SHORT HILLS, NJ - Summit native Adam Sank, comedienne Karith Foster and funnyman Joe Larson entertained 350 guests on Friday night to show support for the Summit Area YMCA at its third annual benefit fundraiser, Laugh Out Loud (LOL): An Evening of Comic Relief, held at the Hilton Short Hills.
The Summit Area YMCA serves families across Summit, Springfield, Millburn, Short Hills, Berkeley Heights, New Providence, Gillette and Stirling, and strives to strengthen its communities through the breadth of the education and sports programs it offers.
Nearly one year in planning, Friday's comedy benefit raised $160,000 from sponsorships, donations, ticket sales, and auction purchases. The funds will be used to support the Summit YMCA’s youth programs, keeping the Y on track to surpass the $1.7 million in financial assistance and program subsidies it offered during 2013.
Proceeds from Friday's event, as well as those from other fundraising efforts, ensure that every child who wishes to participate in the Y’s programs is able, regardless of the ability to pay.
The sold-out event took place in the hotel’s newly refurbished ballroom and featured comedy headliner and emcee Sank as well as Foster and Larson.
“We are thrilled to have the turnout we have tonight,” Pete Pardo, chairman of the event, said. "It's a testament to the generosity of our community and the things we are trying to do here at the Y to promote health and wellness.”
Assisting Sank emcee the auction portion of the evening was Sank’s sister and event chair, Laura Gump, who complemented Sank’s hilarious parody of his ailing grandmother and mockery of chichi Summit block parties with her dry sense of humor, only adding to guests’ enjoyment and the evening’s record-breaking success.
Foster and Larson brought further levity to the evening with tales of marital disputes over what to name the baby and childrearing while sleep-deprived as they identified with the many parents in attendance whose entire families enjoy the Y’s varied programs and state-of-the art facilities year-round.
“We are very excited to have everyone from the community here,” Gump said.
Sank literally had guests “laughing out loud” as he instructed bidders to yell, “Ebola,” as well as other inflammatory phrases for added comedic effect instead of politely raising their bidding cards Summit-style.
Favorite live auction items included the In-Home Wine Tasting For Ten package and Trip For Two To The Espy Awards package, both of which commanded the highest donations of the night, totaling more than $7500 combined.
Other live auction selections included the Culinary Dream Experience, New York Giants Tailgate For Four, and Life Is A Highway packages.
Live auction donors included but were not limited to Bed, Bath and Beyond, Dunkin Donuts, Natale’s Bakery, Bill’s Army and Navy, Summit Car Wash, Tito’s Burritos, Verizon Wireless of Summit and Trader Joe’s of Millburn.
Guests were further encouraged to hold their bidding cards high in support of military, childcare and camp scholarships, as well as for the 7th Grade Initiative Scholarships promoting healthy living, and the Darkness to Light Scholarships supporting the protection of children against sexual abuse.
Event sponsors included Merck, Investors Bank, Sysco, Edison Properties, Andrews Technology, eCard Transactions, Gallagher Bollinger, Batavia Café, Sum It Up Lacrosse, and Summit Health and Body Works.
Founded in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA holds as its central tenets youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Excitement for the furtherance of the Y’s objectives radiated from enthusiastic supporters throughout the evening.
The Summit Area YMCA has three branches. Summit YMCA is located at 67 Maple Street, Summit, Berkeley Heights YMCA at 550 Springfield Avenue, Berkeley Heights and The Learning Circle YMCA at 95 Morris Avenue, Summit. For further information, visit them at http://www.thesay.org.