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It’s that time of year again, the 2022 Combined Federal Campaign hosted its virtual kickoff earlier this week, which means federal employees can now start donating their time and money to causes of their choice. To learn what’s in store for this season, Federal News Network’s Eric White had the chance to speak with Vince Micone on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin. Micone is the chairperson of the Combined Federal Campaign in the national capitol area.
Vince Micone: We’re very excited about the campaign this year, we had our kickoff earlier this week, with a great response. We had 1000 people tune in live and we have watch parties across the NCA agencies. Really notable after the kickoff that night, we saw $150,000 in contributions come in. So I’d actually like every day to be a kickoff day for CFC and get that sort of dollars in. One notable thing about our kickoff, we also turned it into a volunteer project, we had our team that gathered, pulled together a bunch of things that can be put together in what we call blessing bags, to help folks who are un-housed in the community. You know, we pulled together new socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hygienic items, toiletries, some of the stuff that we may have gotten when we traveled but aren’t using but someone could use right now. And that sort of really, you know, if you ask what we’re looking for this year in the campaign, we’re looking to really put the spirit of service into CFC and understand how we can be changemakers not just with the contributions we give, but actually doing practical things that helps people with their everyday lives here in our community.
Eric White: Yeah, $150,000 after kickoff, is that par for the course? Or is that a large amount that you all aren’t used to seeing? You know, just right away,
Vince Micone: It was pretty large amount for one day for us. That is more than we typically see in a one day period. You know, CFC is, we start a little bit different time every year. And our kickoff events happen a little bit at a time. So it really takes us till about November to sort out how our dollars are coming in. But it sure was a good way to start. And we’re very, very optimistic this year for the campaign. You know, that’s on top of the dollars, I think there was about 300,000, that was contributed in a special solicitation to those impacted by the Ukraine war that we held. So that’s in addition to those contributions that employees have already made this year.
Eric White: Besides Ukraine. And you know, as the we’re hoping the final days of the pandemic are upon us, what are some of the causes that are sort of recent, but are still getting a lot of attention from your campaign workers and members?
Vince Micone: Well, we’re going to be focusing on the impacts of the recent hurricanes in Florida and Puerto Rico. I mean, we all need to just turn on the TV or talk to our friends and neighbors that live in communities that are affected to understand that the need is great, and that it is going to take a while for recovery. And the nonprofit community in collaboration with FEMA, and with state, local governments have always been critical partners. The great thing about CFC is you can give to a lot of organizations that are going to make a difference in those communities. And those dollars will start flowing out right when the need is there. So we’re going to really be talking about the impacts of those natural disasters as well as what happened in Kentucky, with the flooding a few weeks ago, there’s tremendous need, that we need to do and we need to take care of our neighbors within our country,
Eric White: With more and more federal employees returning to the office, perhaps does that maybe change the scope of how you’re going to try to reach out to folks who are looking to contribute?
Vince Micone: I think at least what I’m seeing is, there are more people returning the office, but also they liked the idea of having hybrid opportunities. And that’s really good for CFC. Frankly, you know, now that we’re doing virtual kickoffs, we have two or three times the number of people that we had in the spaces that we used to use for those events. So we’re reaching more people, which is fantastic. I think what we’re going to see is is an interest in employees of reconnecting with each other and doing volunteer service projects and having gatherings where they feel comfortable to make a difference. We’re focusing on social media, with our change the world Wednesday, themes to help people think about what they can do to have an impact on the world. And we’re also on Fridays, doing feel good Fridays with our social media to help people think about how they can take care of themselves and how important that is to giving to others. You know, I think some of us have many of us have been caregivers for others. And you know that you got to take care of yourself before you can do well taking care of others. So we’re really having a holistic approach to the campaign of how we can make a difference by in our world by looking at what we can do and how we can get ourselves prepared to make those differences.
Eric White: So you got those themes for every Wednesday and Friday. Are there any other dates to watch coming up this year that you want people to have on their radar?
Vince Micone: Big, big Veterans Day activities that we’ll be doing focusing on charities that serve people who have served our nation, Giving Tuesday. I mean, that’s Giving Tuesday’s a day where we sort of move over the hump for CFC. Want to talk to you before G Tuesday again, because that is so huge for us, the contributions and the volunteers and that we do on those days. So that’s really what we’re focused on right now. And now that we had our kickoff, there are going to be kickoffs that are going to be happening at agencies across the DMV. So we’re also ready to support all of those activities, which is really where where all the action occurs.
Eric White: Can you just go a little bit into where the CFC stands overall, over, threw the years you guys have been around for a while now and an established a campaign that federal workers have used to donate to communities. Just give me a state of the union?
Vince Micone: Well, overall, federal employees have contributed more than $8 billion to CFC since 1961. That is an incredible amount of money, because it’s I tell folks all the time, corporations do employee giving campaigns to but they typically have matching funds, we don’t. So all of that comes out of our pockets, 100%. Last year, federal employees in the DMV contributed more than $37.6 million. This year, we hope to exceed that and get closer to $38 million. But to give you a sense of that, the average gift was over $1,000. We had 44,000 volunteer hours pledged last year. And we know that’s just pledged, because we know federal employees are doing community service and volunteerism all over the place. That’s just what was pledged. Retirees last year gave $1.1 million. And we’re going to look to them and see if we can grow that. That was actually 33% more last year that we got from retirees ever before. So we want to make sure that we provide an opportunity for those people who are retired to contribute. So we’re building on a good base during the pandemic, we didn’t lose ground, we gained ground. And we want to continue that now that we’re beyond the acute effects of of COVID, and our lives are returning to a greater sense of normality.
Eric White: You’ve got the ear of our federal audience right now. Tell us how they can get involved and what you all actually are seeing bigger need for that may not be being met by the already generous members.
Vince Micone: So everyone who’s listening, very easy to type in, givecfc.org on your browser, you’ll get to our webpage that will explain how you can get involved and how you can give. I would encourage people about thinking about two gifts this year, think about a recurring gift through payroll deduction. But if you’re gonna go to a CFC event, or you watch the kickoff, think of a special one time gift that you could give, perhaps, to disaster relief and recovery efforts, and then give to your favorite charities on an ongoing basis through payroll deduction. There’s incredible choice, there are over 5000 charities. So that’s the cool part about CFC. We don’t just give money to an entity and they figure out where it goes, you get to be the philanthropist where you decide where your dollars go to the causes you care about where you know that will will be impacted. And also the great thing about CFC, all those charities are reviewed every year by federal employees to make sure they’re legitimate 501 C3s, and all the information that you need about them to make your choice all that’s been summarized for you, so you don’t need to fish around and get it everywhere else. So again, gift cfc.org so you can be a philanthropist and you can be a change maker. I just want to join with you and acknowledging Mike Causey, such a wonderful person who was a part of your family and part of the federal family. I remember when I started my federal career, I read Mr. Causey’s columns, followed him, and he had a special place in our hearts because of the information he shared not only about CFC, but of course, about his impact on the federal community. So we just join you in honoring of a wonderful career and a wonderful life.
Eric White: Vince Micone is chairperson of the Combined Federal Campaign in the national capital area.