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MUSC Furlough Relief Fund
More than $175,000 raised to help employees

by Heather Woolwine
Public Relations
In response to recent cuts in state funding, MUSC employees have stepped up to assist those colleagues hit hardest by mandatory furloughs implemented to offset those cuts.
The MUSC Employee Furlough Relief Fund has raised $175, 829.48 in gifts and pledges, which will be distributed to furloughed employees who make less than $40,000 per year, according to university officials.  Almost half of the 1,200 full-time employees impacted by the university’s mandatory furlough will receive complete or partial relief. The mandatory, four-day furlough became effective Jan. 1.
“While we had high hopes for the fund, we only had a matter of weeks to raise the money and we did not know what kind of response we would receive,” said MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D. “The number of contributors and the generosity of their gifts underscores how MUSC employees, faculty and friends feel about the university and those who work here. It is truly remarkable that even during the toughest of times, the MUSC family will rise to the occasion and take care of each other, along with the citizens of this state.”
“I gave to the MUSC Furlough Relief Fund because, for the time being, I have something to spare to support folks who are pinched trying to make ends meet during furloughs.  Even when they are working full-time, many of our employees have to work two jobs to provide for their families.  Giving to the fund is the least I can do to help those who have helped make MUSC what it is,” said Steven Mcleod-Bryant, M.D., Institute of Psychiatry.
Distribution of the gifts will not require an application process, and supplemental checks will be sent to qualified employees in mid-April to affected employees. A committee comprised of MUSC development, human resources, financial admini-stration, university operations and legal leadership reached a consensus that the relief would be extended to furloughed employees earning  lower incomes considering  that the furlough would result in a greater financial hardship for these people. In crafting a disbursement plan, the committee set out to provide relief to as many furloughed employees as the fund would allow, beginning with those at the lower end of the pay scale and working upward.
“I’ve been working here for eight years and I’ve learned many times that people don’t just care about the work you do here, they care about you, too,” said Deborah Cook, MUSC Housekeeping staff member and recipient of the fund. “This makes me feel so good; it makes me feel a lot of love. It means a lot to us in Housekeeping to get this money back; we were just happy to keep our jobs. Getting the money back means I’m able to help my mom and my grandchild with their finances again. It means a lot, and I’m just really surprised and happy.”
Stewart Mixon, MUSC Chief Operations Officer, contributed to the fund and explained, “Given that the intent of the furloughs was to help prevent the loss of jobs throughout the university, I believe there was a general willingness by those affected to participate in the furloughs, “ he said. “Of those 1200 people, almost 25 percent of them are among our lowest paid employees. I applaud the efforts of this group to help contribute to the overall well being of the university, but given the economic times that we are currently living in, I believe that giving back to the group that could least afford to see a temporary reduction in pay was the right thing to do.”
Those who earn less than $30,000 annually will receive a gift that will cover their gross wages lost due to the mandatory furlough. Full-time employees earning between $30,001 and $40,000 annually will receive a partial gift based on their pay level.
“Although we wanted to make everyone whole again, I hope that the MUSC family will take pride in the fact that their generosity will provide help to almost half of the furloughed employees,” said Jim Fisher, MUSC vice president for Development. “The fact that we can do anything to help is fantastic, and a testament to the spirit of those at MUSC.”


Friday, Feb. 6, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.