We’re getting as much out of this experience as you are getting from us,” declared Joey Cioffi and Jerry Eicke as they discussed the synergistic relationship between their organization and Spectrum360 during a visit to the Academy360 Upper School campus in Livingston.

The two men are co-founders of The Salad House, a restaurant chain dedicated to healthy eating and giving back to the community that has formed a powerful partnership with Spectrum360. The connection began three years ago when Joanne and Rob Bothe, parents of a Spectrum360 student and good friends of Joey and Jerry, approached The Salad House for support in the Walk for a Lifetime event.

Salad House’s first benefit event for Spectrum360’s programs raised $7,364.19 in 2021.

This simple act sparked a lasting collaboration. Fast forward to today, The Salad House is one of Spectrum360’s biggest self-fundraisers, raising money on S360’s behalf with their “Eat Good, Do Good” restaurant events, where the proceeds from all sales (excluding third party orders) from select locations are donated to Spectrum360. On April 30th, six of their 15 New Jersey locations donated over $8,000 from the proceeds of their one-day event.

Philanthropy has always been a cornerstone of The Salad House’s mission. Their annual “Big Give” event exemplifies this commitment. Every year the proceeds from all locations go to a chosen charity, often connected to a member of their team. Past recipients include organizations close to Jerry and Joey’s hearts, like Team Legrand/ Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, ALS United Greater New York Chapter and the The Sharing Network.

Learning about the life-changing impact on the students and adults in the nonprofit’s programs inspired them to make the Spectrum360 fundraiser its own annual event, devoted to enriching the organization beyond one-time donations.

Fundraising contributions to Spectrum360 assist in improving classrooms and in-class equipment, augmenting technology made available to students, operating expenses and more. Salad House’s donations, and those from other donors, assist the nonprofit’s mission to provide those they serve with the supports they need to realize their aspirations and lead thriving lives.

During their recent tour, the men were emotional as they explained the personal connection they feel to Spectrum360.  For Joey, observing the obstacles faced by a close friend with a child on the spectrum is often a sobering contrast with his own experiences as the father of a neurotypical child. This, coupled with the friendship with the Bothes and other experiences, has driven the co-founders’ desire to do more.

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And their involvement extends beyond fundraising. Spectrum360 students have benefited from community-based work experience at The Salad House, bringing them on board to assist with customers and restaurant tasks. These jobs are contributions beyond value to students, teaching real-world employment, life and social skills.

The partnership is a testament to the power of connection and shared values. The Salad House and Spectrum360 are a shining example of a community working together to create a brighter future.