As the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) reaches its halfway mark, federal employees and service members are reminded there’s still time to make a difference by making a charitable donation through the campaign the world’s largest workplace fundraiser.
The CFC kicked off in September, continues through Dec. 15, and is the only time organizations can solicit federal employees for donations, said Army Capt. Michael Baker, the CFC manager for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC).
Through the campaign, staff members can chose from more than 4,000 charitable groups, whichever cause they feel most strongly about, and can donate either through payroll deduction or a one-time contribution, Baker said. By donating to these international, national and local charities, staff members can support a variety of causes, such as medical research and humanitarian relief, as well as child advocacy programs, church groups and animal rights.
“There’s literally something for everybody,” Baker said.
This year, the medical center’s goal is to raise $387,495, he said. If each WRNMMC staff member gave $75, not including contractors, he said, “We would hit our goal.”
The medical center’s campaign falls under the Joint Task Force - Capital Medical Region’s (JTF CapMed) campaign, explained Air Force Lt. Col. Angela Thompson, JTF’s CFC manager. JTF’s campaign also includes Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, the Joint Pathology Clinic and a few other outlining organizations, such as the Naval Research Center and the Dental Clinic at the Pentagon.
Overall, the JTF hopes to raise $625,000 through the campaign, Thompson added. So far, she said, they are at about 12 percent of their goal.
"It's amazing how even a modest contribution can make quite a difference in someone's life,” Thompson said.
According to the CFC website, a $25 bi-weekly payroll deduction would provide an eye exam and glasses for four homeless women or men, and a $50 bi-weekly monthly deduction would give more than 300 uniformed service members two hours of prepaid phone cards to call their loved ones.
Baker went on to note staff members can have their donation divided up over the course of a year, having payroll deductions divided up either monthly or bi-weekly. A $75 donation over 12 months would translate to about $6 a month, he explained. Baker also compared a one-time donation of $75 to taking your family out to dinner one night, or the total cost of about a cup of coffee a day for a month.
Every day at WRNMMC, Baker said staff members are working hard to ensure their patients and wounded warriors’ needs are met, and while their dedication does not go unnoticed, it’s important to remember the difference they can also make in the lives of many others, outside the medical center. He added that staff members will be awarded for their contributions: those who give one percent of their base pay will earn an Eagle Pin, and those who give two percent will earn a special, Double Eagle Pin.
“We want to recognize and say ‘thank you’ for your contributions,” Baker said.
Among those recently presented a Double Eagle Pin, is Sandy Lehman, deputy director of the Civilian Human Resources Center. She said she has given every year, through payroll deduction.
“My contribution comes directly out of my paycheck, and I get to choose where it goes,” Lehman said. “It’s easy.”
In recent years, she has lost loved ones, who benefited from a non-profit that provided care for the terminally ill, and so she has chosen to donate to that organization, because, “I want to give back, for other family members who use [that foundation].”
Baker also has a personal tie to the campaign, as he was recently on the receiving end, he said. Since his 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in May, his family benefited from the support of charitable organizations. Baker’s family had to make quite a transition, moving from Germany where he was stationed at the time, to the local area so his daughter could receive care at WRNMMC. He recalled one particular foundation that baked a special birthday cake for his son, and that meant a lot to his family given their circumstances.
“These charities take care of people. That’s the bottom line,” Baker said. “It really does make a difference.”
To donate, or to find more information about the CFC, visit http://cfcnca.org. For information about the WRNMMC CFC, call or email Capt. Baker at 301-295-6583, or michael.a.bake rhealth.mil, or email Sgt. 1st Class Don Berry at don.r.berryhealth.mil. For information about the JTF CFC, contact Lt. Col. Thompson at either 240-731-2626, or angela.thompson.2us.af.mil.