OPM allows special donations to aid terrorism victims

Federal employees and retirees can offer financial assistance to the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), according to the Office of Personnel Management. On Wednesday, OPM authorized agency heads to allow a special solicitation at federal agencies that would let employees make one time contributions to help relief and rescue efforts. "As they have done so many times in the past, I urge federal employees to consider the CFC as a timely, convenient and secure mechanism to help our fellow citizens, now and throughout the year," OPM Director Kay Coles James wrote in a memo to department and agency heads. "A special solicitation will allow federal employees to assist the ongoing relief efforts in New York City and the National Capital Area…outside the normal CFC procedures." The CFC, which kicked off on Sept. 12 and runs through Dec. 15, was launched in 1961 to pool informal solicitations into one large-scale charity drive. The CFC is the only authorized solicitation for charities in the federal workplace, but OPM may grant exceptions. During a special solicitation in 2000, federal workers donated more than $45,000 to help those who lost their homes and personal property to the wildfires in Los Alamos, N.M. The CFC is the largest workplace giving program in the world, according to OPM. Last year, more than 1.4 million federal employees donated money to nonprofit organizations, topping 1999's total by $6 million. Of campaigns that resulted in gifts of more than $2 million, those in the Washington, D.C., area raised the most money--a total of $46 million last year, an increase of $2 million over 1999's donations. Each campaign is run by agency volunteers who work with executives of local charities to generate contributions and distribute them to designated service organizations. During the 2000 donation cycle, retired federal employees were able to designate contributions to be withheld from their pension annuities for the first time. For a list of special relief funds and national Combined Federal Campaign participating charities involved in relief efforts, visit www.opm.gov/cfc. For information on local charities involved in disaster relief efforts in Washington, D.C. and in New York, contact: Beverly Lofton, CFC of the National Capital Area at (202) 628-2263 or Harriet Grayson, CFC of New York City at (212) 251-4015.
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