This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

UB kicks off 2004 SEFA campaign

Published: September 16, 2004

Assistant Vice President

UB kicked off its 2004 SEFA campaign yesterday with this year's campaign chair, School of Management Dean John M. Thomas, urging university employees to continue their nationally recognized "outstanding" commitment to the drive.


Louise Lalli, SEFA liaison for the Center for Applied Technologies in Education, claims a gift basket she won at the kickoff luncheon for UB's 2004 SEFA campaign held yesterday in the Center for the Arts. President John B. Simpson distributed gift baskets to lucky winners whose winning numbers were read by John M. Thomas, dean of the School of Management and this year's SEFA chair.
PHOTO: Arthur Page

Noting the campaign's theme is "Change Starts with Your Heart," Thomas told campaign volunteers at a luncheon in the atrium of the Center for the Arts that "this is an opportunity to demonstrate commitments that are very close to our hearts and help change lives in the community and beyond."

While the campaign, which runs through Oct. 29, hopes to raise $825,000, Thomas said he has two personal goals: 100 percent participation and increased giving by UB employees. He said the campaign is establishing a new Honors Circle of Giving to recognize those employees who donate 1 percent or more of their annual salary to support one or more of the more than 600 local, national and international organizations supported through the State Employees Federated Appeal.

President John B. Simpson told the volunteers that "this endeavor requires our active engagement and participation. Each of us can make an important difference within our community and whether you participate by making a financial donation or by offering your time and energy...a little bit through SEFA can go a very long way."

Simpson added that "the difference we make through SEFA is profound. Thousands of people will benefit through our collaboration in this effort—an effort that, in fact, is just an extension of the collaboration and cooperation we find at UB on a daily basis. It's a hallmark of what we do."

The difference that a SEFA-supported agency can make in lives was attested to by UB honors student Khristian Powell, who described how her life and future were transformed through Buffalo Prep, a program located in the Diefendorf Annex on the South Campus that helps talented minority students from disadvantaged families realize their educational goals.

Powell said that through Buffalo Prep and its after-school and summer educational programs, she was able to obtain a full scholarship to attend Sacred Heart Academy and then a scholarship at UB. She has tutored youngsters in the program for the past six years, determined to help others from disadvantaged backgrounds who, she said, "feel left out, don't fit in" because of the value they place in education and learning.

Marcia O'Neil-White, executive director, noted that Buffalo Prep has been located on the South Campus for 16 years. She said the program has helped minority students from disadvantaged families obtain more than $800,000 in college scholarships. Many of its most successful graduates, O'Neil-White said, have degrees from UB.

Noting that "we are making a real difference in the lives of children every day," she cited the example of a Yale University graduate who earned a degree from the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and is now a resident physician at Children's Hospital and another Buffalo Prep alumnus who is enrolled in the UB Law School.