The 2017 Commonwealth of Massachusetts Employees Charitable Campaign (COMECC) will run from Nov. 6 through Nov. 22, Chancellor Michael F. Collins has announced.
“I am asking all faculty, staff and students to once again support the UMass Medical School annual charitable campaign, COMECC,” Chancellor Collins said. Through COMECC, employees of UMMS and other state institutions have the opportunity to choose from 1,000 prescreened charities to which they may direct individual charitable donations.
“I am proud and humbled each year by the incredible generosity of UMMS employees,” Collins said. “Collectively, you are the single most generous group of employees in the statewide campaign and account for nearly 40 percent of the total funds raised.”
Deborah L. Harnois
This year, UMMS launched a new initiative, called the North Quadrant Support Services, which builds on the highly successful 21-year academic partnership between the medical school and the North Quadrant of the Worcester Public Schools. This initiative aims to address some of the socioeconomic barriers to academic success faced by some students in the North Quadrant of the Worcester Public Schools. The North Quadrant includes some of the most economically challenged neighborhoods in Worcester; students face issues ranging from food insecurity to homelessness.
With the support of the Remillard Family Community Service Fund, UMMS has started to help address some of these needs, building and stocking a food pantry at North High School to supply nutritiously balanced food to families identified by the school as being unable to afford it; supplying washers and dryers to four schools in the quadrant identified by the Worcester Public Schools superintendent as having populations of children whose families are unable to afford laundry services; and distributing nearly 700 backpacks filled with school supplies to elementary school kids, ensuring they were able to start off the school year with the tools needed to succeed.
“To sustain these efforts and address other unmet needs, we are providing an option through COMECC for employees to donate to an internal UMMS fund that will directly support the North Quadrant Support Services initiative,” said Collins. “You can be assured that 100 percent of your donations to this fund will go directly to services that benefit students and families of the North Quadrant.”
Collins also announced that two UMMS leaders will serve as honorary co-chairs of the annual COMECC campaign: Deborah L. Harnois, MS, MBA, JD, associate vice chancellor and chief human resources officer; and Robert Layne, MEd, assistant dean of outreach programs.
“Deborah has been exceptionally devoted to supporting her local community. In addition to the lasting positive impact she has had through her professional work, she has dedicated enormous time and energy to volunteering at a local level,” said Collins.
“And for more than 20 years, Robert has educated, mentored and trained students in the North Quadrant of the Worcester Public Schools for careers in biotechnology, life sciences and health care. As we launch the new fund this COMECC season to support the North Quadrant Support Services, it’s fitting that Robert will help lead this year’s campaign.”
The 2017 campaign officially opens on Nov. 6. Additional updates, including a link to donate online, will be provided.