Oswego, NY – For the many SUNY Oswego employees supporting their local United Way is something they take very serious. Each year the United Way of Greater Oswego County is one of the benefactors of SUNY Oswego’s annual SEFA (State Employee Federated Appeal) Campaign. From special events to employee presentations the campaign committee uses unique and inspirational ideas to help them reach their goal.
Howard Gordon, Executive Assistant to the President at SUNY Oswego, sees United Way as a partner in SUNY Oswego’s efforts to support its community. “As a former board member I have seen first-hand the positive impact that United Way has on Oswego County. The work that United Way does is essential. It helps to facilitate the work of other groups that share the same goal of bettering the community. United Way carefully determines the best use of donor dollars and makes informed decisions benefit those with the most need,” said Gordon.
Gordon’s enthusiasm for United Way and its mission is shared by many SUNY employees that, as a result of their own experiences, see United Way as a valuable community resource.
“I support United Way because of my parents, my grandparents and a story I’ve been told my entire life,” said Head Coach for the SUNY Oswego Women’s Ice Hockey team Diane Dillon. “The year was 1960 and it was Christmas time in Buffalo. My mother was about six weeks pregnant with me when they crossed the border and headed for their hometown of Chatham, Ontario. When my parents arrived on December 23 they discovered that my grandparents’ home had been in a fire. No one was injured but the flame and water damage was so bad that most of my grandparent’s possessions had been lost…including all of the Christmas gifts for their grandchildren.”
“The United Way was one of the first to help. They were there within a few hours helping to see that my grandparents and parents had a place to stay and what they needed to stay warm. United Way even provided some toys and made sure the entire family had a nice Christmas dinner that would never be forgotten. United Way gave my family hope and a wonderful Christmas holiday. Any one of us could someday need the help and guidance of the United Way. I give as a way to say thank you and to help other families in need,” said Dillon.
Dillon’s story is just one of the many examples of why supporting United Way is a very personal decision. “We see United Way as part of our community. You cannot work in a place and go about the day to day thinking you do not need to be involved. United Way has a special place in our minds and hearts,” added Gordon.
To reach its goal for this year’s SEFA Campaign SUNY employees held bake-offs, a walk-a-thon, a skate with the Lakers, and its annual Baskets of Caring. Events such as these combined with payroll donations helped SUNY’s SEFA Campaign surpass last year’s total and raise more than $28,943.00
“We have a very dedicated and informed campaign committee. United Way representatives have raised their awareness of the needs that exist in our county. We understand that it’s more than just giving. It’s about relationships. We are happy to be partners with United Way they are truly a leader. It’s not easy to engage people with their community, however United way is successful in doing that. They are a leader in that role,” added Gordon.
Cut line for photo: Representatives from United Way of Greater Oswego County recently met with SUNY Oswego employees to express their appreciation for the support the agency received through SUNY’s SEFA Campaign. From left are: Nichole Brown, Christy Huynh, Aaron Lee, Caroline Currier, United Way Executive Director Patrick Dewine, Kristen Burke, SUNY Oswego Executive Assistant to the President Howard Gordon, and United Way Resource Development Director Ali McGrath.