Shrewsbury, NJ (September 12, 2018) – The Community YMCA will honor Christopher D. Maher, Chairman and CEO of OceanFirst Bank, and community partner New Jersey Natural Gas at their “A Night of Inspiration Gala” on Friday, Sept. 28, 6-10 p.m., at the Ocean Place Resort & Spa in Long Branch.

Maher will be presented with the Distinguished Citizen Service Award for his outstanding community service, while New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) will receive the Community Partner Award for its long-time support of the Y. Proceeds from the gala will support kids, teens and families in need of Y essential services such as affordable childcare, summer camp, therapeutic counseling, swim lessons and wellness programs.

“We are pleased to honor Christopher Maher of OceanFirst Bank and New Jersey Natural Gas for their commitment to strengthening our community,” said Laurie Goganzer, President and CEO of The Community YMCA. “As an organization that values social responsibility, the Y is truly grateful for leaders such as Mr. Maher and partners like New Jersey Natural Gas that help us continue to make a positive impact in the community.”

Maher is a dedicated volunteer in the nonprofit community, serving on the Board of Trustees of Monmouth University, and as a Director of Hackensack Meridian Health Hospitals and Hackensack Meridian Residential Care. Maher serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Helen Keller Services, a national non-profit agency serving people with hearing and visual disabilities, where he has been involved since 1998.

Maher joined OceanFirst in March 2013 as President and Chief Operating Officer and became CEO January 1, 2015 and Chairman of the Board January 1, 2017. Maher is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of OceanFirst Foundation, which has provided over $36 million to help strengthen more than 600 nonprofits in central and southern New Jersey, including The Community YMCA and other Ys.

Also active within the banking industry, Maher serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council (CDIAC) and serves as Vice President of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors CDIAC. He is also a member of the Board of the New Jersey Bankers Association.

Maher said, “It is a great honor to receive the Distinguished Citizen Service Award from The Community YMCA.  I am humbled to be recognized in the company of the incredible recipients who have received this award previously. I accept this award on behalf of the entire OceanFirst family including our more than 1,000 employees and the boards of directors of both OceanFirst Bank and OceanFirst Foundation. Thank you to The Community YMCA and all of the Ys for the incredible services they provide to our neighbors throughout the area.”

New Jersey Natural Gas has been a long-standing partner in helping The Community YMCA give vulnerable children and families in Monmouth County opportunities to reach their potential through their support of the Y’s Annual Campaign and many special events. NJNG also provided generous support to the Camp Zehnder Capital Campaign, which made it possible for the Y to offer needed year-round swim lessons and aquatics programs to families in southern Monmouth County.

“New Jersey Natural Gas is a model of what it means to be a socially responsible company,” Goganzer said. “Just this past June, a team of 200 volunteers from NJNG worked side-by-side with Y employees at Camp Zehnder to help get the camp ready for hundreds of local children to enjoy a safe outdoor camp experience this summer.”

In addition to its support of organizations like The Community YMCA, each year the women and men of NJNG contribute over 5,000 hours of volunteer service and help support the important work of more than 1,800 nonprofit and community organizations throughout its service territory, which includes Monmouth, Ocean and part of Morris, Middlesex and Burlington counties.

“To be recognized with the Community Partner Award is an honor for our company and reflects the commitment and efforts of our entire team,” said Steve Westhoven, Chief Operating Officer of New Jersey Natural Gas. “We believe everyone – and every organization – shares the responsibility for building a better tomorrow, and we are proud to join with the Community Y in making a lasting difference in our communities and the lives of others.”

The benefit will feature music by The Infernos Band, which has performed for President Barack Obama, New Jersey governors and for audiences across New Jersey and around the world. The evening will include cocktails, dinner, dancing, gift auctions and inspiring stories about the Y’s impact.

Proceeds from the gala will support the Y’s financial assistance program, which provides scholarships to vulnerable children and families in need of Y programs, as well as community health and wellness initiatives, such as childhood obesity prevention, diabetes prevention and water safety programs.

Individual tickets for the event are $250. Tickets, sponsorships and digital ads can be purchased online. For more information, contact Stacy Vasta at 732.671.5505, ext. 120 or giving@cymca.org.

About The Community YMCA
The Y is a leading nonprofit charity that strengthens communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Community YMCA serves more than 20,000 residents in greater Monmouth County, NJ through programs such as: preschool, before and after school care, summer day camp, teen leadership, arts enrichment, health and wellness and personal and family counseling. In 2017, the Y provided $871,250 in financial assistance and program subsidies to strengthen 1,746 children and families in Monmouth County. For more information, visit TheCommunityYMCA.org.