The annual Colorado Combined Campaign is the only opportunity CSU employees have to make charitable contributions via payroll deduction. The final deadline for CCC donations is Jan. 13.
Here are a few personal stories about why some CSU employees use the CCC to make their charitable gifts.
As the assistant director for administrative communications at CSU, as well as a husband and father of two, Nik Olsen doesn’t have much free time to spare for giving back to his community. But as a contributor through the Colorado Combined Campaign, he is able to ensure that a portion of his paycheck goes straight to local charities of his choosing. These charities include Meals on Wheels, a service that provides nutritious meals and social interaction to homebound people. “My wife and I were both close to our grandparents, so we want to be sure the senior citizens in our community are having their needs met,” Olsen says.
Olsen and his wife also give to Project Self-Sufficiency, an organization that gives single mothers and women who have escaped from abusive relationships the tools to get back on their feet and become financially independent. “No one wants to be on the receiving end of a handout,” Olsen adds. “But it’s nice when there is something we can do to help our community members get back on their feet. My wife and I want to be part of this community and take care of its members who need a little help.”
For Annette Gonzales, undergraduate program coordinator in the Mathematics Department, money isn’t something you can take with you when you go. By giving through the Colorado Combined Campaign, Gonzales ensures that a portion of the money she earns every month will go to help people in need. “I think (giving through the Colorado Combined Campaign) is important because those who need help often won’t ask for help,” Gonzales says.
For Gonzales, making a difference in her community just means shifting her mindset: “We have our minds set on money, and if we’re making enough. You have enough money, you can say no to that Mugs coffee and give a little to someone who needs that money more.” As for having this opportunity on campus, Gonzales says, “I think CCC is a great investment for CSU employees and students. Through CCC, we can continue on this path to making the world a better place. Together, as a university, we make an impact.”
Pat Burns, vice president of information technologies and dean of libraries, understands the importance of giving back to one’s community. He and his wife are avid believers in the “pay it forward” mentality, stating, “We love Fort Collins, and there’s nothing better than giving back to the community you love. Giving through the Colorado Combined Campaign elevates the community, and floats all boats.”
Giving to Foothills Gateway, an organization that helps people with cognitive disabilities and their families overcome obstacles and reach their full potential, has personally benefited Burns and his son, who lives with severe disabilities. Burns has also given to the Boy Scouts of America while his son participated in the nationwide program. According to Burns, giving through the Colorado Combined Campaign is “a form of caring, and we are pleased to do our part to give back. We live in a great, vibrant community and paying it forward helps keep it that way. When we benefit the community, we benefit ourselves.”
By nature of his job, Vice President for External Relations Tom Milligan maintains strong relationships with people inside and outside of CSU. And by giving through the Colorado Combined Campaign, he guarantees that caring for the community doesn’t stop with his job title. Milligan sees the act of contributing a portion of his paycheck as an opportunity to give back to Fort Collins. He states, “CSU would not be great without Fort Collins, and Fort Collins would not be great without CSU. The Colorado Combined Campaign gives this university the opportunity to be committed to and involved in the place that makes it great.”
Milligan gives primarily to Neighbor to Neighbor, an organization that seeks not just to help Fort Collins’ homeless population, but to prevent homelessness in the first place. As a member of its board, Milligan believes wholeheartedly in its proactive mission to improve lives dramatically for the families of Fort Collins. And with the steady donations provided by the Colorado Combined Campaign, Neighbor to Neighbor continues to make a difference in the community. For Milligan, giving through this campaign is “effective management” of one’s paycheck. He points out that even if the amount donated each month is small, the combined effort of everyone involved yields incredible results. And these results ensure a thriving community everyone can enjoy.