SUMMIT, NJ – On Saturday, September 18, the Summit Area YMCA hosted its annual Laugh Out Loud (LOL) Charity Auction & Comedy Night, a fundraising event to not only help fund the Y’s financial assistance program and its many important community programs, but to sustain the Y. With safety in mind, the Summit Area YMCA chose to run the event as a virtual and live event to in order to make it accessible for all community members who wished to be part of this wonderful night.
This year’s benefit featured Patrick Tully, Auctioneer and Comedian in addition to comedians Joanne Filan and John Poveromo. The night started off with a wonderful music performance by Roses In Stereo, a Summit-based band, while guests arrived at the transformed, outdoor oasis at the brand-new Berkeley Heights YMCA.
Summit Area YMCA's President and CEO, Paul Kieltyka, began the evening with his opening remarks, "Every year, we come together for this event. Last year, you may remember we were virtual, but this year, we are extra thrilled to have everyone back here." Kieltyka continues, "Today is a really interesting anniversary. It's been 18 months to the day that we closed our doors. We are not here to lament on the past 18 months, but to celebrate the potential of what we can do with our mission and impact in the next 18 months and beyond."
Additionally, Maria Brugg, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and LOL Event Chair, explained, "This LOL event was fueled by a strong desire to gather together with friends and family to laugh, to enjoy one another's company, and to celebrate all of the many things we have accomplished at the Y each year. Already in 2021, the Summit Area YMCA provided over $407,000 in direct and indirect financial assistance to those who are unable to afford memberships, childcare, or summer camp."
On September 7, the Silent Auction opened to the public and allowed for more community participation to help the Y, while generous sponsorships from community businesses and partners also contributed to the Y’s fundraising efforts. Over the course of the last two weeks including the Silent Auction and Live Auction on September 18, the Summit Area YMCA raised more than $340,000, a record year that has surpassed all previous fundraising efforts for the Laugh Out Loud event.
Highlighted live auction items included a Football Training Clinic with Eli Manning, a customized In-Home Personal Styling Session by No. 18 Boutique, a Barbacoa Fiesta catered by BarBacoa in downtown Summit, and a VIP NYC Spa package to Rescue Spa. The Silent Auction items included various golfing packages to some of the world's most prestigious and legendary golf clubs and courses including the Sebonack Golf Club, Friar's Head Golf Club, Liberty National Golf Course, and Baltusrol Golf Club! Additionally, bidders won party packages for their children including a private cooking class, a basketball birthday bash with Summit Area YMCA's Coach Danny, and a hotdog and ice cream party with Summit's own Mr. Chi's Hotdog stand and Scream Truck.
Additionally, the Summit Area YMCA offered opportunities for guests to donate to Y scholarships that included Childcare and After School Care, Achievers Teen College and Career preparation, and the Family Packs Program.
As the night continued, Robert Radest, a Y, Board of Trustees, and LOL Committee member, along with his wife and Mayor of Summit, Nora Radest, charged the community with a pledge challenge during the event and donated $10,000 while also pledging to donate $500 for each additional $5,000 donation made. Additionally, Robert Jeffries, another Y and Board of Trustees member, along with his wife Colleen, donated $7,500 while pledging to donate $750 for each additional $7,500 donation made. These pledge challenges garnered the generous support of several local families, significantly boosting the night’s fundraising efforts.
Kaitlin Casey, VP of Advancement, exclaimed, “Saturday night was a huge testament to the incredible generosity of our community. We were especially grateful to everyone who contributed to this record-breaking fundraising event because we are at a time when so many of our neighbors are facing financial hardships due to the pandemic. Our donors empower us to respond to that need with much-needed financial assistance and free programming. Our donors are the reason that, for the past 135 years, our doors have been open to all, and they are the reason that our doors will remain open to all now and in the future.”
The Summit Area YMCA is especially grateful for the generosity of our corporate sponsors and the dedication of the LOL Event Committee, Y Staff, and Volunteers.
As a leading, community cause-driven organization, the Summit Area YMCA is focused on nurturing the potential of youth, promoting healthy living, and inspiring social responsibility. The Laugh Out Loud event raises funds that contribute to the Y’s ability to support the community by providing childcare and camp scholarships to working families in need, food to our neighbors who would otherwise go hungry, college and career preparation to local high school students, and more!
The Summit Area YMCA sends a big thank you to the Laugh Out Loud sponsors for their support, especially our Platinum Sponsor, Capital Group. Much thanks to sponsors Bristol-Myers Squibb, Peapack Private Wealth Management, Summit Dental Partners, USA Architects, Vericon Construction, William Gross Charitable Foundation, Cherished Creations, Deloitte, Douglas Real Estate Consulting LLC, McKinsey & Company, Arthur J. Gallagher, ConnectOne Bank, Fiorino, HBK, Investors Bank, JCT Solutions, Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C., Lois Schneider Realtor, and Smythe Volvo.
To learn more about the Summit Area YMCA, visit www.thesay.org/about-us. Explore the Summit Area YMCA’s current programs at www.thesay.org/Fall-2021. If you would like to be part of our community and join the Y, visit www.thesay.org/join. To make a tax deductible donation to support the Y’s cause of strengthening the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, please visit www.thesay.org/give.
In 1886, we were founded as the Young Men's Christian Association, but today, we are The Y. An association that values, and is made stronger by, its diverse people. We stand for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility — For a better us. We are committed to creating equal opportunity for all regardless of gender, age, disability, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive culture in which our four core values — responsibility, honesty, caring and respect — are integral to everyday operations.
Each year, as one of the area’s leading 501(c)3 charitable organizations, the Summit Area YMCA serves more than 15,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the New Jersey communities of Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, Stirling and Summit. Our history is rooted in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those in need.