ALBANY COUNTY Twenty-one years ago, President and CEO of SEFCU Michael Costellana found himself in what he called an “unpleasant situation.” He was playing Monopoly in a fundraiser hosted by Key Bank and the four women at his table would not play nicely.
“They wouldn’t sell me anything. They wouldn’t buy anything. I went bankrupt and lost miserably,” Costellana said, laughing. “I said, ‘We have to have our own tournament.’”
Costellana decided to call the Center for Disability Services to set up his own Monopoly tournament that would raise money for the center. Strings were pulled, plans were made and the following year, 40 players tried out the classic game at the first SEFCU Monopoly Tournament.
This year, on Tuesday, May 7, 305 players took on the challenge at The Albany Marriott on Wolf Road for the 21st Annual SEFCU Monopoly Tournament and helped raise $20,000 for the center.
“Monopoly is just an excuse to get people together and have fun. But this is really about raising awareness for those in need,” Costellana said. “It could be any board game, but has been Monopoly every year.”
Individuals and corporate sponsors pay a fee to enter and all the funds go directly to the center. The Center for Disability Services provides services to more than 15,000 individuals with disabilities in the Capital District and beyond, including schools, medical and dental centers, residential services, transportation and adult programs. The center has 75 locations in 15 counties in New York, and serves 27 states. Since the Monopoly tournament began, SEFCU has helped raise $200,000 for the center.
“It is an incredible event and as Michael Costellana says, all the people in this room, especially in the SEFCU foundation, are part of the center’s family,” spokesperson for the Center of Disability Services Anne Schneider Costigan said. “The center’s tagline is, ‘Where people get better at life,’ and we truly believe that all the people here have touched anyone in the center.”