Community YMCA and YMCA of Western Monmouth County to merge

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The Community YMCA and YMCA of Western Monmouth County have announced that effective Sept. 1 they will join together as one YMCA association to serve communities throughout greater Monmouth County.

The YMCAs will serve more than 36,000 members and participants, employ more than 1,200 people and engage approximately 650 volunteers with an annual operating budget of $25 million. The new association will be the second largest YMCA in New Jersey, according to YMCA officials.

The decision to merge is the result of nearly one year of analysis and planning. A task force of eight board members who represent both YMCAs recommended the merger. The merger was unanimously approved by both boards last week, according to officials.

The members of the task force are Russ Azzarello, John Badenhop, Stacey DeAlmeida, Tim Hogan, Jennifer Lakefield, Craig McGraw, Ted Nappi and Janet Phillips.

Since Jan. 2019, the two YMCAs have operated under a management services agreement in which The Community YMCA provided leadership to the YMCA of Western Monmouth County.

Laurie Goganzer has been serving as president and CEO of both associations, while Jennifer Dunn has been serving as chief operating officer. The agreement will continue until the merger takes effect, according to officials.

“This union creates an exciting opportunity to serve more individuals and families through a shared mission focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility,” Goganzer said. “I am truly grateful to our board members, task force and board Chairpersons Stacey DeAlmeida and Jennifer Lakefield for their commitment to the Y mission to make a deeper in the communities we serve.”

Combined, the association will have 11 facilities throughout the county.

The health and wellness branches will be located in Freehold, Old Bridge and Red Bank; the outdoor day camps will be in Millstone and Wall; a community center will be in Freehold; counseling and social services centers will be in Eatontown, Matawan and the Leonardo section of Middletown; a child care center will be in Matawan; and administrative offices will be in Shrewsbury.

Additionally, both YMCAs provide before and after school care services in 40 schools in Monmouth County. The Community YMCA provides therapeutic counseling to children in 53 schools in eastern Monmouth County and parts of Ocean County, according to officials.

“Coming together will enable both YMCAs to benefit from shared resources and enhance our ability to respond to vital needs in our communities, including affordable child care, suicide prevention and mental and behavioral health care,” said Lakefield, who will become chair of the new board and chief volunteer officer of the unified Y.

DeAlmeida, who is the incoming first vice president of the new board of directors, said since 2000, a growing number of YMCAs across the country have successfully merged and achieved greater community impact and sustainability, according to officials.

“This is an important milestone for The Community YMCA and YMCA of Western Monmouth County. We believe we will only be stronger together,” she said.

The two YMCAs have a history of collaboration, including once jointly owning and operating YMCA Camp Zehnder, sharing marketing initiatives, and hosting an annual Dr. Martin Luther King event for 31 years.

Dunn, who has been overseeing operations at both YMCAs, said “our teams are excited about moving forward as one Y and are already working together to ensure a smooth transition for our members and program participants.”

For more information about The Community YMCA, visit TheCommunityYMCA.org. For more information about the YMCA Western Monmouth County, visit www.ymcanj.org.