The Sussex County YMCA has received an unprecedented gift of $1 million that will increase wellness and fitness opportunities for members and other Sussex County residents long into the future.

Sixty percent of the Hudson Farm gift will go toward the $3.8 million expansion and renovation of the YMCA’s Wits End Road facility, while $400,000 has been earmarked to purchase 31 acres — increasing the Y’s property fourfold — from the Community Foundation of New Jersey.

Hudson Farm “is committed to the betterment of youth and families in Sussex County, and we are honored it has chosen to invest in the YMCA to achieve that end,” said Richard K. Gorab, president and CEO of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. The Sussex County YMCA is one of six branches of the Metro YMCA.

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“This extraordinary donation shows overwhelming confidence in what the YMCA is doing to take Sussex County to the next level of health and wellness,” Sussex County YMCA Executive Director Jennifer Gardner said.

The expansion is critical because the Y is beyond capacity with more than 9,000 members. It features construction of a full-size high school gymnasium, additional wellness space, renovated program space and a reimagined welcome area and lobby. The expansion will also include a cycle room for spin classes, a climbing structure in the lobby, and renovations to locker rooms and bathrooms.

Once completed in early 2018, the Y will be able to run sports leagues and expand community wellness programs that address some of the county’s pressing concerns: obesity, diabetes, cancer and the rise of abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal and prescription drugs.

“The generous donation being made by Hudson Farm is an extraordinary display of their commitment to the local community,” said Ronald Schwarz, Chief Operating Officer of Lakeland Bank, which recently donated $100,000 to the YMCA expansion. “As Chairman of the Metro Y’s Board of Directors, I am personally grateful for their support to help fund the expansion and growth of the Sussex County Y, and very proud to work with an organization that is also dedicated to making the places where we live, work and play vibrant, healthy and economically stable.”

Gorab noted that “opportunities remain for additional investment in this and future initiatives.”

The 31 acres will allow the Y to grow. “The land provides us a blank canvas on which we can plan a vision for greater health opportunities for Sussex County residents,” said Lisa Pompey Smith, Chair of the Sussex County YMCA’s Board of Managers.

The YMCA will develop the fields, woods and marshlands in an environmentally friendly way.  One of the first projects will be to create walking paths and trails to be open to the public. “Hudson Farm entrusts us to do the right thing, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” 

Gorab said.

The gift “will create new opportunities for community collaboration and investment,” Gardner said. 

Sussex County Chamber of Commerce President Tammie Horsfield noted “the YMCA has an impressive record of partnering with private entities, local government and other nonprofits to open opportunities for Sussex County residents to enjoy healthy pursuits.” For example, the Y worked with the Sussex County Rails & Trails Committee and Hardyston Township to create walking paths and fitness trails.

Mark Avondoglio, co-chair of the Room to Grow Capital Campaign and Perona Farms owner applauded Hudson Farm’s generosity and encouraged other private entities to support the project.

“I see this as a perfect pairing of a visionary philanthropic organization and a cause-driven nonprofit with a proven track record coming together to make a transformative impact on the health of our community,” Avondoglio said.

To donate, contact Metro YMCA Chief Development Officer Lisa Kelly at lkelly@metroymcas.org or 973-758-9622, or visit the Sussex County YMCA for a tour. 

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ABOUT THE Y

Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges is the largest association of YMCAs in New Jersey, serving more than 55,000 individuals, including 30,000 members, and providing nearly $1.3 million in direct financial assistance. Its six YMCAs, located in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne, are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living, and fostering a sense of social responsibility. They offer an array of programs that build spirit, mind and body for people of all ages and all circumstances.