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THE BERNARDINO COUTINHO FOUNDATION

 

 

 

 

7. BERNARDINO DE FREITAS COUTINHO - BIOGRAPHY

 

 

7.0 Bernardino Coutinho - Biography

7.1 Biography -  Summary

7.2 Biography - Origins

 7.3 Biography - Business

 7.4 Biography - Charity

 7.5 Biography - Community Development and Leadership

7.6 Biography -Portugal Day’s Festival and the Portuguese Heritage Month

7.7 Biography - Awards and Honors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honorable Doctor in Humane Letters, Bernardino de Freitas Coutinho (1937 - ), distinguished American businessman, community leader and philanthropist from Newark, New Jersey, of Portuguese origin. Best known for leading the celebrations of Portuguese language, heritage and culture in the United States. Also known for his relentless humanitarian effort in assisting the homeless, the poor and the impaired, he has also been a benefactor of hundreds of families of new immigrants that reach the U.S. since 1973 providing them with a job and helping in their naturalization process. He was awarded the U.S. Congress sanctioned Ellis Island Medal of Honor for highest accomplishments as an immigrant and for Outstanding Contribution to America and an Honoris Causa Doctorate degree in Humane Letters from the prestigious Essex County College, in Newark, NJ. He was distinguished by the President of the Portuguese Republic with the title of Grand Master of the Order of Infante D. Henrique for outstanding service to the Republic in the expansion of Portuguese culture, history and values. He was also distinguished for pious acts of charity and commended as a Knight of the Catholic Orders of Saint Eugene and of Saint Stanislaus. 

Origins 

Born in the town of Marco de Canaveses, part of the district of the city of Porto in Portugal, he married Mrs. Maria Coutinho and had three children (Helena, Alberto and Abílio). After graduating in Accounting from Porto Business School in 1958, he established himself as an Accountant of a bakery in his hometown until late 1966. Meanwhile and since 1961 he led the Catholic Charity in the nearby town of Ariz up until 1967 where just before leaving to the U.S.  he built a shelter for assisting the poor and homeless. 

Business 

In January 14, 1967 he immigrated to the United States where he became a U.S. Citizen on January 25, 1978. From 1967 to 1973 he was the General Manager at the Cocoziello Bakery in Orange, NJ. During 1973 he founded his own company in Newark, NJ, the prestigious Coutinho’s Bakery, which he expanded with a new branch in 1976 also in Newark. During this year Bernardino Coutinho made his first real-estate investment. His business went on expanding again in 1978 with a second branch in Newark, and in 1980 with a newer third branch now in the nearby town of Harrison, NJ. In 1983 he acquired the Portuguese Broadcasting Inc., a radio broadcasting company in Springfield, CT.  In 1990 he purchased a real-estate investment company, Star Sun Realty Inc, in Newark, NJ.

Charity 

Bernardino Coutinho had a profound Catholic education and ever since 1961 when he led the Catholic Charity of Ariz where he built a shelter for assisting the poor and the homeless, and then in the U.S., he withstood caring for several orphans and poor families providing them with monetary help and means to a formal education. 

Throughout the years he has maintained consistent monetary and logistical support to several Charity institutions in the city of Newark, NJ, that assist the poor, the homeless and the infirm. In his hometown he donated real-estate to the City Hall where a Recreation and Sport Center was built and named after him. In Newark for the last thirty years his company, the Coutinho’s Bakery, donates all pastry and bakery products to most of the local community and recreation centers and churches whenever a fundraising event occurs. He has also provided substantial monetary help to a special education school for children with disabilities and to a blind service dogs school in Newark, NJ. 

Community Development and Leadership 

Bernardino Coutinho became deeply involved with the Newark city community during 1979 when he presided for two years to a century year old institution that provides educational, cultural and sports activities to the huge Portuguese-American community, the Portuguese Sports Club  of Newark, NJ, then with a school with over 800 students and more than a dozen soccer teams. His interest in developing community sports led him to preside to an amateur soccer league, which competed state-wide, from 1981 to 1989, the Luso International Sports Association (LISA) of Newark, NJ. This league with forty teams was considered the best of the State of New Jersey. It was his compassion for youth that led him, since 1987, to be the chief patron of his own youth soccer program, the Ironbound Strikers Soccer Club, in Newark, NJ. This league of teams succeeded in U.S. national championships providing most needed University scholarships to hundreds of team players. From 1990 to 1994 he presided to the General Assembly of the Portuguese Sports Club of Newark. 

