Special Combined Federal Fund drive to aid charities during COVID-19

(Contributed graphic)

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(Contributed graphic)

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has authorized a special COVID-19 solicitation to support 2019 Combined Federal Campaign-approved charities by order of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

“As the world deals with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many DoD personnel have asked how they can help relief efforts as private citizens,” a May 27 memorandum from Esper states. “The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has approved a special solicitation to help the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic via the Combined Federal Campaign pledge system.”

According to a CFC Special Solicitation Frequently Asked Questions document, the COVID-19 global pandemic has put a strain on resources everywhere: medical, financial, educational, emotional, social and more.

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Nonprofit organizations also feel these burdens. They face increased demand for their services and are often on the front lines responding to needs, but they struggle with reduced resources due to limited donations and canceled fundraising events.

The urgency to support charitable services could not be more real, the FAQ document states. In the weeks and months ahead, the supplemental gifts given through the CFC Special Solicitation will provide additional capacity to approved charities to deliver vital services.

The people helped will include:

• healthcare workers on the front line;

• children who depend on their school’s meal programs;

• furloughed employees;

• small businesses impacted by the temporary loss of income;

• and many others.

The CFC pledge portal has been enabled and will be open until June 30. Pledges can be made through Ohio CFC's website, https://ohiocfc.org/, or at opm.gov/ShowSomeLoveCFC .

Key points about the special solicitation include:

• Donors who contributed through the 2019 campaign can make another contribution; they cannot change their original pledge, however.

• Individuals who did not participate in the 2019 campaign can contribute to the special solicitation.

• Charities have been notified of the special solicitation.

• A mobile app, with instructions available at https://cfcgiving.opm.gov/faq-special, is available for pledging via Apple and Android devices. The app may be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

• Notable is that 100% of dollars contributed through this solicitation will be forwarded to the designated charities, without a distribution fee being charged.

• Active-duty and DoD civilian employees, as well as retirees and contractors, may make a contribution through June 30 to the participating CFC charities of their choice. Existing donors who pledged payroll allotments in the falI of 2019 can make additional donations with electronic credit card, debit or automated clearinghouse (ACH) on the CFC giving platform or the mobile application.

• Any recurring pledges made during the CFC Special Solicitation will commence after the pledge is “submitted” and sent to the bank, credit card company or payroll service provider. The final recurring pledge installment will be January 15, 2021.

Supplemental solicitation

“This solicitation is supplemental to other fundraising efforts and does not preclude personnel from making similar gifts through the military relief societies during their 2020 fundraising campaigns,” the memorandum continues. “Military Relief Societies, such as the Army Emergency Relief Fund, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and Air Force Aid Society assist service members, families, retirees, and survivors with basic living expenses and emergencies – circumstances that may have increased across the force as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the timing and special nature of this campaign, the military relief societies are authorized to conduct or continue their campaigns during the Special CFC solicitation.”

Funds raised through this solicitation will count toward DoD 2020 CFC campaign goals. Donors will have the option to make new payroll deduction pledges for the 2021 pay year.

Additional information is available at www.cfcgiving.opm.gov. The CCA call center support will service donor calls during the special solicitation at 800-797-0098 (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST). Please note that the call center is operating remotely.

Donations can be designated to one or more of the more than 6,000 local, national, and international approved and vetted 501 (c)(3) organizations from the 2019 CFC Charity List. While the CFC Special Solicitation has been launched in response to the global pandemic, donations will be distributed as unrestricted funds to work wherever they are needed most.

All funds collected will be distributed based on the next standard monthly distribution schedule month until Jan. 15, 2021, (for recurring gifts).

* Skywrighter Staff Writer Amy Rollins contributed to this story.

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