REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama -- Over the next few weeks, members of the Tennessee Valley will soon have an opportunity to make a difference that can last a lifetime.

The Team Redstone Combined Federal Campaign Kick-Off event will begin at noon, Sept. 15 at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Activity Building located at 4316 Digney Road.

Lt. Gen. David L. Mann, commanding general, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, will be the keynote speaker and the Army Materiel Command Band will provide music for the event.

"CFC has proven that its mission has changed the lives of people not only in the United States but all around the world," said KC Bertling, USASMDC/ARSTRAT G-1 Soldier and Family Program manager. "Everyone who makes contributions as a volunteer, or monetary, or both would gain personal satisfaction knowing that he or she has made great impact on the lives of those who are less fortunate."

The mission of CFC is to promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost efficient, and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for others.

CFC, which has its roots in the 1960s, allows employees to donate to organizations of their choice and make contributions, either with cash or through payroll deductions, to hundreds of causes. It is the only authorized solicitation of employees in the federal workplace. Donations are entirely voluntary, and no Soldier, civilian or contractor can be forced to give.

"CFC has been the world's largest and most successful workplace giving campaign since it started in 1961," Bertling said. "Federal employees have donated more than $8 billion for the charity organizations through CFC. It is the only charity authorized to conduct fundraising activities in government facilities, military bases and every unit and command who wishes to do so."

She said the greatest advantage is one-place contribution makes easier for donors to pledge through their payroll deduction.

Pledges made by federal civilian and military donors during the campaign season support eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world. Contributions can be made either by cash or check, or can be automatically deducted from an employee's paycheck.

"CFC is near and dear to my heart as an immigrated American," Bertling said. "Everyone can make differences in others' lives. I know how the international charities impact lives around the world as well as local communities. We, as the citizens of the free world, are so privileged to live in the United States where each of us can dream big, work hard, and can and will achieve his or her American dream. We are living in a country with plenty of options, and we have the responsibility to hand over a better world to the next generations. We can do it through the CFC."

An agency fair, showcasing 40 local nonprofit organizations, provided an opportunity for attendees to learn about charities that benefit from the CFC.

"We have 40 local charity agencies signed-up to showcase their organizations and the impact they have in our communities and around the world," Bertling said. "It is eye opening and very inspiring to see how charity organization members are so committed to changing lives, and showing some love to those who are less fortunate. We will also have AMC's prestigious band, lots of door prizes including AAFES gift cards, free cake, free bottled waters and more.

"Americans are known as their hearts are packed with giving spirit, and everyone supporting the CFC will also motivate the coworkers," she added. "It is always exciting to witness how people are so committed and excited to participate with a giving spirit through the CFC. Everyone who attends the kickoff ceremony and charity agency fair will have opportunity to learn more about nonprofit organizations and how they make differences through the CFC."