The season of giving begins next week for servicemembers and federal employees. From Sept. 1 to Dec. 15, the Combined Federal Campaign of Southeastern North Carolina will be holding its annual fundraising drive to provide an opportunity for federal civilian, postal and military employees to donate to local, national and international non-profit organizations.

“Every federal organization in 17 counties participates in the Southeastern North Carolina CFC,” said Dan Russell, CFCSENC director. “Fort Bragg is the largest donor base in the region.”

With nearly 22,000 charities to choose from, there is something for everyone, Russell said. It’s just a matter of becoming educated on the many charitable organizations available.

“We’re in our own city at Fort Bragg and don’t always know what is happening outside the gate,” he said.

There are organizations that have an impact on many lives at Fort Bragg. Russell said non-profits such as the cerebral palsy clinic with 40 military kids, or the American Red Cross, which sends out Red Cross messages to servicemembers, and the environmental agencies that protect land and wildlife are doing work that benefit so many people.

When deciding which charity to donate to, Russell said to think about what you’re interested in, where you live, or a charity that impacts your life. Do you know someone with breast cancer? Are environmental issues important to you? Are you an animal lover? Donating to charities that are regionally based can also help people narrow their choice.

For Russell, giving to the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society is important to him because he and his Family have been personally affected by heart disease and cancer.

“The CFC makes a difference and people need to connect with a charity that is important to them,” he said.

People can search organizations through the CFC brochure they will receive from their department CFC representative or online at www.senccfc.org. Online searches can be refined by keyword, location and category.

This year’s campaign goal is $1.75 million. Last year the CFCSENC raised $1.5 million of its $2 million goal.

Each year the CFC federal board for the region sets the goal, Russell said. The board takes into consideration factors such as the operational tempo of the installation, the number of personnel who are deployed and the number of people who will physically be on post during the campaign season.

Russell explained that there is only a 16 percent participation in the campaign in the SENC region and said he is not sure why more people are not participating. Maybe people were not asked or it was not a priority, he said.

“Every servicemember and federal employee must be given the opportunity to donate if they wish to do so. It is not a requirement to give, but the opportunity must be given,” he said. “Charities are there to help others. If you can give people a reason to give, they’ll give.”

Units or organization that would like Russell to give a presentation about donating and educating the organization on the CFC can call him at 396-3660 for more information.

Additionally, anyone who donates more than $300 will receive a thank you gift and recognition.

Each unit and organization on post is assigned a CFC representative who will provide forms and a registry of charitable organizations. Contributions can be a lump sum or monthly contributions and can be made in cash, check or through payroll deduction. The CFCSENC does not use MyPay for donations.

Russell said Fort Bragg contractors who are interested can also donate, but only using the lump sum option with cash or check. They can donate through the CFC representative assigned to the federal organization they work with.

The CFCSENC will kick off this year’s campaign with a golf invitational on Sept. 9. See page 2D for details. The event will also play host to various non-profit organizations that will have booths with information about their respective charities.

Thermometers marking the campaigns donation progress will be placed around post and can also be viewed at the Southeastern North Carolina CFC website at www.senccfc.org as well as the front page of the Paraglide.

For more information about the CFCSENC, visit www.senccfc.org/ or call 396-3660.

“This is my 22nd campaign,” Russell said. I always told myself if I didn’t believe in it I wouldn’t do it. I still believe in the good of it and I know I’m helping someone because of what I do.”