Thanks Mike for that introduction.
I am here today to celebrate the start of another season of giving through the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Region.
I would like to thank General Brown and Lou Torchia for their continuing service in this important effort.
Let me particularly welcome the team leaders and representatives who will spearhead the campaign in each of their respective offices.
Your leadership has helped this department exceed its contribution goals year after year.
And I am hoping this coming year will be no different.
Since President Kennedy created the Combined Federal Campaign program in 1961, the CFC has given federal employees an avenue to contribute for almost half a century.
We should all be proud to be part of our nation’s largest workplace giving campaign.
As Mike mentioned earlier, the numbers are impressive.
In 2009, nearly half of all DoD employees in the National Capital Area gave – over 40,000 generous individuals. And last year the Department exceeded its $14.1 million target. Thanks to the hard work of those in this room, our employees raised over $17 million in donations.
In February, I had the chance to personally thank the team leaders who helped us reach that impressive total.
I have returned today to ask all of you to do it again.
Not only to help us reach a new and higher target.
But also to continue expanding the number of employees who choose to participate—so that an even higher percentage of our colleagues join us in donating a portion of their earnings to worthy charities.
The fact is that the Combined Federal Campaign offers great choice and variety in the groups eligible to receive donations directly from our payroll.
More than 4,000 charities participate.
They range in size from small local groups like the D.C. Central Kitchen to large international organizations like the American Red Cross.
And they each deliver services worthy of our support:
* CFC charities feed families who have lost their home;
* They help wounded service members and their families;
* They spread education in underprivileged areas;
* And they provide emergency medical supplies to disaster victims.
The contributions made by employees throughout this department are all the more impressive given the tough economic times – circumstances that touch those in public service as well.
Precisely because it may be harder to contribute this year, it is so vital that we continue to give.
President Obama has said that America’s success depends on “the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart.”
And the Combined Federal Campaign enables us to do just that.
So I ask everyone here, from each office and from each service, to help make the 2010 Combined Federal Campaign another record year of charitable giving—a year in which our generosity reaches even further than before.