In an effort to advance community development, Binghamton University faculty members are working toward donating $50,000 to the State Employees Federated Appeal (SEFA), a state-run charitable solicitation of New York state employees.
SEFA provides a way for state employees to directly donate to approved charities through payroll deduction and aims to make donating convenient for workers across New York. Through SEFA, participants can donate to multiple organizations through a single medium rather than writing separate checks, which can encourage donors to contribute more generously, according to the SEFA website.
Choosing to participate in SEFA is completely voluntary and done at an individual employee’s full discretion. Currently, there are approximately 2,000 charitable organizations participating across the state.
According to Cornelia Mead, SEFA chair at BU and assistant vice president for student affairs administration and auxiliaries, the most popular charities employees chose via SEFA last year included Meals on Wheels of Western Broome, Doctors Without Borders USA, the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier and Broome County Habitat for Humanity. Several local organizations participate in the program, and because employees can choose where their money goes, most of the money raised by BU’s SEFA campaign is donated directly into the community.
State agencies, including the SUNY system, are required to inform employees about SEFA and establish an annual goal for donations. According to Mead, in order to reach the $50,000 goal, the University is using various methods to encourage faculty donation.
“At Binghamton we have the thermometer at the campus entrance, posters around campus, reminders in Dateline and we will be tabling at some upcoming campus events,” Mead wrote in an email.
Even modest payroll deductions can help various groups and services, according to the SEFA website, as these contributions go into enhancing the quality of life and community social infrastructure.
Donald Nieman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said he has personally supported charities such as Family Planning of South Central New York and the BU Foundation. Neiman said he has a desire to support charities that address the needs of the campus and Greater Binghamton community. For Nieman, it is important for BU faculty, including himself, to aid in SEFA initiatives monetarily to create a stronger community.
“The University is an important part of the greater Binghamton community, and Binghamton University faculty and staff are members of the community,” Nieman wrote in an email. “As an institution and also as citizens, many of us are committed to supporting local philanthropies and making this a strong, more caring, compassionate community.”
Employees interested in donating to SEFA can sign up online at the BU website.