Now in its 10th year, the 1891 Gala raises funds to advance the mission of the YMCA of Montclair.
MONTCLAIR, NJ — The YMCA of Montclair is pleased to announce Montclair resident Izumi Hara as its individual honoree for the 1891 Gala fundraiser to be held at The Grove in Cedar Grove on October 14, 2022. The Gala’s corporate honoree is Rao’s Homemade.
“The 1891 Gala is a wonderful opportunity to honor those who have played an important role in strengthening our Y so we can be there for our community,” said Buddy Evans, President and CEO of the YMCA of Montclair. “I would like to thank Izumi for the support, leadership, and guidance she gave our Y, our Board, and me personally. I also want to thank Rao’s Homemade for partnering with and supporting our Y during the pandemic. Our honorees have helped our Y meet the needs of our community during crisis and positioned us to meet the needs of the future.”
This past May, Izumi Hara concluded her term as Chief Volunteer Officer at the YMCA of Montclair, where she served on the Board of Directors for ten years and led the Y through a CEO transition. Under her leadership, the Y created its strategic plan, weathered the COVID-19 pandemic, and launched the Re-Imagining Camp at the Lake Campaign.
Bringing up three daughters in Montclair, Izumi has been deeply involved in many aspects of the Y’s programming, particularly the Dolphins swim team. Izumi’s service to the community also includes serving on the board of directors of the Northern NJ Chapter of the American Red Cross and previously on the board of directors of Partners For Health.
“I have had the honor and privilege of serving with passionate, dedicated, and deeply committed volunteers and staff,” said Izumi Hara. “I look forward to seeing them bring our broad goals to improve member experience, deepen engagement with our communities and grow the reach of the YMCA of Montclair in the years to come.”
Rao’s Homemade has supported the YMCA of Montclair since the company located its headquarters just down the street from the Park Street YMCA in 2018. Rao’s Homemade has been a sponsor of the Geyer Family YMCA Playground fund, the Montclair Run, and other fundraising Y initiatives to benefit individuals, families, and seniors. During the pandemic, Rao’s Homemade donated cases and cases of sauce and pasta to those experiencing food insecurity, through the Y’s food delivery programs.
Risa Cretella, Executive Vice President, Group General Manager of Sovos Brands said, “At Sovos Brands, we believe in getting involved with and giving back to our local communities. That’s why we chose to headquarter our Rao’s Homemade office right in the heart of downtown Montclair, where we are immersed in the community. We prioritize partnering with organizations doing good work, like Toni’s Kitchen, Newark West Side High School, and the YMCA of Montclair.”
The 1891 Gala will raise funds to ensure access for all through the Y’s scholarship program. With a focus on camp, funds will also be used for the YMCA of Montclair’s 32-acre Camp at the Lake. Proceeds will be allocated to much-needed facility improvements, which will allow the Y to serve children, families, and seniors in this unique natural setting year-round.
The special guest hosts for this year’s YMCA Gala are stage and screen actress Laura Benanti Tony® Award-winner and five-time Tony® Award nominee, and award-winning journalist Tracie Strahan, a breaking news and general assignment reporter who regularly appears on Today in New York. Montclair’s own Prince Hakim returns as the evening’s DJ. The Gala is co-chaired by Kathleen Harrison and Bridget Placek.
For tickets, sponsorship opportunities, or to donate, visit montclairymca.org/1891gala/.
Established in 1891, the YMCA of Montclair welcomes all. We are a nonprofit that works to empower young people, improve health and well-being, and inspire action in and across our community. The Y offers need-based financial assistance for its programs to ensure access for all. Serving Bloomfield, Bloomingdale, Clifton, Cedar Grove, Glen Ridge, Haskell, Montclair, Verona, and West Milford. For more information, please visit montclairymca.org.