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Pentagon Ceremony Kicks Off DoD's Combined Federal Campaign

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2003 – The Department of Defense kicked off its 2003 Combined Federal Campaign for the National Capital Area today with a Pentagon ceremony.

This year's goal is to raise more than $11.5 million. Last year, DoD agencies raised over $12 million for CFC organizations beating its $11.3 million goal, according to Raymond DuBois, the Pentagon's director of administration and management and Washington Headquarters Services.

This year's campaign began Sept. 15 and runs through Dec. 15. Each year, federal civilian and military personnel contribute millions of dollars to the CFC to benefit thousands of local, regional, national and international nonprofit organizations.

DuBois, who presided over the ceremony, helped hand out placards to representatives of 23 DoD organizations that attended the ceremony. Each sign had that agency's campaign dollar goal for the upcoming year.

DuBois said that this year's CFC goal is an "aggressive one," but he added that, "given last year's performance, we could expect to exceed that goal." DuBois said the average contribution by donors during last year's CFC campaign was $240.

The slogan for this year's campaign is "You've Got the Power to Help." But the event's guest speaker, Wilhelmina Rolark, and one to the CFC organizations on the donor list, may have come up with her own catchphrase.

During the ceremony, Rolark, who is president of the United Black Fund, a nonprofit body that gives grants and emergency funding to community-based organizations, motivated campaign volunteers with: "If it is to be, it is up to me."

Pointing to the audience, Rolark said, "This campaign will never be a success without you. It's up to you, you are the people that inspire us."

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, 2003 vice chair for the National Capital Area campaign , noted there are some 3,700 organizations eligible for CFC contributions. He told campaign volunteers that he is counting on them "to lead the efforts to help CFC organizations fulfill their missions."

"Your work is going to be crucial to our (DoD) success," he said. "I know it's going to take time and effort, energy and enthusiasm, and I know you have all those things."

Among the organizations seeking donations will be the Pentagon Memorial Fund, which needs to raise over $12 million to complete the Pentagon's 9-11 memorial, a grove near the impact of the terrorist attack on the building that will feature a monument park with benches and trees. The fund has raised about $320,000 thus far.

The fund "needs to raise a lot of money pretty quickly" to meet its goal to build the memorial scheduled for completion by 2005, said Jim Laychak, whose brother was killed in the attack and who has spearheaded the memorial's fund- raising efforts.

"I'm very confident that we can reach our goal, and getting in on the Combined Federal Campaign, reaching out to large corporations and large individual donors are the things we have to do. But we have to have a basic infrastructure. And being a part of the Combined Federal Campaign gives us that."

DuBois said that although the campaign's goal is to raise money, the results are what he calls "very real projects - in some cases very small ones and in some cases very large ones like the 9-11 memorial here at the Pentagon. Nonetheless, every dollar counts. And we appreciate all your help."

Among campaign goals for DoD organizations were the Navy and Marine Corps with $3.17 million; the Army, $2.70 million, and the Air Force,$1.54 million.

Also attending the kickoff event were Al Brill, CFC director of the National Capital Area; retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught, president of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, and Allan Wallace, a Fort Myer, Va., firefighter who was among the first responders on the scene Sept. 11.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageWilhelmina Rolark, seated, was keynote speaker at the 2003 kickoff of DoD's Combined Federal Campaign held at the Pentagon Sept. 23. Rolark, who is president of the United Black Fund, nonprofit body that gives grants and emergency funding to community-based organizations, told volunteers the campaign will not be a success without their help. Also taking part in the event was Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who is vice chair for the National Capital Area campaign with a goal to raise $11.5 million between Sept. 15 and Dec. 15. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample  
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