By Gerry J. GilmoreSeptember 25, 2007
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 25, 2007) - Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England yesterday asked servicemembers and department civilians to open their hearts and wallets and contribute generously to the Combined Federal Campaign.
The CFC's annual contribution drive "is hugely important" to communities in the National Capital Area and other localities across the United States, Sec. England, the department's CFC vice chairman, declared during a kickoff ceremony yesterday.
"A lot of organizations need our help," Sec. England pointed out, adding there are about 3,600 charitable organizations listed in the CFC beneficiary catalog.
The 2007 CFC campaign, which began Sept. 21 and runs through Dec. 15, repeats last year's theme: "Be a Star in Someone's Life."
The Pentagon kickoff ceremony featured a videotaped message from President George W. Bush, who urged federal civilian employees and servicemembers to give generously to the CFC.
"By giving to the Combined Federal Campaign each year, you can extend a helping hand to provide new hope and transform lives," President Bush said in his message.
The Defense Department's goal for this year's CFC campaign is $13.2 million, which is $200,000 more than last year, said Michael B. Donley, director of administration and management for the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
That is "our highest goal ever attempted," Mr. Donley said. Service-branch goals for this year's CFC National Capital Area campaign are: Navy and Marine Corps, $3.55 million; Army, $2.8 million; and $1.82 million for the Air Force.
Last year, the Pentagon and its affiliated agencies in the National Capital Area collected $15.6 million in CFC donations, Mr. Donley recalled. The department's average individual CFC contribution last year was $342, he said, and the overall participation rate was 56 percent.
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad W. Allen, a key CFC organizer for DOD since 2000, said he's honored to participate as honorary chairman for the 2007 campaign. Adm. Allen kicked off the CFC's National Capital Area campaign for 2007 by throwing a ceremonial pitch before the start of the Washington Nationals-Philadelphia Phillies Major League Baseball game here Sept. 21.
"It's been clear to me over the years the great value that CFC brings," said Adm. Allen, who led the federal government's on-site Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in the fall of 2005.
CFC contributions have helped people in Gulf Coast communities affected by Katrina, as well as servicemembers and their Families, Adm. Allen noted.
The CFC goal for the National Capital Area is $60 million, said Anthony De Cristofaro, the CFC's NCA director. There are about 350,000 federal employees in the Washington Metropolitan area, he said.
"The Defense Department's support is absolutely vital" to the annual CFC campaign, Mr. De Cristofaro said. "Literally, 25 percent of all of our money will come from people who are working in the Department of Defense, uniformed military and civilian people."
(Gerry J. Gilmore writes for American Forces Press Service.)