BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Somerset Hills YMCA, based in Basking Ridge, and Somerset Valley YMCA, which covers additional communities in central Somerset County, have announced that effective Jan. 1, 2015, both nonprofit organizations will formally join together to form one YMCA association.

The Somerset Hills YMCA currently serves nearly 20,000 members in the Somerset Hills communities of Basking Ridge, Bedminster, Bernardsville, Peapack-Gladstone, Far Hills and Warren Township, as well as including some members from Morris County. The Somerset Valley YMCA has more than 15,000 members, said a spokesperson for the Somerset Hills YMCA.The combined association will have five branches serving the Somerset Hills communities as well as Bridgewater, Hillsborough, Somerville, Bound Brook, Branchburg, Bridgewater, Franklin, Green Brook, Manville, Montgomery, Raritan and South Bound Brook.

The new name of the association will be the Somerset County YMCA, but each branch will maintain its current name.

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This announcement, made on Tuesday, comes after nearly a year of analysis and planning, according to information from the both organizations.

In February 2014, the two YMCAs entered into an agreement to share management resources, said a joint news release from the both YMCAs.

Based on the success of the initial partnership, the release said, the boards of both YMCAs voted to work towards a permanent unification. A task force of 12 volunteers representing both Ys then conducted a more in-depth review, according to both organizations.

After spending 10 months assessing the viability and benefits, the task force recommended moving forward to form one association. Members of the task force were Jody D’Agostini, Joseph Del Buono, Tim Foley, Jim Gibson, Jeff Hockenbury, Mark Irwin, Morgan McLachlan, Tom Moschello, Peter Olsen, Jay Perantoni, Paul Ramseur, and Andrea Thorne, the release said.

The Somerset Hills YMCA and the Somerset Valley YMCA are two of the area’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, according to the release. The release said the YMCAs serve the communities, "through our guiding principles of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility." The YMCAs are "dedicated to helping everyone grow in spirit, mind and body regardless of age, income or background. Our programs and services nurture the potential of children and teens, improve health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors," said the announcement from both organizations.

Somerset Hills' David Carcieri will be CEO of new YMCA association

Somerset Hills' David M. Carcieri will serve as chief executive officer of the new association. “We are thrilled to be able to move forward as one, united association,” Carcieri said in the release. “I am grateful to our board chairs, Jody D’Agostini and Andrea Thorne, for their belief in and passion for the Y’s cause. They whole heartedly embrace the Y’s mission and understand that, together, we have an opportunity to make an even greater impact on the communities we serve.”

Since 2000, an increasing number of YMCAs across the country have seen great success through mergers as a proven and effective model that contributes to the sustainability of YMCAs.

Jody D'Agostini, board chair for the Somerset Hills YMCA, said, “We believe that there is abundant potential for operating as one association. The need in the community for YMCA services has never been greater."

She added, “The goal of joining together as one association is to better meet community needs and serve individuals and families through a shared mission focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.”

“This is an incredible opportunity to strengthen the Y and advance our cause of strengthening community,” said Andrea Thorne, Board Chair of the Somerset Valley YMCA. “By combining our resources and traditions, we will be able to more effectively enhance the membership experience to our current and future members. We are grateful for the vision and leadership that David Carcieri and Karyn Lightcap have shared, as acting CEO and CFO respectively.

For more information about the Somerset Hills YMCA, call (908) 766-7898 or visit www.somersethillsymca.org.

For more information about the Somerset Valley YMCA, call (908) 722-4567 or visit www.ymcasomersetvalley.org.