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Faculty giving, University prove to be a good match

Rebecca Cameron, chair of the Department of Psychology, helped rally fellow educators to generate financial support for students at a critical time. (Sacramento State photo)

Psychology Chair Rebecca Cameron and a few colleagues were at a conference when she learned that if the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies (SSIS) received 20 donations on “Give Sac State Day,” the dean would add a $1,000 donation.

Bernice Bass de Martinez, who sits on the University Foundation Board of Directors, said the value of employee giving at Sac State highlights the community’s commitment to helping students succeed. (Sacramento State photo)

“We had departmental pride and college pride,” Cameron said. “Our college has to come through on this. Our students deserve this.”

Cameron rallied her colleagues, asking them to give regardless of the amount. Some were still at the airport. Others started calling and texting other faculty. One handed his credit card to Cameron so she could donate on his behalf using her phone. Their efforts more than met the challenge, unlocking the additional $1,000.

As Sacramento State publicly launches On the Rise, its first comprehensive campaign, philanthropic support from faculty and staff will continue to play an important and growing role in supporting Sac State students. Efforts like those of the Department of Psychology in 2019 are an example of how all donations can make a difference.

“Our faculty and staff already give so much of their time and energy to Sacramento State, so we want to make sure they know that all donations have a collective impact on our students’ lives,” said Antoinette Vojtech, executive director of Principal Gifts and the On the Rise campaign.

The giving so inspired Cameron that she volunteered as an ambassador for the On the Rise campaign. She and her husband have also decided to pledge funds to start a new speaker series in the Psychology Department.

Five staff members at the College of Continuing Education (CCE) also signed on as On the Rise ambassadors, including Alex Read, a program development strategist whose first donation benefited the Dean’s Fund at CCE. “I believe in the mission; we’re helping people improve their lives,” he said. “Sac State makes our community stronger.”

Employee giving is a relatively new initiative and is off to a strong start: 347 faculty and staff members donated nearly $250,000 to Sacramento State in 2018-19, with individual gifts ranging from a few dollars to $20,000, to monthly payroll deduction gifts.

Jaydeep Balakrishnan arrived on campus in fall 2019 as an associate dean in the College of Business Administration. Shortly after, he volunteered as an ambassador for the On the Rise campaign. Having worked with University Development personnel in his previous academic role, it was a natural fit.

“I know the value of helping out with raising funds for different initiatives within the university,” said Balakrishnan, who also donated as part of Give Sac State Day 2020.

The value of employee giving goes far beyond the dollar amount raised, said Bernice Bass de Martinez, a longtime faculty member who currently serves as a special assistant to the dean of Arts and Letters and as a member of the University Foundation Board of Directors. It’s a sign of the community’s commitment to helping students succeed.

“Having faculty engaged, as well as staff, administrators and others, that’s why we’re a Hornet Family,” she said. “That defines us. Family takes care of family.”

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About Jonathan Morales

Jonathan Morales became a permanent member of the Sac State communications team in 2017 as a writer and content editor. He previously worked at San Francisco State University and as a newspaper reporter and editor. What appeals to Jonathan? Local beer and Bay Area sports teams.

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