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Supplying Essentials for Community-Based Organizations

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.

It’s All About the Kids

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.

Mary Curtis, Why I Care Employee Recipient

Mary Curtis, Employee Recipient

When Mary first donated blood as a 17-year-old she learned that she had a rare blood type, and the only one that can be given to infants or children in intensive care or during surgeries.

Anthony Mayers, Why I Care Member Recipient

Anthony Mayers, Member Recipient

In 2011 Anthony Mayers came to the City Mission of Schenectady with plans to stay for a 30-day visit, but what happened was so much more. He was struggling with life and needed some help, love, and guidance.


Girls Inc logo

"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.

The Importance of Juneteenth

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.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, SEFCU’s support doesn’t waver

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.

SEFCU continues to support the community during the COVID-19 crisis

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.

Farming With a Purpose During COVID-19

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.

SEFCU Supports a New Model to End Homelessness

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.

Giving For Good Dollars Used to Purchase Items for Non-profits Serving Individuals Impacted by COVID-19

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.

SEFCU’s Response to Non-profits and Medical Professionals Impacted by COVID-19

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. 

An Update on SEFCU’s Signature Events

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.

SEFCU Supports Code Blue and Emergency Shelters

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!

SEFCU Has Heart

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! 

James Welch, Why I Care Member Recipient


As a retired United States Air Force Flight Medic and volunteer EMT, James Welch has a long history of helping others, but it wasn’t until he watched a series on Facebook called “Returning the Favor” that he realized how he could give back.

SEFCU honors veterans with Wreaths Across America

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.

Nick Liporace, Why I Care Member Recipient


Although Nick Liporace is employed full time by the American Cancer Society (ACS), his passion and commitment to give back to the community goes way beyond a 40-hour work week.

James Murynec, Why I Care Employee Recipient

James Murynec Employee Recipient

The importance of volunteering is something that was instilled in James Murynec by his parents as a youngster, and has spent more than 20 years donating time around the holidays to The Santa Claus Club where he wraps presents, planned and prepared routes for gift delivery, and

Team SEFCU Pedals Its Way into CycleNation

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.

SEFCU & Broome County CHOW

We traveled to Binghamton, NY to learn about CHOW and some of the organizations they assist in addressing food insecurity.

Aimee Moore, Why I Care Employee Recipient


It’s hard for Aimee Moore to pinpoint her favorite volunteer memory, but most recently she participated in Stand to Honor, an event that was part of SEFCU’s Operation Fitness that raises money and awareness for fallen soldiers.

SEFCU Presents Royalties to the Palace Theatre's Summer in the City Program

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.

SEFCU extends helping hand to Equinox's Transitional Living Program.

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. 

SEFCU helps build brighter futures by supporting the Shelters of Saratoga

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.

Chris McNeil, Why I Care Employee Recipient

Chris McNeil, Employee Recipient

Most members know Chris McNeil as the Member Service Leader of SEFCU’s Amsterdam branch, but you may not know he is also skilled with using power tools and he’s been putting those skills to good use helping to renovate a number of spaces at non-profits throughout the areas SEFCU

SEFCU Initiatives

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.

Steve Oliver, Why I Care Member Recipient

Steve Oliver, Member Recipient

When Steve Oliver joined the Navy in 1980 he pledged to serve and honor his country. While he is no longer considered active military, he still plays a major role in his community, recently retiring so he could pursue his passion of helping veterans full time.

Chad Majewski, Why I Care Member Recipient

Chad Majewski, Why I Care Member Recipient

Chad readily admits that much of what happens in life is beyond our control. But, he believes that by volunteering your time you can control where and how you make a difference in the lives of others.

Tracie Killar, Why I Care Member Recipient

Tracie Killar

Tracie recalls being a seventh grade student when one of her teachers started a Social Action Club. At that point in her life she hadn’t volunteered, but her involvement with the club opened her eyes to what it meant to be a giver, not just a receiver.

SEFCU Fights Hunger in Non-traditional Ways

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.

Rebbeca LaFountain, Why I Care Employee Recipient


As a young child Rebbeca (Becky) was raised to be grateful for what she had and learned that not everyone was as fortunate as she. Now, as an adult, she continues to share that message with her three young children, serving as an example of what it means to give back.

David Falso, Why I Care Member Recipient


Nearly 20 years ago SEFCU member Dave Falso turned his love of the Christmas season into a fundraiser that would benefit children battling life-threatening illnesses.

Timothy Butler, Why I Care Member Recipient


It should come as no surprise that Stephen Shea was voted “Most Generous” in his senior class in high school and 10 years later he continues to give his time and talent to make a difference.

Stephen Shea, Why I Care Employee Recipient


It should come as no surprise that Stephen Shea was voted “Most Generous” in his senior class in high school and 10 years later he continues to give his time and talent to make a difference.

Carrie Farley, Why I Care Member Recipient


Carrie Farley wears a badge of honor that she never asked for and certainly didn’t want. She is a member of American Gold Star Mothers, an organization that supports mothers who have lost a son or daughter while serving our country.

Ben Oevering, Why I Care Employee Recipient


Even as a college student, Ben Oevering realized the impact of giving back through volunteerism. He recalls a time when he was building homes in Mexico for the homeless and remembers how grateful families were to have new, clean spaces to live.

Heather Miller, Why I Care Employee Recipient


Several years ago Heather had the opportunity to ride the Marine Corps Toys for Tots train which makes stops throughout New York State, distributing coats, hats, blankets, and toys to recipients along the way.

Linda Salomons, Why I Care Member Recipient


Even though Linda Salomons had been raised in a family that frequently volunteered their time, she said it didn’t become her passion until her four-year-old son, Eric, was diagnosed with childhood leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant from his twin brother.

Marylou Borowiak, Why I Care Member Recipient

Marylou Borowiak Why I Care Member Recipient

Before becoming president and CEO of the Food Bank of Western New York, Marylou Borowiak served on its Board of Directors for 12 years, and is proud to be the only female executive director to have led the Food Bank.

Fazana Saleem-Ismail, Why I Care Member Recipient


Most children look forward to their birthday for months leading up to the big day, but Fazana Saleem-Ismail was aware that this experience was likely different for children whose families are homeless and/or struggling to make ends meet.

Steah Htoo, Why I Care Member Recipient

Steah Htoo, Why I Care Member Recipient

Everyone has a story – that’s true – but  few are as remarkable as Steah Htoo’s,  a Burmese refugee who has not only  found her place in the United States, but  is committed to help others make the  transition, too.

Mark Duffy, Why I Care Employee Recipient

Mark Duffy Why I Care Employee Recipient

As a former “little” in the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program, Mark Duffy, SEFCU’s senior marketing coordinator, knows firsthand how a volunteer can change a life. When asked about the impact he thought his volunteerism had on others he said, “It’s just the opposite.

Dawn Martin, Why I Care Member Recipient


Eight years ago when Dawn Martin’s son, Shawn, a U.S. Marine, was killed while serving in Iraq, she began looking for a purpose and a way to honor Shawn’s memory, a young man who was well known for his strong hugs.

Shane Rauh, Why I Care Employee Recipient

Shane Rauh Employee Recipient

SEFCU Business Banking Officer Shane Rauh learned the importance of giving back at an early age from his mom. She believed the idea of showing someone you care is as simple as giving them your time – by volunteering, checking in on someone, or just holding a door.

Jen Page, Why I Care Member Recipient


Although her volunteer résumé spans just a few years, Jen Page, client manager for Capital District Physicians Health Plan, has made the most of her opportunities, giving her time to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region (BBBS), the American Heart Association, Interfaith Partnership for the Homeles