Friday, July 29, 2005

Hawaii-Pacific Area CFC ramps up for Sept. campaignBy SSG Bryan Beach, PACOM Public Affairs
Camp H. M. Smith, HAWAII (July 28, 2005)-- A soft gentle breeze flowed into the open-windowed conference room as the sun shown down on the magnificent view of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu and the ancient, majestic Diamond Head in the distance. The view from the Sunset Lanai conference room was breathtaking for everyone except Joy Muranaka who sat in darkness. Muranaka is blind.
Muranaka may be blind, but she is not helpless, thanks in part to the assistance of her guide dog, "Mariette", who is provided by 'Eye of the Pacific Guide Dogs and Mobility Services' (EPGD). Without the assistance she receives from the EPGD canines, she "would not be able to lead the life she does," Muranaka said during her speech at the Combined Federal Campaign project officer briefing held at the Sunset Lanai here July 19. Muranaka was the guest speaker for the event, which brought together the Hawaii-Pacific Area CFC organizers and volunteer project officers from a myriad of federal agencies including the military, Postal Service, US Customs, and even US Game and Wildlife.The assistance Muranaka receives from Eye of the Pacific Guide Dogs and Mobility Services is just one of literally thousands of charitable organizations which takes part in the Federal Governments' annual Combined Federal Campaign.
The U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) sponsors this year's campaign. PACOM is the lead agency responsible for administrating and conducting the actual fund drive and organizing all the campaigns of all the federal government agencies in the Hawaii islands and Pacific Area. It's a large task, requiring a great deal of planning and organization. About 80 people were in attendance at the briefing.
"It is different this year for PACOM because last year we were just a spoke in the wheel," said Air Force Major Clare Edelen, Deputy, CFC Hawaii-Pacific Region. "This year we're the hub. We're actually running it this year and it's an eye-opening experience to a lot of folks here."
The mission of the CFC is to promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.
In the past, hundreds of non-profit organizations seeking donations from federal employees would swarm upon military bases, post offices and other federal workplaces in hopes of gaining access to employees and securing donations.
To make access to government employees easier and streamline the process, the federal government devised the CFC. Established in 1961, it is the largest workplace charity campaign in the country and the only campaign authorized to solicit and collect contributions from federal employees in the workplace.
"Based on President Kennedy's direction in 1961, this is the only opportunity that a federal or military person has the opportunity to donate," said Edelen. "As a group of workers, this is the one single time that a [federal or military] person can be asked to donate."
The theme for 2005 is "Heroes of the Pacific," and the idea is to give credit and acknowledge the service of the war fighters and those who support them, said Edelen. One of the primary goals of CFC is to make 100 percent contact with federal and military employees and give them the opportunity to donate. But the first challenge, points out Edelen, is making contact with everyone. With deployments and the geographic challenges of the islands, it makes it difficult to make 100 percent contact.
"From Admiral Fallon down, we're asking that leaders and project officers find everyone first," Edelen. "Education [about CFC] will come later and is the main thrust of the campaign, but for now we have to find everybody first."
In 2004, the CFC campaign raised a record-setting $14.9 million in pledges from Defense Department, and historically the military has always donated generously, according to the CFC website.
"If you look through the Donor Brochure, you're going to find an agency that has touched your life in one way or another at one point or another", said Edelen. "There are 1,700 agencies," she said. "From the Humane Society to the Cancer Society, it's in there, believe me, you just haven't thought to open up the book yet and realize it's there."
The 2005 CFC kicks off September 19 and runs through October 28. More details about specific "kick-off" events like fun runs, golf tournaments and other events will be publicized as the kick-off date approaches.

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