After his presidency he was a co-founder and Vice-President of the Ironbound Business Association in Newark, NJ and founder and President of the Portuguese American Federation also in Newark, NJ. 

It was during 1980 that Bernardino Coutinho was the Editor of a Portuguese language cultural magazine here in Newark, NJ, and led for the second time the celebrations of Portuguese heritage culture and language with the Portugal Day’s annual Festival in the city of Newark, NJ, now under his own solemn leadership. 

From 1985 to 1990 he was the Portuguese Community’s Representative at the PSE&G Corporation, and from 1982 to 1992 he was a Member of the Board of Trustees of the prestigious Newark city University, The Essex County College, Newark, NJ. 

Since 1994 he is a Member of the Republican Presidential Task Force of the United States of America. 

Portugal Day’s Festival and the Portuguese Heritage Month

It is believed that three hundred million people in the World speak the Portuguese language, and are somehow related to a thousand year old very small nation, Portugal, now diluted in the wide scale multi-linguistic babel, the European Union. Since the early 1500’s the Portuguese have dispersed throughout the World discovering new solid ground. It is estimated that only 9 million remain in their original homeland. Ancestral traditions, a culture and a language have been migrated to all parts of the World. 

This world-wide community of Portuguese language speaking people has been celebrating its common origin, traditions, heritage, history and language. 

During the last twenty six years, and since 1979, Bernardino Coutinho has been the chief executive and major force, the community leader behind the celebrations of ancient Portuguese History, Language and Culture in the City of Newark, NJ, that are now known world-wide as the Newark’s city Portugal Day’s Festival and Portuguese Heritage Month Celebrations. 

It was during 1994 that Bernardino Coutinho presented the City Council of Newark with a proposal to rename Ferry Street of the Ironbound District, to Portugal Avenue which was approved by overall unanimity. Ever since then this honorary name symbolically translates the overwhelming presence of the Portuguese Community not only in the City of Newark but all over the United States and in the World. 

Today, Americans of Portuguese origin from all over the United States, seek Newark, New Jersey, in the month of June to be part of an extensive cultural program of celebrations that culminates with a one million people festival, parade and honorary awards ceremony on Portugal Avenue, at the Ironbound District. 

The Portugal Day’s Festival and the Portuguese Heritage Month of Newark is now broadcasted world-wide to every local Portuguese community all over the World, inviting into celebration the three hundred million Portuguese speaking people.

Today, fifty cities named Newark from all states of the United States come to the City of Newark in New Jersey, to celebrate their own city Newark, together with the celebrations of the city of Newark, New Jersey, in the month of June. 

Today, the Mayor of the City of Newark, the Essex County Executive, the Senate of the State of New Jersey, and the United States President, address Bernardino Coutinho in the month of June, renewing Proclamations of commendation, best wishes and congratulations to these Heritage celebrations, thereby instating these celebrations with the utmost dignity and solemnity. 

The Bernardino Coutinho Foundation 

A Pledge to Community Service

The Foundation was incorporated in late 1991 under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, i.e., as a nonprofit organization, to channel and articulate all of Mr. Coutinho’s Family enterprise in charitable community development. 

The Foundation encompasses an assortment of areas of charitable community development, such as a) Homelessness, Hunger and Special Education; b) Youth, Sports and Higher Education Grants; c) Immigration and Naturalization; d) Heritage, Culture and Recreation; e) Continuing Education; and f) Scientific Research. The Foundation articulates these vectors of local community development into goals of humanitarian nature and personal development.

