Saturday, January 23, 2021

PSUC chapter of SEFA exceeded charity goal

The Plattsburgh State chapter of the State Employees Federated Appeal, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary last semester, exceeded its goal to raise $50,000 for charity.

The campaign, commonly referred to as SEFA, is a program that takes a portion of state employees’ salaries and gives it back to a human service program of their choice.

“It’s the only payroll deduction allowed by the governor,” said Carol Bleaux, a unit coordinator in Classroom & Customer Support Services and co-chair of the PSUC chapter, along with Cherice Granger, a secretary in the Center for the Study of Canada.

State employees aren’t restricted to donating within the community. Bleaux said employees can donate to any charity statewide, nationwide and even internationally. After becoming a SEFA member, they receive a booklet that contains numerous charities that they can choose from, including charities for animals, children, human and civil rights organizations.

“It’s whatever’s near and dear to your heart,” Bleaux said. “If you want it to go to the Red Cross of New York State, you can make it go statewide. There are no boundaries. It’s whoever’s allowed to participate in this.”

Granger said she believed the relationship that has developed between herself and Bleaux has translated to the organization.

“Carol and I have been the SEFA co-chairs for a while. We have a phenomenal working relationship. We both have the same belief in helping others,” she said.

Out of the $110,000 raised by SEFA across four counties, PSUC raised $50,508.86.

“Our mantra was 50,000 for 50 years,” Granger said.

Despite their success, Granger explained the difficulties the group faced while attempting to raise such a large sum of money.

“Let’s face it: the campaign’s around the holiday season,” Granger said. “The economy has been at a detrimental low. You have to come up with new ideas and avenues to get people to donate.”

United Way of the Adirondack Region, an organization that helps raise money for communities in need, has an annual goal of raising $725,000 for the local communities, explained John Bernardie the group’s executive director and chief executive.

“United Way of the Adirondack region provides coordination with SEFA under the direction of a regional committee, comprised of state employees in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties,” Bernardie said.

United Way’s network of agencies provided service collectively to 80,000 people across three counties, Bernardie said, which roughly translates to about half the population of the counties.

“That’s not the same thing as saying every other person has need, but the network that we represent — 41 partner agencies — collectively provided services to 80,000 people,” he said.

This coming year, Granger and Bleaux said they aim to beat their goal of $50,000 from last year.

“There’s no donation too small,” Bleaux said.

Email Patrick Willisch

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