SHORT HILLS, NJ - The Summit Area YMCA's seventh annual 'Laugh Out Loud' event drew a crowd of more than 300 and raised in excess of $160,000, funds that will support Summit Area YMCA initiatives ranging from special needs programs to sponsoring fitness memberships for military families.
Summit native Adam Sank headlined the show, which was preceded by the annual 1886 Society Dinner which honors the Y’s leadership donors.
Paul Kieltyka, President & CEO of the Summit Area YMCA thanked Investors Bank, which supported the dinner, and the other attendees for their investment in the Y and the community over the past year. He shared that the Y has secured $1.5M in gifts and pledges in support of the Summit Area YMCA Capital Campaign to support the new construction of the Berkeley Heights YMCA and Community Pool and renovation of the Summit YMCA.
“The last time our Association built a new Y was in 1916," said Kieltyka, adding, "Our Ys were not built by themselves, but built by the communities who rally behind our mission to serve.” Kieltyka thanked Capital Campaign Chair Robert Radest and the other volunteers for their support and leadership.
“When you come to the town of Summit, it’s proactive. It’s within its mission and fabric to help each other. We’re ready to help before you need help,” Kieltyka said. He then introduced Michael and Samantha Sandford who were victims of the New Year’s Eve fire in Summit.
“The morning after the fire, the call to action among Summit residents to take care of their own was immediately apparent inside the walls of the Y," said the Sandfords. "We hadn’t allowed ourselves to be vulnerable or to ask for help from anyone – but at that moment we realized that we could surrender and share our burden with the YMCA and the Summit community, not because we had to ask, but because the people of Summit wanted to – they truly cared.”
At the dinner Kevin Cummings, Chairman & CEO of Investors, noted, "There’s a sense of community I feel at this dinner tonight… making Summit something special. It fits into the philosophy of Investors Bank. Part of our DNA is to be a different bank that makes a difference.”
Taking the 'LOL' stage for the final time, Sank had fun with the crowd, teasing and thanking Mayor Nora Radest for finally opening the Morris Avenue bridge. “Three years it took to reopen the bridge also known as the 'Magic Fountain Expressway'. Babies are conceived, born and learn to walk and talk in the time it took to reopen it.”
Sank also asked Capital Campaign Chair Robert Radest to consider erecting a statue of Sank as part of the Summit YMCA capital campaign. Guests also enjoyed comedy sets from Veronica Mosey and Sergio Chicon.
Kieltyka thanked Sank and Event Chair Laura Gump for supporting the event, which has raised more than $1 million dollars for the Y since its inception. The event's platinum sponsor was Capitol Group.