CFC raises record funds
WASHINGTON — Leading all other U.S. federal agencies, the Defense Department Feb. 4, announced it collected $17.2 million in last year’s annual federal fundraising campaign, a record-breaking sum of charitable donations to groups operating in Haiti and other areas where needs exist.
The total is $3 million more than the previous high recorded by the department since it began participating in the Combined Federal Campaign, which was established in 1961 to provide an efficient means for federal employees to choose to donate to certain charitable organizations.
At a Pentagon award ceremony Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III Feb. 4, commended department employees for their donations an average of $435 per person, which reflected a 10-percent increase in spite of a harsh economic climate in 2009.
“As the president said in his State of the Union Address, this last year has been a tough one for many people in America and around the world; I know people had to dig deeper to give,” Lynn said. “Despite the uncertainty in the economy, the men and women in the Department of Defense have come through again.”
Charitable groups are listed in catalogs that paper federal workplaces when they are distributed among employees every fall. Of the thousands of organizations listed in the densely packed catalog, groups like the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Doctors Without Borders have directly aided earthquake victims in Haiti.
“We need not look further than Haiti to see how others are living in conditions that are a world apart from those that we know,” Lynn said. “And yet in Haiti, and in other places closer to home, we do not have to sit idly by.”
International aid began pouring into Haiti following a magnitude 7 earthquake that struck Jan. 12, creating what an official called one of the greatest humanitarian emergencies in the history of the Americas. Estimates are that some 200,000 died in the quake, and another 150,000 were left injured.
“After a disaster, or moments of ordinary need we can use our time and our generosity to make a difference,” Lynn said.
Nearly half of the Defense Department’s workforce participated in the campaign, which generated hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the original goal, Lynn said.
CFC-provided funding helps those in need, including “rebuilding a country like Haiti after a natural disaster,” said Army Brig. Gen. Mark Brown, the deputy assistant secretary for the Army’s Acquisition and Systems Management.
“Your generosity makes things a little better,” Brown told attendees at the ceremony.
Echoing Lynn, Brown also commended the department’s employees for rising to the challenge amid tough economic times, before highlighting some two dozen Defense Department organizations recognized for extraordinary fundraising success.
“But ‘tough times’ are not words that we in the DOD worry about; we thrive on tough times, tough times spawn tough people,” Brown said.