The Daily Illini

Campus Charitable Fund Drive promotes spirit of giving

By Sam Schrage, Staff Writer

Alma Sealine has experienced the power of community support first-hand. Sealine was diagnosed with breast cancer within the first six months of arriving at the University but was fortunate enough to receive community support that helped her throughout her recovery.

Now, Sealine, University housing director and Campus Charitable Fund Drive (CCFD) co-chair, found a way to give back to the community through the Campus Charitable Fund Drive.

CCFD is an eight-week long charitable giving campaign that gives University employees the opportunity to donate to over 700 local, national and global charities as well as 12 umbrella agencies. This year’s CCFD runs from Sep. 17-Nov. 9, where employees will have the option of donating a one time gift or several times through payroll deductions for one year.

The Drive’s theme this year is “Giving Sparks Hope.” It encourages employees on campus, retirees and foundation employees to give to a charity that will make a difference in the local and global community or a charity that may have had an impact on them.

For Sealine, she has the chance to give back to charities that support breast cancer research and patient support, so others battling breast cancer can receive support as she did.

“The Campus Charitable Fund Drive means I can be an important part of impacting the lives of my neighbors and fellow community members,” Sealine said. “It provides the funding to our agencies to provide the support needed to assist those that need assistance and support at this time.” 

One unique aspect of the CCFD is employees can choose to which agency they would like to donate and designate specifically where they want the money to go to within that agency.

Whether they want to support victims of child abuse and neglect or cure a deadly disease, there is a charity working to meet these goals.

Jeff Brown, dean of the Gies College of Business and CCFD co-chair, said he has a personal connection to the local organization, The Reading Group. The nonprofit specializes in one-on-one reading instruction for children and helping those who may have dyslexia among other subjects. His daughter’s successes and growth from the organization has led Brown to donate to The Reading Group every year.

The agencies participating in the CCFD include the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, America’s Best Charities, America’s Charities, Black United Fund of Illinois, Community Health Charities of Illinois, Community Shares of Illinois, EarthShare Illinois, Global Impact, Special Olympics, United Negro College Fund and United Way of Champaign County.

Employees also have the opportunity to donate to over 700 other charities through the CCFD website.

Supporting local charities in the Champaign-Urbana area is a significant part of CCFD. Sealine said the University CCFD provides 70% of the funding for local agencies. 

“Our University is only as strong as the community in which we live. The more we can do to build a strong community, the better it is for all of us,” Brown said.

In previous years, more than 3,000 employees have participated in the CCFD, and over a million dollars has been raised.

This year, the CCFD hopes to raise $1.5 million and see 25% of University employees participate.

“The Campus Charitable Fund Drive is a way for our employees to find ways to give back to our local community or support agencies and or initiatives that are important to them,” Sealine said. “The generosity of our employees helps to fund local agencies that provide the services to our fellow community members that need our assistance at this time.” 

Gale Bickel, alumni engagement programming coordinator for the University Alumni Association and CCFD section leader, has been involved in CCFD for five years. Her belief in the importance of helping those in need has been a leading cause for her involvement with the organization. 

“This is a great way to give back to the community. I have found the University employees are very giving and caring and want to make a difference,” Bickel said. “The drive will definitely have a positive impact on those in need – just knowing that others care makes a difference in the lives of others.” 

As a section leader, Bickel’s main responsibility is to create a spirit of giving and monitor employee contributions. Section and unit leaders represent every unit on campus and attend training, come to CCFD events and rally employees in their department to give back.

While the CCFD seeks to promote a spirit of giving and hope, they also hope to bring the campus community and surrounding community closer together.

“The drive is a great way for the campus community to come together as a family with one common goal: helping others,” Bickel said.

Brown recognizes one of the reasons why CCFD was first created.

“Together, we can make our community better by investing in serving our neighbors, especially those who are not as fortunate as those of us at the University,” he said.

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