Campaign Overview


Campaign Overview

Thanks to the generosity of California state employees over the last 60 years, the Our Promise initiative has shown our commitment and dedication to communities; its impact is truly historic, and has been the single largest effort among almost 300,000 state employees to support charitable programs. This is our promise to California. Every day. All year.

Lawfully established in 1957, CA Govt Code §14659, Our Promise gives State employees the right to donate to their chosen nonprofits directly through payroll deduction.   

Annually, the Our Promise campaign commences on September 1 and concludes on October 31, and during these two months agencies and departments run their campaign efforts to ensure that each state employee be given an informed and educated opportunity to donate.

Outside of this two month campaign window, state employees are able to contact the Donor Hotline at (888) 863-6466 to receive assistance and make any changes to their current deduction, or begin a new deduction.

For additional campaign details visit our FAQ’s

Post August 2020

How Our Promise Happens

How Our Promise Happens

How does a staff of 3 support the nearly 300,000 California state employees in the largest statewide employee giving campaign? Spoiler alert– we don’t do it alone. 


Behind the Scenes

Filling  out a pledge form

The Campaign’s Governing Board

The Department of General Services (DGS) is the governing board for the Our Promise Campaign. Annually DGS selects an organization that is responsible for managing the Our Promise initiative for a specific region in California. This is referred to as the Principal Combined Fund Drive (PCFD). DGS contracts with United Way California Capital Region as the PCFO or lead, to run the campaign. Then UWCCR subcontracts with 25 local United Ways to run the campaign statewide. 

A Closer Look at PCFDs (local United Ways)

For 2019 there are 24 PCFDs (Local United Ways) who will work in partnership with their regional department locations to support various aspects of Our Promise for state employees such as:

  • Assist with pledge forms within local offices for each department
  • Serve as a liaison to the state department and their employees in that region
  • Assisting campaign volunteers with all Our Promise materials
  • Coordinating campaign events and speakers for meetings
  • Providing volunteer training
  • Assist with year round donor customer service
  • Pay out the nonprofit designations selected by donors

Find your PCFD

The State Controller’s Office Important Role

Once a state employee completes their pledge form, they are authorizing the State Controller’s Office (SCO) to deduct their specific monthly payroll deduction amount. The SCO then provides these payments to UWCCR to pay donor designations to the selected nonprofits. 

The PCFD that manages your nonprofit designations on your pledge form does not deduct your pay warrant contribution. Only the SCO has the authority to deduct your contribution from your pay warrant. 

Our Promise is Easy!

Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work is an employee benefit for those who would like to donate to nonprofits through the convenience of payroll deduction. There are thousands of nonprofits listed here, which were vetted and approved by the Department of General Services (DGS) or donors may choose to give to any 501(c)(3) nonprofit by utilizing the “Write-In Nonprofit” section of the Our Promise pledge form.

Payroll deduction donations start for as little as $5 per month!

General information

Legislative History

Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work is rooted in the legislature and California Statute. It is mandated by law to be administered in accordance with the Department of General Services (DGS) and the State Controllers Office (SCO). DGS is the governing body for Our Promise and their statutes combined with the two below are what make up this wonderful campaign. To learn more about the role that DGS and SCO play in Our Promise, click here.

General information

The Man Behind Our Promise

Black and white photo of a light-skinned man wearing a suit and tie, holding papers at a desk.

Intent on honoring the man who began Our Promise (formerly California State Employees Charitable Campaign or CSEECC), we wandered the halls of the California State Archives in search of the ghost of Our Promise past. With hope and determination, and a little dusting off of the old record books, of course, we were able to re-discover the man who started it all. A man with a long history of charity and community action and involvement. A man by the name of Augustus F. Hawkins.

Augustus, “Gus” as he was often called, is well known for his many acts of compassion and the political strides he made towards a compassionate and fair society. Before becoming the first African American legislator from California to serve in the Congress for many years, he proudly represented the Los Angeles area in the California State Assembly for nearly 30 years. It is here where he authored Assembly Bill 990, which became State Law 13923 in 1957.

Gus was able to accomplish many amazing things in his lifetime, but most importantly he was able to give all State employees the opportunity to give back to their community.

To find out more about the wonderful man who began this philanthropic effort, visit here.