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What does the word “needs” mean to you? Some people will associate needs with a desire to feel that summer grass beneath their toes, others will think of that vacation they need to go on using that hard-earned cash they saved. But for SEFCU, and the generosity of our members and employees participating in Giving for Good, evaluating needs in our community gives SEFCU an opportunity to provide essential items to organizations serving some of our most vulnerable neighbors.
This summer, SEFCU continued to support the Metropolitan Community Group with a grant for its summer youth program, a truly life changing experience for children and teens in Albany, many coming from undeserved communities receiving a safe place, an enriched experience, and healthy meals during the summer months.
"Youth today are underexposed to financial literacy information and skills needed to be financially successful adults. SEFCU's workshop was the first introduction to the world of banking for most of our girls. They became familiarized with the language necessary to better understand their banking, saving. and credit options.
SEFCU’s familiar tag line is “Changing Lives Every Day.” That phrase is more than a slogan – it is the description of our organization’s true purpose.
While our branches and Member Solutions Center (MSC) will remain open this year, SEFCU is making tomorrow - Friday, June 19 - a company holiday in celebration of Juneteenth, which is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. It is a day that forever changed millions of lives – and the world.
Financial support, continuing to help non-profits acquire necessary supplies, and deploying our staff to volunteer amidst the COVID-19 crisis are some of the ways SEFCU has continued to support the community during the month of May. Our team was ready in March when we jumped in to help the community with financial grants, emergency supplies, and launching Heroes Landing, a respite center for medical staff from Albany hospitals.
Changing Lives Every Day is more than a slogan and now more than ever, SEFCU continues to support the community with necessary supplies, financial support, and volunteers during the COVID-19 crisis. In March we sprung into action quickly, providing $80,000 in financial grants as part of our SEFCU Hunger Support Package, donating emergency supplies to non-profits serving families and youth, and launching Heroes Landing, a respite center for medical staff from Albany-area hospitals.
This is a difficult time for so many in our community and with massive layoffs, many people in the Capital Region are turning to food pantries more than ever to feed themselves and their families. In the month of March, the SEFCU Freight Farm responded to this growing need. Our Freight Farm, which has been in operation since early 2018 at the corporate office at 700 Patroon Creek Blvd in Albany, regularly donates about half of its produce to organizations that have weekly pickups such as the Food Pantries for the Capital District.
Albany Sheriff Craig Apple had a vision to end homelessness in the Capital Region and with guidance from HATAS (Homeless and Travelers Aid Society) and other community partners, the Sheriff’s Homeless Improvement Project (SHIP) was born. After learning about this initiative and touring the facility, SEFCU President & CEO Michael Castellana and Chief Community Officer Kathy Lanni saw this unique approach to serve and support the homeless in our community. As a result, SEFCU enthusiastically signed on to support the program which officially opened on Monday, April 22.
SEFCU is on a mission to give back every single day of the year, and now more than ever with our communities challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are responding to the emergent needs of non-profits throughout SEFCU’s four regions (Capital Region, Southern Tier, Central NY and Western NY). Non-profits serving youth and families are experiencing higher volumes than usual due to more people visiting their shelters and support service organizations.
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in our region, SEFCU’s Community Support program launched an application for emergency funds to help non-profits that would be serving increased needs in the community. In adhering to SEFCU’s Giving Guidelines, funds were allocated to support the quickly multiplying numbers of individuals, youth, and families as they began to serve more and more people became financially strapped due to being out of work.
As we are all aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many events in the Capital Region to be postponed or cancelled to adhere to social distancing measures and in conjunction with NYS on PAUSE. Our annual Monopoly® Tournament to benefit the Center for Disability Services which occurs each May to help raise funds for their life-changing work has been postponed.
Giving back to our communities isn’t just something we talk about here at SEFCU; it’s a philosophy we live by. And many times, it’s the small things we all can do that really add up to make a huge impact – like Giving for Good!
As Cupid works his magic this month, SEFCU continues to work to raise money for, and awareness of, heart disease. You’ll notice our branches are all glowing red this month, staff wore red last week in honor of Go Red for Women, and heart discs are available for sale in memory or honor of someone who is battling cancer. Find out what else SEFCU is doing!
On December 14th, more than 30 SEFCU employees, along with their family and friends, volunteered their time with Wreaths Across America at Saratoga National Cemetery. Every year, through Wreaths Across America, millions of Americans come together to remember and honor our fallen soldiers by placing wreaths on all of the gravestones in every national cemetery across the country. The goal of this organization and the message for this day is to remember our fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve, and teach our children the value of freedom.
For the second year, the American Heart Association (AHA) held one of its signature events, known as CycleNation, at Brown’s Brewery in Troy. Nearly 40 SEFCU employees laced up their cycling sneakers and wore their SEFCU red for the event. The event itself is a two-hour relay event in which riders cycle on stationary (or spin) bikes for 15 minutes, with another team member ready to go to hop on the bike and pedal on. The event helps promotes the American Heart Association’s drive to create awareness about stroke and heart disease.
Recently, SEFCU employees delivered much needed supplies to local and regional shelters and organizations that serve the homeless and those in need. This is all part of SEFCU’s Giving for Good Program.
We traveled to Binghamton, NY to learn about CHOW and some of the organizations they assist in addressing food insecurity.
On June 17, 2019 SEFCU joined area business leaders and the Mayor of Albany Kathy Sheehan to announce the Summer in the City movie lineup at the Palace Theatre in Downtown Albany.
“For the fifth season in a row, the Palace will provide free summer movies, open to the public every Tuesday afternoon during the months of July and August. Thanks to this program, more than 8,000 families and children participated in this program last year,” said Billy Piskutz, Managing Director for the Palace Performing Arts Center.
The SEFCU Community team is helping homeless youth get back on their feet and ready for positive steps forward.
Last month, SEFCU presented a $25,000 grant fund Equinox’s Transitional Living Program (TLP), which provides housing and a variety of support services to homeless youth. The grant will assist with funding dinners and providing bus passes to help youth attend school, work, job interviews, and medical appointments.
On March 4th, SEFCU’s community team delivered a $10,000 grant to the Shelters of Saratoga (SOS), an organization that offers a full-continuum of support to those in Saratoga County experiencing homelessness. SOS is taking strides toward providing these individuals with the necessary resources to assist them in finding employment, permanent housing and ultimately building brighter futures for themselves.
The local communities that our members call home are the heart and soul of SEFCU. We've dedicated ourselves and our resources to helping your community grow and thrive. At SEFCU, we back our community spirit with active support for the local causes and initiatives that matter to our members. Here you can learn more about SEFCU's community spirit - and how it makes an impact every single day for our members and their communities.
With rates of homelessness going up and temperatures going down, the individuals turning to many of the shelters throughout SEFCU’s geographic footprint may be a little cozier on cold nights, thanks to the outpouring of generous support from the credit union’s employees and members.
According to Feeding America: Map the Meal Gap 2018, 10.4% of adults and 13.5% of children in the Capital Region are food insecure which means those individuals don’t know where their next meal is coming from. SEFCU is committed to not only meeting immediate food needs by making monetary donations (last year for our year end giving program $300,000 was donated to food pantries and rescue missions), but also investing in sustainable programs which will allow communities and organizations to provide food for those living right in their neighborhoods.