A Letter to the Community
Since its founding in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA has continued to serve our community in the face of challenging local and national events, including two world wars, the Great Depression, the Spanish Flu pandemic, and the tumultuous events of the 1960s. 2020 may go down as one of the most disruptive years in our history and, again, the Summit Area YMCA stood strong as a beacon of hope to many.
In February, we opened the doors to our first new facility in over 100 years and the first new YMCA constructed in New Jersey in over 10 years. The completion of the Berkeley Heights YMCA marked the culmination of a long process to find a permanent home in the Berkeley Heights community that offered the best in safe, high quality programming and services. Countless donors, volunteers, staff, and community partners helped make this facility a reality, and we are confident that it will serve as a site of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility for generations to come.
Just six weeks after opening the doors of this new facility, the state mandated closures of all of our buildings and most of our services because of COVID-19. We knew that we needed to find innovative ways to continue providing services at a time when the community needed us more than ever. Our call to action became, “Our doors are closed, but our mission is open!” We made thousands of phone calls and sent cards to our members, especially seniors who were at serious risk of social isolation. We quadrupled our efforts to aid the hungry, addressing the significant food insecurity needs in our community by providing 300 families with weekly food boxes. We launched online classes for our preschool children to ensure that they were not in danger of falling behind academically or socially during these crucial formative years of their lives. Virtual fitness immediately became available for our members as we know that a strong physical body can offset the stress and anxiety-inducing environment of lockdowns, job loss and political uncertainty. Our youth and teens inspired us to lead discussions, join demonstrations and to simply take the opportunity to learn and listen as our country reacted to social injustice with renewed fervor and advocacy.
The true spirit and beauty of our community shined brightly toward our Y as well. We received over $1,000,000 in donations that included a record response to our first-ever virtual LOL Event and incredible COVID-related support from our foundation partners such as Summit Foundation and NJ Pandemic Relief Fund. A large number of our members donated their membership fees for months despite our facilities and programs being closed. Our local governments worked with us to ensure we could reopen our programs safely. The trust, cooperation and confidence given back to our Y only spurred us to strive harder to meet the challenging, complex needs of a community under a pandemic.
Most importantly, in 2020 we are grateful to our members. We asked you to stay with us when the pandemic arrived, and you did. While your financial commitment and support was crucial, your loyalty and concern for our staff and the Y gave us the strength and focus to soldier on. While 2020 brought with it unprecedented financial challenges for the Summit Area YMCA, we maintained strong financial discipline and have continued to work hard to ensure that we are here for our community – in good times and challenging ones. Your support and your smile (behind the mask) empowered us to get through 2020 stronger and more committed as we continue to pivot, serve, and provide for our community for many years to come!
President & CEO
Summit Area YMCA
Board of Trustees, Chair
Summit Area YMCA
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Thomas Hall, Chair
Yon Cho, Vice Chair
Katherine Bach Kalin
F. Chandler Coddington
BRANCH ADVISORY COMMITTEES
Berkeley Heights YMCA
Jennifer Van Vort
Glory DeSimmone Hoffman
The Learning Circle YMCA
Paul Kieltyka, President & CEO
Anjali McCormick, SVP & Chief Operations Officer
Kelly Rooney, Chief Financial Officer
Eileen Bennett, Human Resources & Payroll Director
Tiffany Escott, Executive Director, Berkeley Heights YMCA
Terri Clinton, Executive Director, Summit YMCA
Joyce Klimaski, Executive Director, The Learning Circle YMCA