Location: Hamilton, NJ
Founder and CEO
Allies, Inc. provides residential, employment and advocacy programs to children and adults with disabilities. “Many of the people who seek assistance from Allies reside in nursing homes or state-run developmental centers just because they have nowhere else to live,” says Elise Tretola, founder and CEO of Allies. “Over the last 17 years, Allies has been able to find people with special needs places to live and work in our community just like everyone else.” Many of the people the organization serves have become involved in civic and voluntary groups as a way to give back to the community.
Fun Fact: “In addition to my work at Allies, I am a very active member of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.”
Allies has provided employment and housing services to more than 1,700 people. In addition, the nonprofit has added new services, including financial literacy and transition from school to work. “Allies’ imperative has always been to offer an array of choices for the individual and his or her family, providing creative programming that capitalizes on individual gifts, talents and preferences,” says Tretola. In 2015, Allies acquired its first affiliate, Opportunity Knocks, a nonprofit that also serves people with developmental disabilities in New Jersey.
Allies has two major fundraisers each year. “The first is our fashion show, where the people we serve are the models for the fashion we sell in our Greensleeves Boutiques, which are staffed by people with disabilities,” says Tretola. The second event is known as Taste of America. For this event, between 13 and 15 restaurants give tastings of their signature dishes.