WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – As one of the largest federal workplace giving campaigns in the world, the Combined Federal Campaign has raised over $8.4 billion for charitable organizations in the last 60 years.
Not only does CFC allow people to donate toward a cause, but the program also consolidates different charitable organizations into one system.
“In the past, different nonprofit organizations would come to the military and ask people to donate,” said Christopher Merlo, Air Force Materiel Command Program Integration Branch chief and Dayton CFC’s 2021 district campaign chair. “In order to make the process easier, the government decided to combine the different requests into one campaign for all charities. It is just a centralized way for anyone to donate to their favorite cause.”
The CFC program is more than just giving to charities. Leaders say the entire concept embodies “Foster deliberate partnerships,” an updated line of effort in the 88th Air Base Wing’s new strategic plan.
It links Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with charitable organizations and the greater Dayton community to benefit the entire world.
“This program falls perfectly in line with our updated LOE,” said Col. Miller, 88 ABW and installation commander. “It is a great chance for people to donate toward a cause, but it is also a great chance to establish partnerships that can last a very long time. These partnerships will not only better Wright-Patt, but the Air Force as a whole.”
CFC is a worldwide operation comprised of 36 zones, with one responsible for overseas and the rest within the United States. Dayton District is within the Ohio zone and has partnered with the base and local community for over 50 years.
“Many people within local organizations are members of the CFC,” Merlo said. “Because we are one of the larger organizations in the area, many look to us for guidance to lead out this campaign.”
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Dayton District CFC needed to run the program virtually last year. Although there were some fears about how well the district would do, the staff adapted so donors could stay informed and contribute, Merlo explained.
“The process is very simple,” he said. “A person can decide to donate from their payroll, by credit/debit card or by personal check. If you are interested in donating, one can easily go to the CFC website to research the information about thousands of participating nonprofit charities.
“Over the last couple of years, the CFC has expanded the way people can donate by allowing people to volunteer their time to charities. Sometimes, people are hesitant about giving their money, especially due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, but giving people the opportunity to donate their time connects both the charities and the individual. This way, help is still being offered.”
Volunteers are helping hands who perform tasks ranging from cleaning up litter on a walking trail or feeding orphaned animals at an animal-welfare shelter to assisting with food distribution during a pandemic or preparing meals for veterans.
The list of opportunities is endless, and last year alone, Dayton’s donors pledged 1,700 volunteer hours to CFC charities, Merlo said, accounting for 75% of the total pledged by Ohio CFC donors.
“CFC is so appreciative of the campaign leadership provided by a couple hundred of Wright-Patterson’s military and civilian volunteers,” he added. “Some volunteers oversee an entire agency’s campaign; some serve as our ‘boots on the ground,’ ensuring their unit’s members are informed about the campaign; some assist with awareness events highlighting charities.
“We could not do what we do without Wright-Patterson’s senior leaders who volunteer their time in support of the annual campaign.”
The Dayton District staff hope this year’s events can be held in person, with the kickoff set to take place at the Nutter Center on Oct. 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“There has usually been a tight bond between the local military and local area,” Merlo said. “What I truly found out is that we cannot do this alone. Not only do we rely on the local community, but the local community relies on us. In this case, because this base has more civilians, we are the local people. There is almost no need to separate us because we are all one.
“We all represent the community of Dayton, and together we can make progress to become better and stronger.”
Visit Ohio CFC’s website at ohiocfc.givecfc.org to learn more about the campaign, participating charities and volunteer opportunities.