Good morning and thank you. Thank you, Ray [DuBois Director, Washington Headquarters Services] . You've stepped into some huge shoes. I don't know anyone who could fill Doc's shoes, but you certainly have done a magnificent job at trying and succeeding to a remarkable degree. We miss Doc [Cooke, previous Director, Washington Headquarters Services]. I think he's here in spirit today. Wilhelmina [Rolark President and CEO, United Black Fund], it's great to have you with us, as ever.
Some of us when I look around the room are old enough to remember a great New York Yankees catcher named Yogi Berra, who, I think, won five World Series rings at least, and also gave us a lot of good advice like, when you come to a fork in the road, take it. [Laughter] Another one was, never make predictions, especially about the future. [Laughter]
Well, there's a whole industry of financial forecasters on Wall Street and I'm sure they'd love to follow Yogi Berra's advice about not making predictions, but since they get paid for making predictions they have a subtler way of giving you the same advice which is, never predict the results and the date you're going to achieve it at the same time. That way you always have a little bit of wiggle room.
Well, I went out on a limb last fall. In September I predicted that by the end of the campaign, i.e. a specific date, we would exceed our goal, i.e. a specific number. And thanks to all of you, we've done it. We raised $12 million, which is nearly three-quarters of a million dollars over and above our target. And that's not all. We achieved a participation rate of 62 percent. Roughly speaking, that's two out of every three people in the department who made a contribution. And as Ray indicated, there are thousands who are in the Eagle ranks of contributing one percent or more of their salary.
That outstanding contribution, I'm sure, is in part a tribute to Doc. They gave me my Doc button, "Do it for Doc." We've done it for Doc and I'm sure he's proud of us up there. He led the National Capital Area Campaign for 11 years and helped lead the Defense Department campaign for many years before that. When we announced in September that we were dedicating this year's campaign to Doc and to his memory, we also pointed out that Doc used to be fond of saying, "You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give." And I think you've all been demonstrating in the last few months that Doc is right.
People here are the ones who did the work and produced the results. You didn't do it for personal recognition. You did it because you care about the less fortunate in our community. And you did it, I think, particularly because here in the Department of Defense we know that anything that's worth attaining is worth sacrificing for. I'm sure there was an extra spirit of giving this year because all of us realized that there were some in this department who are prepared to give everything for their country and for their fellow Americans.
You didn't do it for thanks, but this is an occasion to thank you anyway. I also want to say that personally as a leader of this department I'm very proud of what you've accomplished. We may never meet the beneficiaries of our hard work but they're out there across the community. In fact a great Jewish philosopher, Maimonides, said the greatest form of charity is when the recipient doesn't know who his beneficiary was, that it's charity for its own sake. There's a lot of that here.
I know, we all know, that the recipients of this generosity are very grateful that their fellow Americans care enough to help. What's more, our success in this year's campaign contains the seeds of future success as well. We had the support of two-thirds of our colleagues. That's an accomplishment. It sets the stage so that next year our goal is going to be to increase participation to 70 percent. I haven't yet decided to go out on a limb in predicting that one [Laughter]. We do have to keep raising the bar and we have to keep clearing it.
Think about how much more those community groups will be able to do if we can reach that level. I'll save that sales pitch, though, and any predictions until next fall. For now I simply want to say thank you to all of you on behalf of Secretary Rumsfeld and myself and everyone in the Department of Defense, and indeed, I think everyone in the Washington capital area.
It's now my great pleasure to be able to present the National Capital Area Campaign with a symbolic representation of our $12 million contribution to this year's Combined Federal Campaign.