Maybe the most impressive thing about Jay and Linda Grunin is most people don’t know who they are and I say that in a totally complimentary fashion.

Welcome to Ocean County monument
Welcome to Ocean County monument (Stacy Proebstle)

As a matter of fact let me ask you: do you know who the Grunin’s are? Until yesterday I had only met Jay once and that was at a Salvation Army fundraiser years ago in which I served as Master of Ceremonies. It’s an organization that is near and dear to his heart and one he has supported for quite some time.

My reason for meeting the Grunin’s yesterday was the unveiling of the “Welcome to Ocean County” monument that now sits on a grass patch on Route 37, just east of Main Street in Toms River. It will be one of the first things many will notice as they head to area beaches and that’s appropriate since the monument pays tribute to the ongoing recovery efforts in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. It features a family of five enjoying a day at the boardwalk and the most noticeable part is a large Ferris wheel. The project was designed and created by highly-acclaimed sculptor Brian Hanlon of Toms River and the entire cost of the project was paid for by the Grunin Foundation.

So let me get back to a family that has called Toms River home for 45 years which is when Jay & Linda first arrived here to practice law and settle down. They had met three years earlier as law school classmates at NYU and their law practice thrived during an incredible period of growth in Ocean County.

Later they would devote more time to real estate investments while also focusing on giving back to the community which had been so good to them. With little fanfare the Grunin’s promoted the welfare of others through charitable donations and most recently established a foundation in their name. Their son Jeremy who grew up in Toms River before leaving to plot his own course has returned with his wife and three children to serve as Executive Director of the foundation.

The mission is to bring world class performing and visual art, healthcare and education to Toms River while striving to make the town the best place in New Jersey to live, grow business, work and visit. It’s an ambitious goal but consider that this year alone they have donated $5.75 million to benefit the arts at Ocean County College and $3.5 million to Community Medical Center for a Neuroscience Institute in their name. They have lofty goals for the future and want to engage others to join them.

The family does not seek accolades but rather is motivated to help others and the town they call home…Toms River is lucky to have them. For more visit

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