State employees’ charitable drive begins

 

Gov. Jack Markell officially begins the annual State Employees’ Charitable Campaign as St. Patrick’s Center executive director Joe Hickey and Delaware Tech president Dr. Mark Brainard look on Thursday at Terry Campus in Dover.  (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers )

Gov. Jack Markell officially begins the annual State Employees’ Charitable Campaign as St. Patrick’s Center executive director Joe Hickey and Delaware Tech president Dr. Mark Brainard look on Thursday at Terry Campus in Dover. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers )

DOVER — State employees and nonprofit workers came together Thursday to launch the annual State Employees’ Charitable Campaign.

It’s an effort to raise money for some of the many organizations serving people throughout Delaware.

Every year, officials encourage the tens of thousands of state employees to donate during the fundraising drive.

The effort annually raises hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the money going to charities such as Adopt-A-Family, the American Cancer Society and the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The 135 charities included in the fundraising push cover almost every cause, stretching from animal therapy to firearm education.

The drive lasts until Halloween, although employees can opt to have a small sum taken out of their paycheck through the year.

State employees had the chance to mingle among the charitable organizations they can support through the State Employees’ Charitable Campaign in its kickoff event at Delaware Tech Terry Campus in Dover on Thursday. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers )

State employees had the chance to mingle among the charitable organizations they can support through the State Employees’ Charitable Campaign in its kickoff event at Delaware Tech Terry Campus in Dover on Thursday. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers )

Gov. Jack Markell was among those who spoke at the kickoff event, which featured top officials and rank-and-file workers, along with representatives from about a dozen charitable organizations.

“Let’s face it, there are just so many people throughout our country, there are so many people throughout our state who need a hand,” Gov. Markell said. “Sometimes it’s a temporary hand, sometimes they need help for the rest of their lives. And there’s only so much — and I know I’m speaking to a lot of folks in government — there’s only so much that government can do.

“And, if it were not for these amazing organizations and their boards and their staffs and their volunteers who do so much, the burden would all be on government. The burden would all fall on taxpayers.”

The campaign raised $376,684 last year. Speakers noted despite the tough economic times the campaign has still found success and they are hopeful for this year.

Every little bit helps, said Ty Jones, who works with United Way.

“It is because of the dollars and resources that you provide that allow for those partnerships to thrive,” Mr. Jones said. “Without you, it becomes a conversation of trying to find one way to pay for another in order to make something happen. But it’s also because of you. Because of your service.

“I don’t think I’ve ever said this, where I’ve stood up here and said thank you for your service. Thank you for what you do for others so that when they’re connected to us or connected to those of us who are in the nonprofit area, we can maximize what you’ve done for the benefit of that individual. Thank you.

“Thank you for making that happen. Thank you for saying we trust you with this dollar, to be able to impart for the needs of others. Thank you for making that happen. Thank you. Thank you for not seeing it as robbery to give to another.”

Ann Visalli, director of the state’s Office of Management and Budget, told the audience she aspires to see a high rate of participation.

Gov. Markell spoke of the “symbiotic relationship” between state employees and nonprofit workers or volunteers.

“The fact that you and your colleagues within all of your agencies step up every year to support the State Employee Charitable Campaign is just incredibly important,” he said.

“And you send a very powerful message, because everybody knows that state employees, you don’t go to work every day because it pays all that well.

And the fact that somehow, state employees find it within themselves to write that check, to have the payroll deduction to help others in need, I think says a whole lot.”

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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