Blue Cross-Blue Shield and the Federal Employee Education and Assistance (FEEA) fund have joined this Giving Tuesday to promote more assistance for federal employees.
FEEA has supported federal employees in need for over 30 years and was a beacon of hope for families after the 9/11 tragedies.
“We like to say that we’re a charity for federal employment and by federal employees,” Joyce Warner, FEEA executive director, said on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
The fund also hosts an annual scholarship program for the children of federal employees. According to its website, the FEEA has also offered nearly 200 scholarships to the children of employees “who died or were severely injured in the line of duty during the terrorist attacks on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the Pentagon on 9/11, and the U.S. Embassies and Consulates in Kenya, Tanzania, and Libya.”
The agency has also donated volunteers and funds to the recovery from the disaster of the recent hurricanes, Warner said. Since August, FEEA has given 120 grants to 120 families.
Today, Nov. 28, marks the sixth annual Giving Tuesday and a new partnership between the health care association and the fund. Warner said Blue Cross-Blue Shield will provide a match donation to FEEA of $5,000 if the fund is able to raise the same amount during Giving Tuesday.
“That’s what we’re trying to do today,” Warner said. “It really is the beginning of the giving season for so many nonprofits … [and tells us] what forms of assistance does it [need for] the benefits that it gives to federal employees.”
FEEA runs three programs and Warner said it is her goal to add a few more. The annual merit-based scholarship is one of the programs and is currently accepting applications. This scholarship is open to federal employees and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Warner said many federal employees make just enough every month to get by, but sometimes an unexpected twist of events can leave a family struggling. The last two programs Warner mentioned center on disaster relief and emergency loans following tragedies.
She said one year a family had to take extra leave, beyond what was granted, in order to take their child to many different doctors because of an injury on the playground. This caused that family an extra blow to their finances.
“FEEA was there to give the personal no-interest, no-fee loan, so they didn’t have to tap [or] max-out their credit cards [or] they didn’t have to get a payday loan,” Warner said. “That’s something we’ve been doing for a very long time.”
“We feel better [now] that we know what the pledges are going to be … once they’re reported to us,” Warner said. “So we are really encouraging folks to also consider giving to the CFC this year.”
Warner said Giving Tuesday gives everyone, no matter the economic or career background, a chance to be a philanthropist by volunteering their money, time and social network space.
The fund is only accepting cash donations at this time. But, FEEA currently has two open volunteer opportunities — including a team to run the scholarship committee and volunteers to help put together a local service walk-and-run to kick off Public Service Recognition Week in May 2018.