University of Texas at El Paso employees have many payroll deduction options to simplify their financial lives such as parking, Student Recreation Center memberships and retirement plans. Nevertheless, there is one payroll deduction option many don’t know about – the State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC).
The SECC is an easy, effective and cost-efficient way to give to charities at the local, state, national and international level. Statutorily authorized, this workplace campaign runs September through October of each year and it is not too late to join in.
Rather than tossing in loose change or a couple of bucks into a jar at a restaurant or grocery store, employees can sign up for a monthly payroll deduction or make a one-time cash or check donation to an IRS-recognized nonprofit organization during the campaign that ends Friday, Oct. 31.
“The reason why I give to the campaign is because a local charity helped one of my family members when he was a child,” said Shannon Osborne, who works at the Student Engagement and Leadership Center, sits on UTEP’s 2014 SECC planning committee and has been an employee at UTEP for eight years. “You never know when you’ll have to have one of these agencies step into your life. I know if I help someone else, one day someone else will help me.”
The charities involved with this campaign have 501(c)(3) status, are registered with the Secretary of State and are audited annually by an accountant in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. These charities also provide direct or indirect health and human services and spend no more than 25 percent of funds raised on administration.
The campaign goes on across all state agencies and higher education institutions throughout Texas. Last year, more than $9 million was raised and UTEP contributed $92,000. This year, in honor of the Centennial, the goal of UTEP’s 2014 SECC Committee is to raise at least $100,000.
When the campaign began in September, UTEP President Diana Natalicio said, “We’re launching our annual State Employee Charitable Campaign, but we’re doing it because there has been a long history of relationships between UTEP and the community organizations that stand to benefit from the success of our efforts.”
Participating is straightforward. Each department or college at the University has a coordinator. A complete list of those individuals can be found here. If a department does not have a coordinator, please contact UTEP’s 2014 SECC Committee, whose information is listed below.
The coordinator will have a “Higher Education Authorization Form” and a booklet with a mini-directory of the charities.
The mini-directory lists the charity code, name of the organization and a percentage that indicates the annual fundraising and administrative costs as a percent of each charity’s total income.
For additional information about each charity and its mission, coordinators will have on hand a more comprehensive booklet, which also is available online.
The amount donated is up to each individual. No gift is too small. Giving one hour’s pay per month – calculated as .006 percent of one’s annual salary divided by 12 – can make a world of difference to the El Paso community and beyond. Monthly gifts can be deducted across 9 or 12 months of payroll.
The minimum amount for a monthly deduction for each charity selected is $2, which is enough to provide three days of parenting classes that teach effective discipline and stress/conflict management; vital cancer survivorship information and support to 80 cancer survivors; one day of food and shelter for a homeless person; prescription glasses for five people in a developing nation; meals for a homebound senior citizen for two weeks; or to cover the cost of planting 100 tree saplings.
For individuals interested in donating larger amounts, there is a leadership giving option, which starts at contributions of $1,000 or more. All contributors, regardless of amount, have the right for their gift to remain anonymous.
Another benefit of payroll deduction or making a one-time contribution during this campaign is that it is tax deductible.
Due to the shift to PeopleSoft, the employee ID number is the 600-number rather than a combination of letters and numbers. The employee ID number can be found at my.utep.edu under the PeopleSoft link. Once logged in to PeopleSoft, an employee can find this new number by using the “view paycheck” link and looking up a pay stub for the number following “Employee ID.”
“UTEP has a culture of giving,” said Christopher Park, vice chair of UTEP’s SECC Committee and senior associate director for athletics. “It’s wonderful when our faculty and staff can come together for one month and really give back and support the El Paso community that’s been so great to UTEP. It just shows the faculty and staff have a caring heart for the City of El Paso.”
Giving back to the community is one of the reasons UTEP is ranked among the Top Ten universities in the nation by Washington Monthly magazine. The UTEP family doesn’t have to wait until the holidays to give back. We can each give a little bit all year long.
Rachel Anna Neff, Ph.D., is a writer with the Office of University Communications.