By Alexandra Powell
CDCR Office of External Affairs

Photos by Scott Sabicer 
CDCR Office of Public and Employee Communications

More than 140 nonprofit organizations gathered at the State Capitol Aug. 30 to kick off the yearly charitable initiative known as Our Promise – California State Employees Giving at Work.


Hundreds of state employees checked out charitable organizations Tuesday at the opening of the 2106 Our Promise giving campaign.

Hundreds of state employees attended to show their support and learn about worthy causes.

Every fall, each California state employee is given the opportunity to donate to a nonprofit organization of their choice via monthly payroll deduction. Last year, CDCR employees gave more than $511,000 to charity via Our Promise.

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction and 2016 Our Promise Chair Tom Torlakson said: “I know each of us has a different reason for giving – some from joy, some from incredible experiences we’ve had, and maybe something from tragedy. I had a brother who died of AIDS and so I’ve been giving [for] him for years.”

Also in attendance were CDCR Undersecretaries Dr. Diana Toche and Ralph Diaz.

“The Our Promise Campaign event at the Capitol was a great opportunity to see the myriad of charitable organizations available to employees, something for everyone,” said Dr. Toche.


Dr. Diana Toche, CDCR Undersecretary for Health Care Services and Ralph Diaz, Undersecretary for Operations, Tuesday check out one of the vendors at the kick-off for the 2016 Our Promise giving campaign.

Attending nonprofits ranged from environmental protection to elder care. Forty-seven California cities were represented among the organizations.

Kate Towson, director of development for Women’s Empowerment, said she is often approached at Our Promise events by state employees who have a close friend or family member who benefits from Women’s Empowerment services.

“Our Promise is great because we get to meet the donors and volunteers who are our organization’s lifeblood,” Towson said.

Deputy Michael Saigeon, director of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Community Impact Program, said, “Our Promise helps get the word out about the work that we do.”

CDCR’s campaign kicks off Sept. 21 and will run through Oct. 21

If you are interested in volunteering or would like to learn more about the campaign, contact Alexandra Powell, department chair, at, or Holly Stewart, executive campaign staff, at, or visit