Riverbats Giving This Season

2020 has challenged us in many ways, and Austin Community College District (ACC) faculty and staff have stepped up to help this holiday season.

"Many of our students have struggled during this pandemic. The Riverbat community has opened its hearts and pocketbooks in unprecedented ways this year to support our students," says Stephen Christopher, Student Accessibility and Social Support Resources associate vice president. "I am fortunate enough to see some of the cards, letters, and emails sent by students expressing the difference the support from ACC faculty and staff have made during this trying time."

ACC Giving Tree
For the past 26 years, the ACC Giving Tree, sponsored by the Support Center, has supported students and their families over the holiday season, and this year it went virtual due to COVID-19. Approximately 275 ACC faculty and staff members signed up to sponsor a child or a family by selecting a virtual tag. Thanks to these sponsors, 362 children will receive at least one present this holiday season and 60 families will receive a meal gift card.

Every year, the ACC Foundation participates in the #GivingTuesday fundraising campaign. The goal this year was to raise $2,000 for student scholarships and emergency aid. In 24 hours, the community had donated more than $8,100. Since first participating in #GivingTuesday five years ago, the Foundation has raised more than $15,910 for student support.

Annual SECC
Another annual fundraising tradition is the State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) sponsored by the Office of Human Resources. ACC faculty and staff generously donated a total of $42,127 this year to nonprofits through the campaign by signing up for payroll deductions or making an individual donation. Of that total, employees contributed $5,534 to the ACC Foundation, which when matched will total more than $11,000 for scholarships.

The campuses that raised the most combined funds include:

  • Highland Business Center with $9,980
  • Highland Campus with $7,330
  • Northridge with $4,757

In addition, campuses raised additional funds through virtual campus fundraising events and activities. San Gabriel, Cypress Creek, and Elgin were the top fundraisers for this year.

This year's "SECC Most Giving Campus" awards go to the following:

  • Most Giving Campus- Payroll Deductions: Highland Business Center
  • Most Giving Campus- Fundraising: San Gabriel Campus

Employee Emergency Fund
This semester, the college launched a new Employee Emergency Fund. The fund, created in partnership between ACC's employee associations, provides immediate financial assistance to employees experiencing an unexpected hardship. Employee emergency funds may be used to help cover unanticipated financial emergencies such as:

  • Funeral arrangements for immediate family members
  • Travel funds for an employee for the purpose of attending the funeral of an immediate family member
  • Car accidents
  • Loss due to natural disaster (fire, tornado, flood, COVID-19, etc.)
  • Significant medical expenses not covered by insurance for employee, spouse/significant life partner living in the same household for at least twelve months, or dependent

Donations are being accepted now. Employees may make a one-time donation to provide immediate support or establish an auto-draft donation to give $1, $2, $5, or any other amount each month. The auto-draft comes directly from your ACC paycheck. All donations are received in partnership with the ACC Foundation and are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

Mobile Food Distributions
In November, ACC teamed up with the Hays County Food Bank to help provide turkeys and sides to 564 households for the Thanksgiving holiday. A masked-up R.B. even stopped by to help with the mobile food distribution.

Another mobile food distribution will take place in partnership with the Central Texas Food Bank on December 17 at the ACC Riverside Campus. Hundreds of families needing assistance are expected.