#UBCares about the community at campaign kickoff

The big screen at the campaign kickoff in the Center for the Arts shows a photo of campaign chair Robert Genco (back to camera) and President Satish K. Tripathi and his wife, Kamlesh, at a Day of Caring work site in August. Photo: Laura Hernandez

Published September 22, 2016

“This campaign has been a model of engagement and outreach for our university community for many years. It is one of the most visibly impactful ways UB faculty and staff can serve our greater community.”
President Satish K. Tripathi

UB officially launched its 2016 Employees Campaign for the Community this morning with campaign chair Robert J. Genco encouraging UB employees to help the campaign exceed its goal of $875,000.  

The campaign is an opportunity for faculty and staff to donate to charitable organizations in the community. Since it began 1976 as part of the State Employees Federated Appeal (SEFA), UB employees have donated more than $17 million to the campaign, making it consistently ranked as one of the top five in the nation.     

President Satish K. Tripathi welcomed those attending the kickoff breakfast in the Center for the Arts — among them representatives from community agencies, UB faculty and staff, and United Way leadership —  and spoke about how the campaign has helped UB become one of the most successful universities in terms of volunteerism.        

“This campaign has been a model of engagement and outreach for our university community for many years,” Tripathi said. “It is one of the most visibly impactful ways UB faculty and staff can serve our greater community.”

In his remarks, Genco, vice provost and SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Oral Biology, noted the struggles immigrants to the U.S. face due to the lack of social services from the government and little to no philanthropic help within individual communities. He referred to a novel by Pierto di Donato, “Christ in Concrete,” and to his grandfather’s experience coming to the U.S. in 1895 in illustrating how times have changed.  

“Today, we still have immigrants and refugees as a result from war and violence who strive to overcome obstacles as they adapt to life in the U.S. and in Buffalo,” Genco said. “The difference today is that the United Way campaign and other philanthropic agencies provide needed services for immigrants among other needy people.”       

The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and UB have had a collaborative partnership for the past several years. Contributions to UB’s campaign — donors can contribute to more than 2,000 United Way agencies as well as others designated by the donor — can go to support agencies that assist immigrants and refugees.

“I encourage each of you to be clear and emphatic with your schools and departments about the goals and the good that come from UB employee contributions to the campaign for the community,” Genco told the unit liaisons attending the breakfast. 

United Way President and CEO Michael Weiner, a UB alumnus, expressed how important it is to realize the substantial needs of the Western New York community. The campaign is a way for the university to give back to a community that has been very supportive of the university.

“Contributions put the university on the platform for philanthropy,” Weiner said. “The benefit that the university provides by giving (employees) the opportunity to give back to the community feels good.”

Liz Kahn, executive director of the Western New York affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, told attendees that mortality rates for breast cancer are higher in Western New York that anywhere in the state, and that African-American women across the country have a 40 percent greater chance of dying from the disease than other women.

Contributions to the Susan G. Komen Foundation through UB’s campaign would help the foundation offer resources to educate women about the importance of early breast cancer detection and offer screenings within local impoverished communities.    

“Your donations to us are such a wonderful thing,” Kahn said. “We are able to take the dollars that you give and put them into these amazing programs for the community.”

Faculty and staff can visit the Campaign for the Community website for more information and to donate to the campaign.