OPM reopens Combined Federal Campaign to help Texas winter storm victims

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The Office of Personnel Management is giving federal employees another chance to donate through the Combined Federal Campaign, this time to help victims of the recent winter storms in Texas.

OPM has opened a 30-day special solicitation window for the CFC, which will run through April 9.

“Millions of Americans are in great need, with many still without water, food, and other basic needs,” Kathleen McGettigan, OPM’s acting director, said Thursday in a memo to agencies. “In response to the appeals to OPM from the Federal Executive Boards in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, I have asked the Combined Federal Campaign to open a special solicitation to help victims affected by the severe winter weather, power outages and water shortages in Texas and other affected states.”

Opening a special CFC donation window will allow federal employees to donate directly to non-profits in Texas, as well as national organizations providing help to the region, OPM said.

Federal employees, retirees, military members and Postal Service workers can donate through the CFC’s online giving portal or the mobile app. All proceeds will go directly toward one of the CFC’s 6,000 vetted charities, and there are no distribution fees.

“These CFC charities are uniquely positioned to supplement the federal government’s overall response by allowing employees to pledge additional resources to these vetted charities and to those that are actively responding to this weather disaster,” OPM said.

Employees who didn’t make a contribution through payroll deduction during the 2020 CFC can make a donation through payroll during this special solicitation window.

Those who are currently contributing to a CFC charity through payroll deduction can make an additional donation online through the campaign’s giving portal or mobile app.

OPM last opened up a special solicitation last April during the early days of the pandemic. Federal employees in the region donated $1 million during that period.

This latest special solicitation comes after a banner year for the Combined Federal Campaign.

Federal employees in the national capital region exceeded their fundraising goal in 2020, donating $37.2 million during last year’s campaign.

That’s well above the $30 million goal the campaign set for 2020 — and above what the region raised during the 2018 and 2019 campaigns. Federal employees in the region donated $34.2 million each year in 2018 and 2019.

The campaign also noted an uptick in new donors last year. About a quarter of the CFC’s donations during the 2020 campaign came from first-time donors.

The campaign sees the recent uptick in donations and interest as a promising sign.

Donations to the campaign have been falling steadily in the national capital region for the last several years. Between 2009 and 2012, Washington-area employees contributed about $60 million a year to the campaign. But contributions have fallen since the 2013 government shutdown and sequestration, and 2018 and 2019 saw 10-year lows in donations.

The campaign honored individual employees and agencies for their creative fundraising efforts at a virtual award ceremony Wednesday. Agencies hosted virtual talent shows, pumpkin carving contests and a pet “Superbowl” to raise money for the 2020 campaign.

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