The employees of the city of Lakewood reached new heights in money donated to charities during the holiday season.
The city’s Charitable Giving Campaign raised $65,787, which is an increase from the previous year’s total by more than $17,000.
The program provides an opportunity for employees to donate to their chosen charities with either cash or regular deductions from their paychecks, according to information provided by the city.
The money goes to a variety of organizations including the Mile High United Way, Partnership for Colorado, the Lakewood Legacy Foundation, the Lakewood Scholarship Fund and the Lakewood Police Employee Assistance Foundation.
According to Ken Milano, employee relations director, the program has been a staple in the city for more than 15 years, and one that employees really respond to.
“I’ve been in the public sector for years, and I’m amazed at year after year how much the campaign has grown,” he said. “We’ve seen an increase in the amount donated every year, but we’ve never seen a bump this big.”
Jeannie Madigan, office support supervisor for the Employee Relations Department, recruits a leader from each department to encourage their employees to participate.
“Our efforts have gone totally green, which we’re really proud of, and it makes it easy for people to research charities on their computer,” she said. “We start preparing and sending out the initial notice in October, and the campaign usually goes from the second week of November to the second week of December.”
She added that since employees have the option of having the money taken out of their paycheck, it has become even easier for them to donate.
“There’s no mess or fuss, and it’s so easy to contribute,” said Lori Miller, administrative assistant for the chief of police.
Employees are able to donate to any charity they want, or can donate to multiple charities.
An extremely popular charity is the Lakewood Police Employee Assistance Foundation which helps police and city employees during times of financial need.
Madigan said Lakewood’s employees are very generous and reach deep in their pockets, despite the difficult economy.
“Lakewood is such a great place to work because of the people,” Miller said. “There’s a great culture of working together to help people.”