ASU Staff Helping Staff donations help people 'stand shoulder to shoulder' with those in need
Carloyn Starr has a simple plan for how she can help her fellow Arizona State University staff members.
“If I stop drinking a soda a day, that money can go toward ASU’s Staff Helping Staff Fund and potentially change one of my coworker’s lives,” said Starr, senior program coordinator of Global Outreach and Extended Education on ASU’s Polytechnic campus.
A previous recipient of funds from Staff Helping Staff, Starr uses this rationalization in her own commitment to pay forward what she received from the fund.
Staff Helping Staff provides financial assistance to full-time ASU staff in need. All donations directly benefit ASU staff members who face unexpected emergencies and apply for aid.
“As staff members, this provides an opportunity to donate to a fund that helps those we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with every day,” said Patricia Odle, ASU Staff Council treasurer.
Joel Hansen, a carpenter for ASU’s Tempe campus carpentry services, looked to Staff Helping Staff when a torn ACL prevented him from working for three months.
“I was kind of in a bad spot but that’s when I remembered about Staff Helping Staff and they really helped me out when I needed it,” he said.
A donor himself prior to his accident, Hansen already knew about the Staff Helping Staff fund. With medical bills and no paycheck, he reached out for assistance on his mortgage payment.
“I’d donated to [the fund but] I didn’t realize how valuable it was until I needed help,” Hansen said.
Starr didn’t learn about the program until her mother fell gravely ill. With more than a thousand miles between them, Starr urgently needed to get to her mother’s bedside but didn’t have the means. With support from the Staff Helping Staff fund, Starr was able to be with her mother.
“It makes me tear up just thinking that my fellow staff members said as a collective, ‘Hey, we’re going to chip in and we’re going to send you to your mom,’” Starr recalled. “I came home and immediately signed up to have money taken out of my paycheck. It’s a neat feeling knowing that I have been able to give back to that fund so much more than it ever gave me.”
Stephen Potter, ASU Staff Council president, states that more than 20 people donate to the Staff Helping Staff fund every pay period, and some give one-time gifts each year, which has allowed the fund to help 30 staff members to date.
“There’s no hard rule,” Potter said, “but awards generally range between $500 and $750. It really depends on the need.”
“I’d donated to [the fund but] I didn’t realize how valuable it was until I needed help.”
— Joel Hanson, ASU Tempe campus carpentry services
In response to Campaign ASU 2020, the Staff Council has committed themselves to increase and maintain a balance of at least $10,000 in the fund, which is managed by the ASU Foundation. To ensure confidentiality, all applications go to the employee assistance office; the Staff Council’s Scholarship and Fundraising Committee then screens the redacted applications. Gifts to the fund are tax deductible and can be made directly from ASU employee paychecks by signing up for a payroll deduction, which can be as little as $2.50 per paycheck.
“This is one of the most rewarding programs that the council does. So we hope to make the fund more visible, both to increase donations and to allow more people to benefit from it,” Potter said.
They will push to expand the program “in hopes that [we] would never have to turn anyone away,” Odle added. “As the staff continues to grow with the growth of our university, the needs of our fund grow as well.”
For more information about the Staff Helping Staff Fund, visit staffcouncil.asu.edu/fund. To make a donation to the Staff Helping Staff Fund, visit https://pitchfunder.asufoundation.org/staff. To provide a sustained gift through payroll deduction, go here.
Written by Shannon Ganzer, student writer/editor, ASU Enterprise Partners