Homelessness, Hunger and Special Education 

The Foundation has consistently and judicially provided substantial financial and logistical support to several Charity institutions in the City of Newark, NJ, that assist the poor, the homeless, the sick and the learning and vision impaired. This includes the provisioning of several components of seven hundred daily meals in Charity institutions in the city of Newark and the supply of all Bakery products to any charitable fundraising event in the city of Newark; the monetary support needed to a special education school for the learning impaired and to a service dog training school for the vision impaired. 

Youth, Sports and University Grants 

Since 1994 the Foundation has been coaching young athletes and managing a soccer league of teams which has achieved hundreds of University Grants for its best team players, providing them access to free higher education studies in the most prestigious U.S. Universities. 

Immigration and Naturalization 

The Foundation has provided assistance to approximately four hundred immigrant families helping them with legalization, job and naturalization issues, which includes providing judicial assistance with immigration attorneys. 

Heritage, Culture and Recreation 

Since 1991 the Foundation has been organizing the events of the Portugal Day’s Festival and the Portuguese Heritage Month celebrations in Newark, NJ. This includes the Portuguese Folklore Dance Festival, the Portuguese Song Festival, the Portugal Day’s Festival, the Portugal Day’s Multi-Ethnic Parade, Portugal Day’s Awards Ceremony and other Portuguese Heritage Month celebrations. The latter include Classic Music Concerts at NJPAC, Sports events such as Running Races and Soccer Championships, Artistic Events such as Photography, Painting and Ceramics public displays, Gastronomical Events such as Wine Tasting, Religious Events such as the Annual Portuguese Catholic Mass at the Newark Basilica, Public Recreation Events such as the Amusement Park at Peter Francisco Park, Newark, NJ and the Fireworks at Riverbank Park, Newark, NJ and finally The Friendship Celebration Dinner, an annual tribute ceremony to distinguished personalities. With these efforts the Foundation interfaces with most of the local American Portuguese community recreation centers and other like institutions. 

Literacy and Continuing Education 

Focused on individual learning needs and tutoring, the Foundation’s educational programs of study endorses courses which aim on the understanding of Language, Science, Mathematics and Technology in order to enforce higher standards of American Education in order to attain Literacy. These courses provide meaningful definitions and detailed descriptions on different levels of understanding, so as to build on specialized structured lexicons of concepts and other knowledge representations. These courses explicitly aim on developing individual thought, reasoning and learning abilities so as to build on objective abstract thought and generalization reasoning abilities. 

The Foundation is engaged in providing a wide range of literacy actions in order to assist the development of its community’s learning abilities so as to empower individuals. These include actions on English Language Literacy, on Science Literacy, on Mathematics Literacy, on Computer Science, Technology and Internet Literacy. 

The Foundation also implements a set of cultural and recreational activities that broadly range Theater for Children, Portuguese Folkloric Dancing, Choral Music, Classical Music, Gymnastics, Artistic Painting, and Martial Arts such as Tae Kwon Do. 

The Foundation leads this Literacy and Cultural educational effort in interface with the Newark Public Library, the Essex County College and the New Jersey Performance Arts Center. 

Awards and Honors 

2005 – Proclamation in Honor of Portugal’s rich heritage and special traditions, by  the United States President George W. Bush, on occasion of the Celebrations of Portuguese Heritage Month in Newark, NJ. 

2005 – Proclamation in Commendation by Mayor Sharpe James, City Hall of Newark, for Appreciation and Congratulations on the Celebrations of Portuguese Heritage Month, Newark, New Jersey.

2005 – Public Commendation by Essex County Executive Joseph DiVicenzo, The County of Essex - New Jersey, for “Putting Essex County First” in “The 2005 Essex County Portuguese Family of the Year”, on the Celebrations of Portuguese Heritage Month, Essex County, New Jersey. 

2004 - Proclamation in Commendation by Mayor Sharpe James, City Hall of Newark, for Appreciation and Congratulations on the Celebrations of Portuguese Heritage Month, Newark, New Jersey. 

2004 - Honorable Doctor in Humane Letters (Honoris Causa), by the Essex County College, Newark, NJ. 

2004 – Senate Resolution in Commendation, the Senate of the State of New Jersey, for Appreciation and Congratulations on the Celebrations of Portuguese Heritage Month, Trenton, New Jersey. 

