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US Federal Workers in Annual Charity Drive

The Combined Federal Campaign for 2011
The Combined Federal Campaign for 2011

US federal employees have begun a fundraising campaign for 2011, in a drive to collect money for local and international organizations.

The Combined Federal Campaign is undertaken each year and allows US government employees to deduct money from their incomes to go toward thousands of different organizations, including charities and NGOs.

“I donate to a lot of humane societies: Crime Solvers organization, the Red Cross,” said Brandon Garner, an administrative assistant at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a US agency that oversees VOA. “Just a few dollars a pay period really makes a big difference in those types of organizations.”

Garner has been donating to various charities since 2006. He was the first to donate this year. Contributions like his go to more than 4,100 organizations. Last year federal employees donated more than $281 million. The BBG alone collected more than $160,000 in 2010, more than double its target.

“It doesn't matter how much is given, the purpose is to give,” said Victoria Brimmer, who manages the campaign for the BBG. “And employees have the opportunity to choose whichever charity is most meaningful to each of them. It’s so meaningful because it helps everyone in your local community, across the United States and across the world.”

The Combined Federal Campaign was established in 1961 by then president John F. Kennedy. The funds collected go toward many types of organizations, including those for the needy, young drug addicts, or those in abusive situations. Others include Unesco, the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders.

“I’m sure there are many other international charities that serve the people of Cambodia too,” Brimmer said.

The BBG is hoping to raise $80,000 this year, but economic concerns in the US could make that difficult.

“Those of us in the federal workforce are lucky,” Brimmer said. “We have jobs, and we do have a few extra dollars. Even though things are tight, we can still find a way to give a little bit more to the cause that we support. [From] just a few dollars to hundreds per pay period can transform the lives of those not as fortunate as us.”