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Stating their case: giving fair launches 2009 Combined Federal Campaign.

A wide-ranging group of almost 20 charities nearly filled the Harry S Truman Building's Exhibit Hall in October for the "giving fair" that launched the Department's 2009 Combined Federal Campaign.

The annual campaign raises donations from federal employees for more than 4,000 nonprofit organizations, including schools and charitable groups, which each have a unique number in the CFC's 2009 Catalog of Caring, available at www.cfcnca.org. Employees can give to one or several of the nonprofits by means of a lump-sum donation or a payroll deduction.

The campaign runs through mid-December, and employees will be approached shortly by volunteers who will have the catalog and pledge forms. In the 2008 campaign, the Department raised $2.195 million, with more than 3,711 donors participating.

Many CFC charities, such as the American Red Cross and Sierra Club Foundation, are widely recognized, but the charities that were staffing tables at the Exhibit Hall fair were typically less well-known.

Some were small enough that their tables were staffed by their organization's very founder. That was the case with the Academic Empowerment Foundation, Inc. (CFC #91829), founded 20 years ago by Andrew E. Edwards after spending 20 years in the military and 20 years as a bus driver. His foundation provides tutoring for the Scholastic Aptitude Test and other financial assistance aimed at helping lower-income high school students in the Washington, D.C., area get into college.

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Two groups focusing on public safety had displays. One, the Alliance for Consumer Education (CFC #12104), works to fight the spread of infectious diseases in homes and to prevent the inhalation of substances such as computer keyboard cleaner by youths seeking to get high. Some young people fill plastic bags with the gases in spray products such as whipped cream or keyboard dust remover--the slang term is "dusting"--and inhale them, damaging their bodies and risking addiction, said Alliance intern Alyssa Jones. As many as 1,400 products can be abused in this way, she said.

The other safety-oriented nonprofit was the Home Safety Council (CFC #48169), which educates the public to prevent home injuries, burns or suffocation. For instance, if a home's water heater is set to 140 degrees, a child in a bathtub who mistakenly turns the hot tap fully on can receive third-degree burns, said the group's development officer, Jon D. Lyles. The group advises setting water heaters no higher than 120 degrees.

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The group said a $50 donation can help a firefighter receive Web-based safety training, and $100 can provide disaster preparedness kits to 10 at-risk families.

Two ethnic-oriented nonprofits at the fair were the National Italian American Foundation and the Institute for Black Charities, an umbrella group (CFC #26261) representing 28 charities in areas ranging from mentoring to environmentalism. Some of the group's charities offer scholarships. Others assist victims of disasters. One lent aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina, for instance.

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The National Italian American Foundation (CFC #12280) sponsors Italian-American students who have never traveled to Italy, allowing them to study and discover their roots there. It also brings Italian youths to the United States. The group's development associate, Rachel Salerno, said the latter service has been especially important in the wake of the earthquake that hit L'Aquila this year and left 40,000 people living in tents, with many buildings, including those at the university, destroyed. The group has brought 32 Italian students to study in the United States with plans for more, she said.

Also at the fair were several environmental groups, an Alexandria homeless shelter, the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CFC #45958) and a charity, the Dwayne S. Brown Foundation Inc. (CFC #26716), that serves D.C. area families and people affected by AIDS.

The lunch-hour charity fair featured several raffles, including one for a dinner for two at a local restaurant and another for a chance to spend a day experiencing several fun aspects of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

The author is deputy editor of State Magazine.
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Title Annotation:2009 Combined Federal Campaign
Author:Warner, Ed
Publication:State Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2009
Words:672
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