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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

Stairways receives donations from GE Employees Community Service Fund

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Presque Isle’s Rotary Pavilion provided a scenic backdrop for philanthropy and gratitude on June 10, as Stairways accepted a $5,000 donation from board members of the General Electric Employees' Community Service Fund.

The GE Employee’s Community Service Fund was formed to manage personal contributions made by employees through payroll withholdings and partial matching funds from GE. Through this Community Service Fund, GE employees in Erie accrued more than $800,000 last year to be applied toward charitable donations in the community.

Rob Celeski, chairman of the local fund’s board of directors, expressed pride in the generosity of Erie’s GE employees. “Often, what you hear about GE workers is about labor unions and contract negotiations, and an idea that we are always asking for more and interested in getting ourselves taken care of. The size of this fund, which represents personal contributions, shows instead that what we want is to do more and to take care of our community.”

The local GE workers identified Stairways for support, awarding a $5,000 gift to the Stairways’ Client Assistance Fund.

This client assistance fund is also primarily driven by Stairways employee payroll deductions, and provides direct aid to clients in need of financial help for basic needs not covered by other community assistance programs.

Stairways representatives attended the June 10 meeting of the local GE employee fund board of directors, to express thanks and present a selected piece of client artwork from Stairways’ own BLOOM Collaborative as a token of appreciation.

Executive director Valerie Vicari thanked the GE employee fund board members on behalf of Stairways.

“The generosity of community members like GE workers really keeps us going and able to provide more for our clients, things that really make a difference in their lives when they need it the most,” she said. “We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Pictured, L-R, Front: Valerie Vicari (SBH), Christine Mitchell, Mary Ellen Hermann, Chuck Easton, Juanita Gangemi (SBH); Middle: David Volk, Jennifer Smicker, Rob Celeski, Laurie Bizzarro (SBH); Back: John Duchnowski, Dave Smock, John McGuigan, Jason Madden


·         The German Cultural Society of Erie said “Danka Schoen” to BLOOM Collaborative when it held its June meeting at the holistic art and wellness center the evening of June 11.

Some 75 club members experienced BLOOM’s artistic zeitgeist by creating fused-glass dreamcatchers and touring its 4-acre campus. The club also presented BLOOM director Lee Steadman with a small token of their appreciation for playing host in the form of a donation.


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