2004 – Accolade and Acknowledgment, by “The Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States”, Washington, DC. 

2004 – Certificate of Gratitude, by the Portuguese Sports Club of Newark, NJ. 

2004 – Plaque of Recognition by the Portuguese Lions Club of Newark, NJ. 

2004 – Plaque of Appreciation by the Radio Luso American, Newark, New Jersey. 

2003 – Plaque of Recognition from the Pacheco’s Family, Newark, New Jersey. 

2002 – Certificate of Membership, Platinum Member Status, Executive Committee of the George Bush Republican Presidential Task Force. 

2002 – Certificate for Outstanding Service to the Community, by the Commanding Officer Cap. Jon M. Shane, East District Station, Newark Department of Police. 

2002 – Certificate of Appreciation by the Ironbound Crusaders Soccer Club of Newark, NJ. 

2001 – Certificate of Recognition by the Continental Portuguese Union of the United States, state branches of New Jersey and Pennsylvania for Outstanding Service to the Community. 

2001 – Plaque of Recognition by the Humanitarian League “Ditos da Murtosa”. 

2001 – Plaque of Recognition, by the Ironbound Strikers of Newark, NJ. 

2001 – Plaque of Recognition, by the “Os Serranos” Cultural Center, Newark, NJ.

2001 – Plaque of Appreciation, by the Portuguese Navy Sailors’ Association. 

2001 – Honorary Membership, by the Portuguese Army Commando Association, for Team Spirit, Devotion, Sacrifice and Patriotism. 

2001 – Plaque of Appreciation, by the Our Lady of Fatima Church Band, Newark, NJ. 

2001 – Plaque of Appreciation, by the Kearny Portuguese Cultural Association. 

1998 – Knight of the Catholic Order of Saint Eugene, admitted for Significant Humanitarian Service in care of the Portuguese Community of New Jersey. 

1996 – Knight of the Catholic Order of Saint Stanislaus, admitted for Significant Humanitarian Service in care of the Portuguese Community of New Jersey. 

1995 – The new Sports and Recreation Center in his hometown, Marco de Canaveses, Portugal, is named after Mr. Bernardino Coutinho. 

1994 – Medal of Merit, Portuguese International Medical Assistance Foundation. 

1992 – Senate Resolution in Commendation for Outstanding Service to the Community and the prestige for the State of New Jersey for being awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, by The Senate of the State of New Jersey, Trenton, NJ. 

1992 - Proclamation in Commendation for Outstanding Service to the Community and the prestige for the City of Newark for being awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, by Mayor Sharpe James, City Hall of Newark, NJ. 

1992 – Medal of Honor from the City of Oliveira de Azemeis, for caring for its immigrants in the United States. 

1992 – Medal of Honor by the City Hall of Marco de Canaveses, Portugal, for Community Service and in Honor for the prestige to the City for receiving the US Congress sanctioned Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

1992 – Lifetime Honorary Membership, by the Marco de Canaveses Soccer Sport Club. 

1992 – The Ellis Island Medal of Honor sanctioned by the United States Congress and listed in the Congressional Record, for Outstanding Contribution to America. 

1991 - Honorary Membership, by the Marco de Canaveses Soccer Sport Club. 

1991 – Medal of Honor and Honorary Member, by the Ironbound Strikers Soccer Club, Newark, NJ. 

1991 – Senate Resolution in Commendation for Outstanding Service to the Community, by the Senate of the State of New Jersey, Trenton, NJ. 

1990 – Newark Citizen of the Month, Proclamation by Mayor Sharpe James, City Hall of Newark, NJ. 

1990 – Honorary Membership, by the “Os Serranos” Cultural Center, Newark, NJ. 

1990 – Honorary Membership, by the Portuguese Army Commando Association in the USA, for Team Spirit, Devotion, Sacrifice and Patriotism. 

1989 – Plaque of Recognition for Outstanding Service by L.I.S.A. - Under 23 All Stars Soccer League – State Champions, Newark, NJ.

1988 – Plaque of Appreciation, by the Newark Fire Department, Newark, NJ. 

