FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 12, 2014) -- A new Combined Federal Campaign program, which was tested in this area over the last three years, allows donors to choose a localized charity that might be on the other side of the country.

The Heart of Alabama Combined Federal Campaign was part of the pilot program for the Universal Giving option for CFC donations, according to Beverly Arnold, Heart of Alabama CFC director.

"CFC Universal Giving permits donors to pledge to any approved local CFC charity, no matter where the donors or charity are located," said Arnold, adding that previously, only local charities within the campaign area were available to donors. "If you fell in love with a local charity when you were living at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (Washington), you can still donate to it this year after your move to Fort Rucker.

"People should take a few minutes and think about things that have happened in their lives," she said. "If they have adopted a pet, had a relative diagnosed with cancer, or grew up as a Girl Scout, they will find a charity that affected their life to give to.

"If you want to use Universal Giving, you can visit the Heart of Alabama CFC website because the local charities listed in the printed publication are local to that area," she added. "But the website is easy to use, just search for the name of your favorite charity."

More than 39,000 local charities outside of the Heart of Alabama area are available through Universal Giving. These local charities are members of all the CFC campaigns across the country, she said.

"The charities that are available through CFC are approved by federal employees," said Arnold. "The board of directors either approves or denies the charities. There is a pretty strenuous application process before a charity is approved."

To use Universal Giving, visit the Heart of Alabama CFC website at www.heartofalabamacfc.org, click on Search Charities, and enter the name of the charity or the five-digit charity code. When the results are displayed, charities local to the Heart of Alabama will have a green heart icon. Charities not listed as a local Heart of Alabama charity will have an orange UG icon. Donors can now donate to either or both.