Fundraising or solicitations for charitable non-profit organizations in federal offices and workplaces date back all the way to the late 1940s.
However, it was not formally approved until 1961 when President John F. Kennedy authorized the U.S. Civil Service Commission to develop guidelines and regulate fundraising in the federal service.
From the late 1940s until the formation of the current Combined Federal Campaign, this campaign has allowed charitable organizations to solicit from federal offices like military bases, law enforcement agencies and other government workplaces throughout the country.
"The Combined Federal Campaign is a workplace charity campaign that was launched by President Kennedy," said Bill Russell, Chairman of the Desert Southwest CFC. "It is the only authorized campaign in the federal workplace."
Instead of having individual organizations soliciting different workplaces, President Kennedy decided to combine all solicitations together and allowed the campaign to go on for three months out of the year, explained Russell.
This year the campaign kicked off Oct. 13 for El Paso and Fort Bliss where organizations, such as the U.S. Border Patrol, Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Administration, El Paso Police Department and other government organizations gathered at the Armed Forces Reserve Center to participate in the program.
"Since the campaign has been in effect, it has allowed federal workers to donate over $8 Billion to the charities of their choice," said Russell.
The CFC campaign helps local and international charitable organizations all over the world. It also impacts Fort Bliss Soldiers through Army initiatives like the Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers and the free services offered by Army Community Service Centers.
"The impact it has made was being able to come together as a unit, whether you are military or civilian, to pull together as a team to work for a bigger cause," said Pam Thomas, Fort Bliss Army Community Service Financial Educator. "Without these donations, these non-profit organizations and charities cannot continue providing the services they're currently providing."
Throughout the campaign, representatives from different organizations seek help from federal employees and service members to help their cause.
With Fort Bliss having approximately 27,000 Soldiers, Thomas expresses how every Soldier can make a difference.
"If each of those 27,000 Soldiers made a dollar allotment every month, that's $12 a year out of their pocket - that is over $324,000," said Thomas, who encourages everyone to donate at least a dollar a month to help the cause.
For donations by federal employees or service members in the El Paso and Fort Bliss area, please visit www.desertswcfc.org or contact your organization's CFC representative.