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Dion issues call to join
in annual charitable campaign
September 28, 1998

The annual Connecticut State Employees Charitable Campaign is set to kick off its 1998 giving season, featuring a month full of information, events and incentives, including the annual award of a core parking space for a year to one lucky donor.

The Connecticut campaign is part of a larger campaign taking place across the nation. Donations will benefit thousands, who will receive what could prove to be life-saving assistance from one of nearly 1,000 organizations, grouped under the umbrellas of 10 federations.

At UConn, campaign chair Dennis Dion has set a 1998 goal of $100,000 - a modest increase of $5,000 from the 1997 campaign. More important, Dion says, is UConn's participation rate, which last year was only 14 percent.

"I'm really hoping to see more people involved. There are so many organizations represented in the campaign that I think everyone on campus, with a little effort, can find something, some agency or organization, some area of need, where they could invest a few dollars. At some point in life, we or someone we love is going to need help, and without these organizations, that help may not be there," Dion says.

"One of the truly wonderful things about this campaign is that it's so large, reaches so many people, that even a donation of only $1 a paycheck will make a difference to someone in need, whether it's for medical equipment, rides to the grocery store or doctor, an operation or even something as simple as helping bring a Big Brother or Sister to a lonely child," he adds.

And, besides the joy of giving, Dion and the campaign committee have put together a group of incentives that run from a free core parking spot for the academic year to tickets to both men's and women's basketball games.

Other items that will be raffled off to donors include six-foot-long submarine sandwiches from Subway Sandwich Shops; tickets for a variety of events at Jorgensen Auditorium; a pair of $50 gift certificates for the Altnaveigh Restaurant, courtesy of the University of Connecticut Professional Employees Association; a pair of $50 gift certificates from Cycle Escape in Hebron; and a four-month membership at the Student Recreational facility, donated by the Department of Recreational Services.

Other local merchants also are joining the campaign, with prizes that will be raffled off at the opening event -- a luau on the Student Union Mall October 1, during a 1950s luncheon October 15 in the Student Union Ballroom, and at the harvest festival that closes the campaign October 29.

Donor cards will be distributed this week by volunteers. Anyone who brings a completed card to the luau will receive $1 off their meal. There will be free ice cream for dessert, with or without the lunch, and free lei's. Those wearing a Hawaiian-style shirt also will receive $1 off their lunch.

Booklets and donor cards will be distributed this week. The booklets list the hundreds of organizations people can contribute to and the portion of the donations that goes toward administrative costs..

Participating federations, each of which represents dozens of agencies, include Community Works of Connecticut, a coalition of organizations working for justice, equality, the environment and social change; America's Charities, including charities that meet health, human service, education, and human rights needs in communities throughout Connecticut; the Greater Hartford Arts Council, a non-profit group committed to connecting people to the arts; the Environmental Federation of New England, whose members help protect the region's natural resources, promote regional conservation and offer educational activities; and Earth Share, which supports member charities that protect America and the world's environment, health and natural resources.

Also, the Combined Health Appeal of Connecticut; the Combined Health Appeal of Southeastern Connecticut; more than two dozen local United Way agencies; Independent Charities of America; and the International Service Agencies.

Contributions in any amount are tax deductible and can be accomplished through payroll deduction or by a one-time contribution.

Richard Veilleux