Stairways in the News

Stairways awarded with donations

Monday, January 30, 2017

Donations from the GE Employees Community Services Fund and Sportsmen’s Athletic Club have helped kick the New Year off in grand style for Stairways Behavioral Health.

The donations, each $5,000, benefit Stairways’ Client Assistance Fund, which provides direct aid to clients in need of financial help for basic things not covered by other community assistance resources. The fund is primarily driven by Stairways employee payroll deductions.

Donations for the fund create a safety net for our clients when there is nowhere else to turn, said Kim Stucke, Stairways chief development officer.

“These donations are so precious to SBH,” she said. “A helping hand goes a long way to improving one’s mental well-being. Without donors like these, SBH would not be able to meet the level of client need.”

Based upon giving history, Stucke said a $5,000 donation will assist 60 clients or more.

Each donation represents a significant payment contributed collectively by hard-working individuals.

The Employee Services Fund manages personal contributions made by employees through payroll withholdings and partial matching funds from General Electric. Each year, the fund is responsible for dispersing more than half a million dollars through philanthropic donations throughout the Erie area.

Rob Celeski, chairman of the local fund’s board of directors, presented Stairways with the check Jan. 20. The gift is the third donation the Employee Services Fund has made to Stairways. The group also contributed $5,000 in June 2015 and has also given to BLOOM Collaborative.

Stairways also received a contribution from a familiar source earlier in January, as the Sportsmen’s Club also donated $5,000.

The Sportmen’s Club, 2727 W. 8th St., is a social organization that dates back to the late 1930’s and promotes recreation, social activity and good fellowship through a variety of sports and activities. Stairways also enjoys a close relationship with the club, having received previous donations as well.

To show its appreciation for the gifts, Stairways donated pieces of client artwork to both the Employee Services Fund and the Sportsmen’s Club.

The donations come at a welcome time for Stairways, as Client Assistance requests have increased so far this fiscal year, Stucke said.

In 2015-16, Stairways processed 244 requests, or on average about 20 requests per month. This year, SBH is processing on average about 28 requests per month. If this trend continues then SBH will experience an annual increase of 13 percent.

“This increase is a reflection of how difficult it is for people to survive who are living in poverty,” Stucke said.

The types of requests of late include assistance securing medical documents for citizenship, paying an electric bill due to other unforeseen personal circumstances, medication co-pays, gas cards, out-of-town medical appointment and diapers for new babies.

Above: (from left) Stairways Development officer Kim Stucke; Rob Celeski, chairman of GE Employee Community Services Fund; Laurie Bizzarro, Stairways blended case manager

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