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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2007

State employees begin 25th annual campaign to meet important social service needs statewide
Employees contribute millions of dollars each year through SECA campaign; support helps Illinois’ most vulnerable

SPRINGFIELD – Highlighting both the current effectiveness and future needs of Illinois’ social service agencies, state leaders today launched the State and University Employee Combined Appeal (SECA) campaign that raises millions of dollars each year to support efforts to help some of Illinois’ most vulnerable people statewide.

Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) Acting Director Maureen T. O’Donnell joined Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director (IDVA) Tammy Duckworth at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) State of Illinois Headquarters today to launch the new campaign by encouraging state employees to give generously again this year and to learn how SECA support has empowered our veterans with disabilities.

“State employees work tirelessly each day to meet the social service needs of people who live throughout Illinois, but we also need the invaluable support of organizations who care for the sick, the disabled and the many others in need.  I want to encourage all state employees and retirees to contribute so we can continue to help those persons with disabilities, provide food for the hungry, and assist our injured war heroes and victims of disasters,” said Maureen O’Donnell, SECA Chair and Acting Director of CMS.

“Not everyone can serve their country in uniform, but everyone can serve in one way or another.  By contributing to these charities you can help enhance the lives of individuals who need help, and that in itself is service.  I encourage everyone to give from their heart and serve their country - help the people who need it,” said IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth, honorary chair of the campaign.
    
The SECA campaign is a once-a-year fundraising drive that allows state and university employees and retirees to contribute to participating charities through either payroll deductions or a one-time donation.    Through the campaign, employees direct their contributions to up to eleven member charities, which in turn represent nearly 2,000 charitable organizations:

 American Cancer Society    Global Impact
America’s Charities    Independent Charities of America
Black United Fund of Illinois, Inc.  Special Olympics of Illinois 
Community Health Charities of Illinois  United Negro College Fund
Community Shares of Illinois   United Way
 Earth Share of Illinois  

In 2006, state employees charitably donated more than $3,063,000 and contributions increased by $351,902 in just 2 years– or more than 11 percent.  This strong increase not only helped meet ongoing needs but also aided the hundreds of wounded warriors returning from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Through foundations and organizations, including the DAV Charitable Service Trust, injured veterans are able to take advantage of rehabilitation programs throughout the state.  Through transportation to VA medical centers, therapeutic sports opportunities and a wide variety of programs, the Trust helps deserving veterans adjust to their lives and disabilities. These brave men and women sacrificed their lives for our freedom, and SECA helps to ensure that they can get the care and treatment they rightfully deserve.

“The Charitable Service Trust is dedicated to one single purpose - building better lives for our nation’s disabled veterans and their families.  To carry out this responsibility, the DAV Charitable Service Trust supports physiological and psychological rehabilitation programs, meets the special needs of veterans with specific disabilities such as amputation and blindness, and aides and shelters homeless veterans.  We thank all those who donate through the SECA campaign, to help us fulfill our mission in serving our disabled veterans,” said Dennis Thompson, Illinois Commander, DAV.

State employees have donated more than $53 million to SECA since the campaign’s inception in 1983.  Each year, agencies under the governor and all constitutional officers compete for various awards, based on the following categories: the Capitol Cup for the highest percentage of employee participants of a large agency, the Governor’s Cup for the highest percentage of participation for small- to mid-size agency, and the Chancellor’s Cup for highest percentage of participation for a university.
“We appreciate the generosity in the past from the state and university employees especially in this time when budgets are tight.  We urge the employees to give what they can know that their dollars will be used wisely to benefit those who are less fortunate,” added Judith Barringer, CEO of Planned Parenthood Springfield Area.

For more information about SECA and its member charities, visit www.secaillinois.org.



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