York charity benefits from Wolf campaign promise to donate salary


Gov. Tom Wolf is following through on a campaign promise to donate his salary to charity, and a local organization is reaping the benefits.

The Mount Wolf Democrat is donating his entire $187,256 salary to the State Employee Combined Appeal (SECA), through which state employees make charitable donations. Wolf directed $26,000 of his donation to the United Way of York County for the first quarter of the year, said Jeff Sheridan, Wolf's press secretary.

"It's greatly appreciated," said Robert Woods, executive director of the local United Way. "Tom Wolf has always been a very generous contributor."

Wolf, who was a wealthy businessman before entering politics, has been a longtime member of the United Way's prestigious Tocqueville Society, an association reserved for donors of $10,000 or more annually.

Other donations: During the campaign, Wolf contemplated simply foregoing his salary, but a 1995 law requires that he be paid.

So he opted to give quarterly to the SECA.

"At the end of each quarter, the governor writes a check to donate his salary to SECA," Sheridan wrote in an email. "The governor will also pay for his own health insurance, including the employer share."

Wolf has directed that the remainder of his salary go to the United Way of Pennsylvania.

The SECA is the state's charitable campaign for employees who can donate a portion of their pay.

"Employees can designate which charities they want to support and how much they want to give," said Dan Egan, spokesman for the Office of Administration.

About 900 charities receive donations through the program, he said.

Contributions: Last year, 15,690 of nearly 100,000 eligible state workers gave $3.1 million through SECA, just more than its goal of $3 million, according to an annual report.

Nearly all of that money goes directly to charities, but the state holds on to 6 percent of contributions — nearly $190,000 — to cover the cost to run the program, such as paying for one employee.

Any money remaining after expenses are paid is equally distributed to participating charities, Egan said.

This isn't the first time Wolf has donated his state-issued salary.

He gave away his pay when he served as revenue secretary in former Gov. Ed Rendell's administration in 2007 and 2008.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.