By Randy Murray, Fort Stewart Public Affairs SpecialistDecember 18, 2008
FORT STEWART, GA -- Nearly 5,500 contributions, totaling $495,210, helped the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Combined Federal campaign exceed its 2008 goal by 135 percent. The campaign ran from Sept. 22 to Nov. 28 with an original goal of $375,000 according to Directorate of Human Resouces, installation CFC key representative, Gene "Roy" Royster.
"Each Coastal Georgia installation has a key representative (for CFC)," said Royster.
"We conduct the campaign by having key persons tasked in units and support agencies on post to make 100 percent contact with Soldiers and Army Civilians. It's not a forced solicitation. Contributions are strictly voluntary. You give only if you want to give."
According to the CFC Web site, www.opm.gov/CFC, CFC is the world's largest and most successful workplace charitable campaign. It was established in 1961 by an Executive Order as an employee focused, cost-efficient way for Soldiers and other federal employees to improve the quality of life for others. Royster explained there are two ways to contribute to CFC, cash or payroll deduction. He said donors choose up to five coded organizations to distribute their contributions or designate one organization to receive it all.
Ed Wexler, CFC director for coastal Georgia, pointed out that the overall contributions for the 17 counties he represents was $718,165, with more than two-thirds of those pledges coming from Stewart-Hunter. Postal employees and other federal employees in the 17-county area make up the others, he said. Wexler went on to allay any donor concerns about where their money is going. He said this is a chief concern of his office, which collects CFC pledges from the 17 coastal counties for the United Way through whom the funds are distributed. He and Jennifer Beaton, CFC coordinator in Wexler's Savannah office, carefully enter every pledge into a database.
"One of the things we try to assure our donors, is their money goes where they designate it to go," said Wexler. "Record keeping is a big part of CFC."
Additionally, according to CFC's Web site, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is accountable for assuring federal employees that their designated CFC contributions are both honored and distributed to legitimate charitable organizations. OPM does this partly by screening all charitable organizations against an Internal Revenue Service master file for 501(c)(3) charities. OPM also reviews participating charitable organizations annually to ensure they provide the services they say they provide on a local, state, national or international level.
Wexler praised Royster, who is leaving Fort Stewart soon to take a position at Fort Benning, as being instrumental in this year's successful campaign. This was Royster's second year working with CFC. Wexler and Beaton described how Royster developed spreadsheets that were color-coded by unit to track CFC pledges. Wexler also praised the Hunter representative, Chief Warrant Officer Gene Moore for his efforts and two Warriors in Transition Soldiers whom he referred to as "loaned executives." Sergeant Edwin Martin, a logistics specialist, and Spc. Matthew Beard, a unit supply specialist, said they found working with CFC a great learning experience.
Wexler explained that the CFC goal is established each year by the garrison commander in consultation with the commanding general. He said last year's goal was set lower than this year for the obvious reason the 3rd Infantry Division was deployed. He noted this year's success is due to most of the Division being home. Without the tremendous support of the Soldiers and Civilian Employees of Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield the goal would not have been surpassed.
During a special luncheon presentation in which he recognized Royster's achievements, Wexler thanked Royster and Moore, and his assistants, Beaton, Martin and Beard, then he extended his thanks to The Frontline and Marne TV for promoting the CFC campaign. He reserved his strongest gratitude for installation and 3rd Infantry Division Commander, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo.
"My last 'thank you' goes to the CG," Wexler said. "Major General Cucolo was very supportive. He made a point to be there for our CFC kick-off."