Once again the Gulf Coast area of the United States has been the target of a Hurricane. Hurricane Ike has caused severe damage, and our sympathies go out to those affected by this disaster. I want to remind you of the alternatives for Federal employees to provide the much needed immediate and long-term assistance to this area.
Federal employees may visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website at www.fema.gov/rebuild/recover/howtohelp.shtm. FEMA has provided instructions on how to provide immediate cash donations to help those affected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike on its website. The link shows how you can help and provides additional links to Government and philanthropic websites which include lists of charitable organizations identified as providing assistance directly in the affected areas. Many of these organizations are also national Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) participating charities.
Previously, I authorized advance disbursements through the CFC in response to Hurricane Gustav. I am providing this same opportunity for Hurricane Ike. Federal employees all over the country can find many worthwhile national charitable organizations providing disaster relief in the CFC brochures that will soon be distributed within the workplace. Federal employees can contribute through the CFC by cash, check or authorize payroll deductions. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has requested local campaigns to make advance distributions for any cash and check contributions to CFC organizations identified as providing Hurricane Gustav and Ike disaster relief in the affected areas. It is intended that these contributions will be distributed quickly in October and November 2008 by local campaigns to provide immediate assistance. Payroll deductions, while not immediate, are an important means of providing long-term assistance. Initial CFC contributions will not be made until at least April 1, 2009. Although giving through the CFC cannot be earmarked for Hurricane Gustav or Ike disaster relief, donor contributions will allow designated organizations to decide to use the funds towards the Hurricane Gustav and Ike disaster relief or to replenish their general funds for use in future disasters.
I encourage Departments and Agencies to inform their designated Agency CFC coordinators and keyworkers to provide donors with this information and the link to the FEMA website provided above to assist federal donors with identifying CFC participating charities providing relief services in the Gulf Coast area. If Departments and Agencies have any questions related to fundraising in support of hurricane victims, please contact OPM’s Office of CFC Operations at (202) 606-2564 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Federal employees have consistently led the way in responding to disasters and emergencies, whether it is through their federal service, volunteerism or monetary contributions. I believe this will be the case again and recommend that you be proactive in reaching out to your employees to encourage them to lead once again.
cc: Chief Human Capital Officers
Federal Executive Board Directors