The Defense Department and other federal agencies hustled Thursday to restart Combined Federal Campaign activities as organizers voiced hope that the 16-day partial government shutdown would not take a toll on charity pledges.
“I don’t think this will have much of an impact at all,” Anthony DeChristofaro, special program manager at DoD’s voluntary campaign management office, said in an interview. “I know people are anxious to resume all kinds of things in their lives and this is one of them.”
The Defense Department, the government’s largest agency, had frozen all CFC activities Oct. 9 after determining it could not legally continue them during the shutdown. Just hours after President Obama signed a stop-gap spending bill reopening the government, DeCristofaro notified participants that the campaign was resuming.
“We wish you much success as you carry on a vigorous campaign to help those poeple who rely upon these local, national and international charities,” Chris Kapellas, deputy human resources director at the Pentagon’s Washington Headquarters Services, said in a follow-up memo to all DoD employees.
“Obviously, people are hurting from the long shutdown, but federal employees have been incredibly generous throughout the past,” said Kalman Stein, president and CEO of EarthShare, which runs the National Capital Area campaign, the nation’s largest regional CFC campaign. “The work continues, the need is there and we hope they recognize it.”
Throughout much of government, CFC activity ground to a halt during the shutdown as many agencies were reduced to skeleton staffs. The National Institutes of Health, for example, canceled a kickoff event that was supposed to feature charities, food trucks and an appearance from ABC News reporter Sam Donaldson, according to an agency announcement.
The Health and Human Services Department suspended its Washington-area campaign during the shutdown, but confirmed that with the government reopen the agency had resumed CFC activities.
This year’s campaign pledge period began Sept. 1 and will end Dec. 15.