State Employees Credit Union Raises $4,000 for Kaune Kids Campaign for UWSFC
No matter where your opinion fell on the recent “sugar tax” controversy in Santa Fe—a movement that was voted down by the public to raise funds for pre-K via a tax on sugar beverages—there is no denying the importance of pre-K education. According to the Center for Public Education, a large and growing body of research shows that investing in high-quality, pre-kindergarten education yields benefits for children, schools, and communities. Other studies demonstrate that pre-k participation influences adult behaviors—with a better chance of being employed, a likelihood of earning higher wages, and a diminished likelihood of being arrested for violent crimes.
United Way of Santa Fe County (UWSFC) fights for kids, every day. And it is raising the bar on supporting early education with its Kaune Kids campaign, which will create the United Way Early Learning Center at Kaune on the site of the former Kaune Elementary School in Santa Fe. UWSFC recently called on local organizations and businesses to help raise funds so that the project could break ground with Phase 1 of the Center. State Employees Credit Union (State ECU) immediately stepped up in recognition of this incredible community asset.
Over the course of just one month, State ECU employees at the Cerrillos and St. Michael’s branches raised an incredible $4,000 through various efforts such as raffles for gift baskets, popcorn sales, hot dog sales, bake sales, and more. “Our staff immediately recognized the importance of Kaune Kids and jumped into fundraising with enthusiasm,” says Harold Dixon, President/CEO, State ECU. “I am not surprised at the level of funds raised—and the heart and soul really shows.” Many State ECU staffers were energized by the initiative because of the connection they and members feel to the Kaune Elementary site. “I heard so many great stories about people’s connections to Kaune Elementary. And this is a way of recycling the space back into the community,” comments Jackie Martinez, a teller at State ECU’s St. Michael’s branch.
Michael Zaragoza, Jr., VP of Donor Relations, UWSFC, who accepted the donation on behalf of Kaune Kids, was stunned with the amount raised. “This is beyond what I was expecting and united together we can make such a great difference for Santa Fe.”
Deborah Norris Sparks, VP of Human Resources, State ECU explains that the staff is dedicated to supporting causes that do good work and Kaune Kids really hits home for them. “None of us know when we might need to be the recipient of such an organization. It’s the right thing to do. Kaune Kids hits the sweet spot of the State ECU mission—together we build futures. By helping Kaune Kids, we are all helping build the future of Santa Fe’s youth.”
State ECU has been involved with UWSFC for well over two decades. In fact, State ECU staffers contribute between $10,000 and $12,000 annually to the non-profit through a voluntary payroll deduction. “It’s really incredible,” says Dixon. “It might be only a few dollars per pay period; but 85% of our staff participates.”
You can show your support for pre-K in Santa Fe and your community’s future by donating to the cause! Visit uwsfc.org today and help get the Kaune Kids project moving forward.