Summit Area YMCA Celebrates a Night of Community and Raises Over $160,000 for SAY Programs

On Friday, November 2nd, over 300 attendees gathered at the Hilton Short Hills for the Summit Area YMCA’s 1886 Society Dinner and annual Laugh Out Loud Charity Auction and Comedy Night (LOL) fundraiser. Attendees not only enjoyed a night of laughter and drinks, but more importantly supported programs at the Summit Area YMCA. From special needs programs to sponsoring fitness memberships for military families, participants in the event made a meaningful impact with every raised paddle.

Laughing and Giving: Summit Area YMCA supporters (left) and Capital Campaign Chair Robert Radest (right)

The evening began with the Annual 1886 Society Dinner to honor the Y’s leadership donors. The dinner was generously supported by Investors Bank. Kevin Cummings, Chairman & CEO of Investors, shared, “… 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.”

Summit Area YMCA Board Member Thomas Mulligan, Carolyn Mulligan, President & CEO Paul Kieltyka with Chairman & CEO of Investors Bank Kevin Cummings

Paul Kieltyka, President & CEO of the Summit Area YMCA thanked Investors Bank and the other attendees for their investment in the Y and the community over the past year. He shared 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. 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.

SAY Capital Campaign Chair Robert Radest & Mayor Nora Radest with long-time Y Supporters Brett & Judy Haire

“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. 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.”

Special Guests Michael and Samantha Sandford

The dinner wrapped up just in time for LOL to begin. Guests enjoyed laughter and libations while bidding on silent auction items before heading into the ballroom for the live auction and comedy show. Adam Sank took the stage for the last time as the event’s featured headliner and emcee. Kieltyka thanked Adam and Event Chair Laura Gump for supporting the event for over eight years, raising over $1 million dollars for the Y in the process. 


Paul Kieltyka thanks LOL Event Host and Comedian Adam Sank & Event Chair Laura Gump

Sank had fun with the crowd, teasing Mayor Nora Radest who was in attendance 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.


The event raised over $160,000 from corporate sponsorships, donations, ticket sales and auction purchases. The funds raised will support a number of programs at the Summit Area YMCA including special needs programs, college and career mentoring for high school students, childcare financial assistance and memberships for military families. The Summit Area YMCA is grateful to its platinum sponsor Capital Group as well as the many other businesses and individuals who so generously supported this year’s event.

VIEW 2018 LOL PHOTO ALBUM  VIEW 2018 Annual 1886 Society Dinner

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.

To donate to the Summit Area YMCA, please visit


About the Summit Area YMCA
The Summit Area YMCA is one of the area’s leading 501(c)3 charitable organizations. Founded in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA has a history steeped in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income and background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Each year, we serve more than 10,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the communities of Berkeley Heights, New Providence, Millburn, Springfield, Short Hills, Summit, Gillette, and Stirling. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those with demonstrated need.