It’s not quite Christmas yet, but for federal employees the season of giving started at the beginning of this month, with the kickoff of the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area.
The CFCNCA is an annual fundraising event in which federal employees have the opportunity to donate a portion of their paycheck to various local, national and international charities and federations.
As of Oct. 15 the CFCNCA had collected nearly $1.65 million from 3,718 donors, or 1 percent of federal employees, according to Janet Cave, the vice president of marketing and communications for Global Impact, which is administering the campaign this year.
The CFCNCA is hoping to exceed the $59 million raised last year to reach a total of $60 million in donations, according to Cave. The fundraiser will run until Jan. 15, 2008, she said.
In 2006, So Others May Eat was the top recipient from the CFCNCA campaign, receiving almost $1 million, Cave added.
Richard Gerlach, executive director of SOME, said he thinks his group has been so successful in raising money during the CFCNCA campaign because of the critical services it provides to poor people such as job training, drug treatment, affordable housing and food.
“SOME is very efficient with the money given, and people recognize how critical the need for food and housing in [Washington, D.C.] is,” he said.
According to Gerlach, the $1 million was 6 percent of SOME’s fiscal 2006 budget. Though it was only a fraction of the group’s total haul for the year, it was still “a huge amount of money,” he said.
Last year the Whitman-Walker Clinic was the No. 2 recipient of donations from the CFCNCA and received more than $560,000, according to Cave. That’s almost one-eighth of the private funding that contributes to Whitman-Walker’s $21 million annual budget, which also included some public money, according to Chip Lewis, the media relations manager for Whitman-Walker.
Lewis said he thinks Whitman-Walker has been one of the frontrunners in the CFCNCA because of the nonprofit health organization’s long-standing reputation in the nation’s capital.
“We are providing health care to a population that is underserved in the D.C. area,” Lewis said of his organization, which was established by and for the gay and lesbian community to facilitate health care services, specifically for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
The No. 3 recipient of CFCNCA funds was the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. According to Cave, they received almost $388,000.
Lewis said that the fact that Whitman-Walker and Catholic Charities of the Diocese could both be on the list of the top three recipients of CFCNCA funds means the D.C. area is very diverse.
Cave also attributed the two very different nonprofits’ success to the wide variety of federal employees — and charitable choices — in the national capital area.
“There is a charity for everyone’s interest and concern,” she said.
Some of the other charities that received more than $300,000 apiece from the CFCNCA campaign last year include the House of Ruth, WETA, the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Washington D.C., and the Boy Scouts of the National Capital Area, according to Cave.
Each of the 3,600 charities and federations were required to apply in order to participate in the CFCNCA campaign. Some of the qualifications include that the organization provides health and human services, benefits, assistance or program activities and that they are registered under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. This year the CFCNCA has added about 200 more charities to the campaign, according to Cave.
The CFCNCA has been in operation since 1961, when President John F. Kennedy issued an executive order to initiate a combined federal campaign.
Federal employees can contribute to the CFCNCA through a payroll deduction by entering their desired organization’s five-digit charity code and the amount they wish to designate on their pledge card.
The CFC operates more than 300 campaigns throughout the world, but the national capital area’s campaign is the largest, with more than 349,000 military, civilian and postal workers employed by the federal government, according to the CFCNCA Web site.