1988 – Plaque of Recognition, by the Ironbound Strikers Soccer Club, for Outstanding Service to the Community, Newark, NJ. 

1988 – Plaque of Recognition, by the James Parrilo Civic Association, for Outstanding Service to the Community, Newark, NJ. 

1987 – Plaque of Recognition, by the Ironbound Boys and Girls Club, for Outstanding Service to the Community, Newark, NJ. 

1986 – Certificate of Recognition, by the American ORT Federation, New York, NY. 

1986 – Trophy, by the Kenneth A. Gibson Civic Association, for Outstanding Service to the Community, Newark, NJ. 

1986 – Certificate of Merit, Executive Committee of the Ronald Reagan Republican Presidential Task Force. 

1985 – Certificate of Fraternity, by the Committee of Civil Rights, City of Newark, NJ. 

1985 – Certificate of Merit, by American Airways Inc., for participation in “Campaign for Public Health and Safety”. 

1985 – Certificate of Honor, by the Portuguese Army Commando Association in the USA, Newark, NJ. 

1985 – Plaque of Appreciation, by the Saint Joao de Areias Association. 

1985 – Certificate of Appreciation, by the Salvation Army Ironbound Boys and Girls Soccer Club. 

1985 – Plaque of Admiration, by the Elizabeth Portuguese Lions Club, Elizabeth, NJ. 

1984 – Plaque in “Recognition of Outstanding Service to the Community”,, by the United Nations Association of the US, Newark, NJ. 

1984 – Distinguished Illustrious Member, by the Portuguese Sports Club, Newark, NJ. 

1984 – Plaque of Admiration, by the Elizabeth Portuguese Lions Club, Elizabeth, NJ. 

1983 – Honorary Membership Award, by the Portuguese Instructive Club, Elizabeth, NJ. 

1983 – Certificate of Admiration, by the Lions Foundation, Newark, NJ. 

1983 – Certificate of Admiration, by the Portuguese Continental Credit Union “Nova Lusitania Branch”, Newark, NJ. 

1983 – Plaque for “Community Leader Recognition Award”, by the Kearny Portuguese Sports Club, Kearny, NJ.

1983 – Plaque in “Recognition of Outstanding Service to the Community”, by the United Nations Association of the US, Newark, NJ. 

1983 – Plaque in “Recognition of Outstanding Service to the Community”, Department of Park and Recreations, City of Newark, Newark. 

1982 – Certificate of Admiration for Excellent Participation in the Community, City of Newark - Citizens Advisory Board, Newark, NJ. 

1982 – Plaque in “Recognition of Outstanding Service to the Community”, by the United Nations Association of the US, Newark, NJ. 

1982 – Certificate of Merit by the Portuguese Army Commando Association, Newark, NJ. 

1981 – High Official of the Order Infante D. Henrique, by the President of the Republic of Portugal. 

1981 – Honorary Member of the Rutgers University Friends of the Library Honorary Committee. 

1981 – Plaque in “Recognition of Outstanding Service to the Community”, by the Portuguese Soccer Club of Perth Amboy, Newark, NJ.

1980 – Plaque of “Benefactor Member”, by the Sport Newark and Benfica, Newark, NJ. 

1980 – Certificate of “Benefactor Member”, by the Portuguese Sport Club, Newark, NJ. 

1980 – Plaque of “Appreciation for Assisting Female Staff”, by the Portuguese Cultural Club, Elizabeth, NJ. 

1980 – Certificate of “Distinction and Admiration”, by the Ironbound Optimist Club, Newark, NJ. 

1980 – City of Cooperation Medal, for Outstanding Service to the City of Newark, by the City of Newark, Newark, NJ. 

1979 – Certificate of Participation, by the Mayor Kenneth A. Gibson Civic Association. 

1979 – Plaque of Admiration, by the Saint John de Areias Friends Association, Newark, NJ. 

1976 – Certificate of Honor, by the Peter Francisco Monument Committee, Newark, NJ. 

1976 – Certificate of Admiration, by the City of Newark Advisory Board, Newark, NJ.

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