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Feds aim high to support charities

By Ed Kang
November 2010

CFC logo

Michael Watkins, right, and a visitor from the Carolina Raptor Center
Michael Watkins loses a staring contest with a visitor from the Carolina Raptor Center. This barred owl was rescued after suffering a broken wing. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

employee visiting with the Ronald McDonald house charity
NIEHSers enjoyed sharing their CFC stories with the Ronald McDonald house and other charities that came to visit Sept. 22. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

The Galloping Gene Jockeys team
The Galloping Gene Jockeys of the Division of Intramural Research was one of several teams to participate in the first NIEHS/EPA 5K fundraiser. (Photo courtesy of Ed Kang)

The 2010 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) at NIEHS has its sights set on a record-setting year. If met, the Institute's goal of $100,000 would be an all-time high, providing an influx of revenue to non-profits struggling to fund operations in the current economy.

As of mid-October, the halfway point in the campaign, $62,000 had been pledged versus $38,000 at the same time last year. "It's a tremendous start," said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., NIEHS/NTP director. "Whenever there's a cause to help those in need, federal employees rise to the occasion. Without their support, much-needed programs that provide medical aid to the sick, food to the hungry, and care to the needy might cease to exist."

A story of success

Chris Long, acting associate director of the NIEHS Office of Management, recalls meeting an inspirational woman named Patti on a recent flight from Washington, D.C. to Raleigh, N.C. "She described how CFC-funded charities had saved her life," said Long.

Four years ago, Patti was unemployed and raising two girls. She took advantage of a free mammogram from one of the non-profit groups and found out she had breast cancer.  Another agency helped her figure out how to find and pay for treatment, as well as assistance for taking care of her girls during hospital visits.

Patti is now cancer-free and employed, working in a job that yet another CFC-funded agency helped her find. CFC and the generous donations of employees made it possible. 

Key workers lead the way

Thirty-three dedicated CFC volunteers have been working hard to spread the word to co-workers and help organize several activities designed to boost awareness.

  • Sept. 22, a "Meet the CFC Charities" event brought more than 40 local and national non-profits to the Institute.
  • Oct. 27, more than 60 runners and walkers came out to support the CFC at the NIEHS/EPA 5K race.
  • Nov. 10, NIEHSers will enjoy free ice cream in recognition of their generous support of the campaign.

Also featured this year are raffles of gift certificates to local restaurants and three special baskets filled with gifts donated by CFC volunteers. 

"CFC volunteers make it happen," said Birnbaum. "They're first in line when the pledging begins, and they continue to give generously of their time throughout the campaign."

Employees can make pledges to their favorite CFC charities through Nov. 22.

(Ed Kang is a public affairs specialist in the Office of Communications and Public Liaison and a regular contributor to the Environmental Factor.)

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