Federal charities campaign kickoff educates potential donors
By Lisa Rhodes
Jan 08, 2019 | 8:00 AM
Sarah’s House relies on contributions from the Fort Meade community to help keep its doors open.
Established through a partnership between the Army, Anne Arundel County and Catholic Charities of Baltimore, the nonprofit transitional housing program offers emergency shelter, supportive housing and rehousing services for families experiencing homelessness in the county.
Bruce Clopein, volunteer resource manager at Sarah’s House, said the Combined Federal Campaign provides a significant amount of its funding.
The Defense Media Activity hosted Sarah’s House and several other nonprofits at a CFC Kickoff on Dec. 12 at its headquarters.
The CFC Campaign, which began nationally in September, is an annual workplace fundraising effort that allows federal employees, including service members and DoD civilians, to make monetary donations to CFC-certified charities.
The four-hour kickoff was organized by Staff Sgt. Edwin Pierce, a producer at DoD News at DMA and the agency’s CFC key worker.
The event, he said, was held to encourage service members and DoD civilians at the DMA, Defense Information School and other garrison tenant organizations to learn about the services and resources of local CFC-certified charities to contribute money or become a volunteer.
“This is an opportunity to meet CFC-certified charities that they potentially could donate to, understand their impact on the community, and [see] what donating to CFC means,” Pierce said.
Clopein said he participated in the kickoff to “spread the word” about Sarah’s House, which is located off Annapolis Road, and to encourage the Fort Meade community to continue to contribute through donations and volunteering.
Pierce worked with Pamela Anderson, Fort Meade’s Relocation Readiness Program manager and installation CFC coordinator, to host the kickoff.
Anderson is in charge of training Fort Meade service members and DoD civilians, like Pierce, to be CFC key workers in their unit and workplace. These key workers educate their peers about the campaign and how to donate.
Fort Meade’s CFC Campaign officially began in October. CFC key workers at individual military units and tenant organizations can host their own campaign kickoff for their service members and personnel.
Service members and civilians can donate online or complete a CFC pledge form.
Anderson said CFC “appeals to our spirit of giving.”
“President John F. Kennedy set up the CFC as the ideal avenue for federal employees [and] military members to demonstrate their belief in sharing with those who are less fortunate,” Anderson said. “The CFC goes along with the federal mission to serve. It provides federal employees [and] military members with the opportunity to further the mission of serving and giving.
“Finally, CFC returns money and service to charities in our community to assist active-duty members, veterans and families, federal employers and a host of others in need.”
Janice Venenson, a board member of Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, said the nonprofit is “more than just a meal” and relies on government funding, grants and contributions from the community.
“CFC is a big part of that,” Venenson said. “That’s why we’re here.”
Meals on Wheels provides daily meals to the elderly and the disabled, as well as a grocery shopping service and pet food delivery.
Venenson said funding also helps provide specialty kosher meals and Korean meals prepared by a Korean chef. She said the organization delivers the meals to the Korean community in Ellicott City.
“We meet the needs of as many people as we can,” she said.
Another organization that participated in the kickoff was the Senior Dog Sanctuary of Maryland in Severn, where it costs an average of $3,000 to take care of an aging dog.
“One hundred percent of our funding goes to veterinary care and day-to-day expenses,” said Debbie Gill, sanctuary manager, who attended the kickoff.
Gill said CFC donations help the sanctuary provide a permanent haven for senior dogs that are sick, have been abandoned or abused, or are unable to be cared for by their owners.
‘Right Thing To Do’
At Sarah’s House, its Project North Supportive Housing program is an example of what charitable funding can make possible. Clients who qualify can move from the shelter into long-term housing in apartments on the nonprofit’s property.
About 60 men and women with children reside at Project North.
Volunteers are also critical to the housing program’s day-to-day operations. About 75 to 80 Fort Meade service members volunteer at Sarah’s House.
“When you’re in the military, you’re devoted to volunteering and community service to begin with,” Clopein said.
To increase the participation of younger donors, the CFC is encouraging young adults, who may have a limited income, to become volunteers at charities as another way of giving.
“[CFC] wanted to engage the younger people that are coming into the workforce and people with the campaign overall,” Anderson said. “Volunteering is a way of [younger donors] connecting with their community.”
Air Force Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Baton, who works in DMA Tech Services, said she came to the kickoff because she was curious about what happens with the money that is given to CFC.
“It was nice to have a face-to-face with people [at these organizations],” Baton said.
She has been contributing to CFC for six years.
“I have enough for myself,” Baton said. “I want to give to people who need help.”
Cierra Riley, who works in information security at DMA, said she attended the event to learn about volunteer opportunities for a foster child in her neighborhood.