SUMMIT, NJ - Talk about funny money.
Nearly 400 friends and neighbors in the community gathered at the Hilton Short Hills for the Sixth Annual 'Laugh Out Loud' Charity Auction and Comedy Night (LOL) fundraiser. Attendees enjoyed a night of laughter and drinks but, more importantly, raised funds that will support Summit Area YMCA programming ranging from special needs programs to sponsoring fitness memberships for military families.
The event raised more than $110,000 from corporate sponsorships, donations, ticket sales and auction purchases. The funds generated will support a number of initiatives at the Summit Area YMCA, including special needs programs, college and career mentoring for high school students, weekend meals for elementary children and their families in need during the school, and subsidized memberships for military families.
The Summit Area YMCA serves families throughout Summit, Springfield, Millburn, Short Hills, Berkeley Heights, New Providence, Gillette and Stirling, and is committed to strengthening its communities through a variety of programs including wellness and nutrition, childcare and education, youth and adult enrichment, volunteerism projects and more.
“The LOL event is a great way to support meaningful programs at the Y," said Paul Kieltyka, Summit YMCA President and CEO. "By raising your paddle, you aren’t just buying a fun gift or package for yourself—you’re also helping a family get the childcare they need because they only have one parent in the household. You can help a child with special needs feel included and welcomed in a safe space. You can help a teen get the support they need in preparing for colleges and jobs.”
Kieltyka added, “When all is said and done, when those show curtains close, we go back to reality where those very real problems exist in our communities. This night helps shine a light on those problems, and encourages people to take action.”
The sold-out event featured comedy headliner and emcee Adam Sank as well as top comedians Leah Bonnema and John Fugelsang.
“The Summit Area Y does so much good for the community,” said Sank. “My family and the entire community always come out to support this event because it's so important to raise funds for these programs.”
Assisting Sank emcee the auction portion of the evening was Sank’s sister and Event Chair, Laura Gump, who complemented Sank’s humor as they presented auction packages including tailgate packages for a New York Giants game, gingerbread house decorating party, catered lobster dinner party, and in-home private group yoga package. Sank brought further levity to the evening with his retellings of family stories, trips, and the guests’ annual favorite: the reading of his mother’s hilarious e-mails.
Bonnema and Fugelsang brought even more laughter to the evening with tales of a trip to Iraq for a comedy performance, riotous and relatable relationship stories, parenting obstacles and imitations of political figures, rendering even the most conservative guests to break into laughter.
Sank literally had guests “laughing out loud” as he requested attendee, Summit Mayor Nora Radest to “dedicate a day to Adam Sank” for doing so much for the community. “I’ve probably raised over a million dollars for the community by now,” he said, raising more laughter from the crowd.
“As with most requests,” said the Mayor, “I will certainly consider it.”
“It doesn’t even have to be anything fancy,” said Adam, “Have some Chippendales dancers carry me down Springfield Avenue, and then of course when we get to Kent Place Boulevard, we’ll have to stop because that bridge still hasn’t been finished.” A comment that raised raucous laughter from a crowd familiar with the protracted bridge replacement project.
Platinum sponsor for the evening was Capital Group, which joined many other businesses and individuals that generously supported the event.
For more information and-or to donate to the Summit Area YMCA, visit www.theSAY.org/give.