Story and photos by Spc. Nathan Thome
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs
Before the three-hour Combined Federal Campaign kickoff began Tuesday, hundreds of community members packed the Special Events Center, interacting with representatives from various charitable organizations, visiting with local and national celebrities and enjoying a chili cookoff.
“It’s a great day to kick off our 51st annual CFC,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson. “This year, all of us have yet another opportunity to make a difference for those who need it most.”
Anderson encouraged attendees to donate to the campaign, continuing Fort Carson’s “great legacy of giving, caring and providing help to those in need.”
According to its website, CFC promotes and supports philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient and effective in providing federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for those in need.
“President John Kennedy started the campaign when federal employees got together and said they didn’t want to constantly be asked for donations by individual charities,” said Barbara Barfield, CFC director, Pikes Peak Region. “They decided to combine them into one campaign to ask for donations, one time a year.”
Barfield said that since 1961, more than $7 billion have passed through CFC to the charitable partners. The Pikes Peak region contains more than 3,000 nonprofit charities in the CFC. Nationally, CFC exceeds 100,000 charities.
“A lot of the money donated comes back to Fort Carson, but all of the charities have to provide human health and welfare, so in large, it goes to helping the people who need it,” said Barfield.
Last year, Fort Carson community members donated approximately $648,000. This year, CFC leaders have a goal to donate at least $750,000.
“I think Soldiers donate to charities in the CFC because the CFC does many great things,” said Pfc. Jordan Brasher, 110th Military Police Company, 759th MP Battalion.
Brasher said that there is a charity for almost everything, and he would donate to these charities because they stand for a greater cause.
To kick off the fundraiser, J.R. Martinez, former Soldier and motivational speaker, welcomed the crowd.
“There are a lot of great groups here,” he said. “Find something you’re passionate about, support it, speak up about it and continue to support it every single day.”
Martinez highlighted charities helping individuals adapt and overcome hardships, emphasizing that donors can be part of their recovery.
“It’s great to be here with every single one of you and to take part in this campaign and what’s happening here today, to be able to support these nonprofits,” he said. “All of these amazing groups have their own initiative, their own passion and their own desire to be able to help their cause.”