CFC kick-off
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Attendees to the Combined Federal Campaign kick-off ceremony at the Fort
Jackson Officers' Club browse the tables of local organizations they can
donate to. The Palmetto State CFC raised nearly $860,000 last year, while
Fort Jackson donated roughly $... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)
Kevin Shwedo
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Kevin Shwedo, head of South Carolina's Department of Motor Vehicles, the
state's lead for flood relief, and former Fort Jackson chief of staff, speaks
about the need to donate to the Combined Federal Campaign. The CFC is the
only time charitable orga... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

Members of the Fort Jackson community gathered to "show some love" at the post's Officer's Club to kick start the 2016 Combined Federal Campaign with a luncheon Tuesday.

Every year since Pres. John F. Kennedy established it in 1961, the U.S. government holds the CFC each year to allow institutions to solicit donations. Companies cannot look for donations from federal employees at any other time of the year.

The Palmetto State CFC raised almost $860,000 in 2015.

"The CFC is one of the most significant and successful philanthropic programs in history," said Mike Quinn, director of the Palmetto State campaign. "The CFC nationally has raised $7 billion, that's with a b, $7 billion in charitable donations. Here in the Midlands since 2005, our local CFC has raised more than $12 million."

Kevin Shwedo, head of South Carolina's Department of Motor Vehicles and lead of the state's recovery efforts from last year's flooding emphasized the need for donations because it's the easiest way to help people affected by the disaster.

"I will tell you right now the federal government has not given this state its first nickel in recovery money," the former Fort Jackson chief of staff said. "There are families suffering out there today and you would not have your family live in the conditions North Carolinians and South Carolinians live in today. Between October and December 103,000 families signed up for help. Of those only 27,000 individuals got any money at all from the federal government."

Charitable organizations filled in the gap and helped in the recovery.

"I will tell you that one thing that will have an impact on turning your life in terms of faith in people is all the work that has been done by (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters) and long-term recovery committees. They came in, they raised their own money to start bringing people into the state to begin work on their nickel because the federal government in that area that promised them the money has failed."

These organizations are doing all the work right now, he added.

Organizations must me certain criteria to be included in the campaign, Quinn said.

"They have to meet strict accountability rules and guidelines set forth by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management," he said. "These regulations are executed by a volunteer group of federal employees, your co-workers both on the military and civilian side. They meet every year and go through the applications."

Col. Mark Shade, Fort Jackson's deputy commander, said the post raised "about $360,000" last year. "Our challenge is to open this book and not be able to find an organization in that book that doesn't directly impact their world."

Those wishing to donate to the campaign, which is strictly voluntary, should talk to their unit CFC representative or donate through MyPay.