we’ve enjoyed with the Geltrudes, and for their unwavering support for our mission to provide the most compassionate, safe and personalized care every day,” says Mary Ellen Clyne, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer at CMMC. “They are true ambassadors for the foundation, having also facilitated a number of major gifts from others in support of the new MRI suite.”

“I feel comfortable asking people to be charitable within their means to the extent they can,” Dan says. “I say, ‘Give till it hurts, because it feels so good.’”

Family Feeling

Work and philanthropy are dual passions for Dan and Maria. In addition to being a member of the Clara Maass Medical Center Foundation Board of Trustees, Dan raises money for melanoma research and education through the Mike Geltrude Foundation, named after his father. A business analyst who frequently appears on TV, Dan is known as “America’s Accountant.”

In addition to her work as a CPA at Geltrude & Company, Maria is the founder of Vastu Environments, consulting in homes and offices to create balanced and harmonious spaces.

In fact, the environment at CMMC is one of the reasons she supports the hospital. “When either Dan or I have had occasion to be at Clara Maass, we’ve been struck by the comfort we got from everyone we dealt with,” Maria says. “They give you the feeling that, ‘We’ve got you.’ A hospital could be a very cold and indifferent place, but at Clara Maass we got a calm and peaceful feeling.”

Dan speculates that the hospital’s caring culture may have originated with nurse Clara Louise Maass herself, who worked there in its earliest days as the Newark German Hospital and died as a result of volunteering to test a vaccine for yellow fever during the Spanish- American War.

“That’s the sense of commitment I feel at Clara Maass Medical Center, and that’s also part of the reason I’ve never left Nutley,” Dan says. “There’s a family like feeling, and Clara Maass is our community hospital. We are all taking care of each other. When you give to Clara Maass, you are literally helping your neighbor.”

To learn more about giving to Clara Maass Medical Center, call 973-450-2277.