WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 28, 2011) -- In the past 50 years, federal employees and service members have raised some $7 billion for charities and are striving to continue the trend in this year's Combined Federal Campaign.

CFC celebrates its 50 anniversary this year with a campaign that continues until Dec. 15 with aims to provide financial support more than 4,000 charitable organizations. Before President John F. Kennedy created the CFC in 1961, charities ran separate campaigns soliciting for donations throughout the year which was costly and time consuming.

The Defense Department held a mid-campaign event at the Pentagon Oct. 27 that included Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force representatives as well as displays by 17 CFC charities. A keyboard and trombone jazz duo from FAME, the Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education also performed.

Army Maj. Gen. R. Mark Brown, the military representative for the DOD National Capital Area CFC said the goal for 2011 is $14.2 million, the same as in 2010. That's in spite of Base Realignment and Closure and the reduction in numbers of federal employees and military personnel.

"Last year we achieved $17.1 million, and we're probably on a pace to match or exceed that," he said. "The civil servants and military are always very generous, even in these tough economic times they never cease to amaze me with their generosity and kindness."

At the National Capital Area Army level, the campaign goal is $1.9 million. That's down from $3 million last year. The reason is that the Army in the National Capital Region has declined by about 9,000 personnel, said Karin Kane, who is managing the local Army campaign this year.

She said Base Realignment and Closure moved those personnel out of the National Capital Region to places like Redstone Arsenal, Ala., and San Antonio.

John E. Lazar who oversees the CFC for the entire National Capital Area, which takes in a number of counties around Washington, Maryland and Virginia, said the overall CFC goal is $67.2 million and includes all federal agencies including DOD.

"We're at the mid-point right now and about $1.4 million ahead of where we were at this time last year," he said. "The crust of the money comes between now and Dec. 15. There are still many kick-offs going on and we still have 245 events still planned for November."

He said the National Capital Area area was right on track to make and possibly exceed goal.

"The average gift last year was approximately $493, which is phenomenal and shows the power of the federal workforce and what a compassionate community of caring it is," said Lazar who has run non-profit fund-raising programs for more than 30 years. "I want to extend my appreciation to all of the service members, top all of the civilian members of DOD and all of the other federal agencies who are really reaching out during a difficult time to help so many people."