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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

Combined Federal Campaign Kicks Off for 2016

Collins sings and plays guitar with Austin under a large tent.

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins (l) sings the National Anthem with NCATS director Dr. Christopher Austin at the CFC Kickoff on Sept. 28.

Photo: Ernie Branson

Joellen Austin

Joellen Austin, NIDA executive officer, enjoyed her “best birthday ever” at the kickoff.

Photo: Ernie Branson

Woman plays with pups

A representative of Hero Dogs plays with pups at the event.

Photo: Ernie Branson

Several people staff info tables under a big tent.

Representatives of charitable organizations staff info tables as CFC kicks off at NIH.

Photo: Ernie Branson

A little rain did not dampen the spirits of hundreds of people gathered under a tent in front of Bldg. 1 on Sept. 28 to kick off the 2016 NIH Combined Federal Campaign, led this year by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The annual fundraising launch featured NIH leadership, a guest speaker from The Theatre Lab, exhibits by more than 30 charities and half a dozen local food trucks.

The St. John’s College High School color guard opened the event with the presentation of colors, which was followed by a performance of the National Anthem by NIH director and campaign co-chair Dr. Francis Collins, who played guitar, and Dr. Christopher Austin, director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. 

Joellen Austin, NIDA executive officer, provided welcoming remarks and thanked coordinators, deputy coordinators and keyworkers for their help with this year’s campaign. Collins noted it was Austin’s birthday, to which she replied it was her “best birthday ever” to be able to share it with the enthusiastic group, many of whom were wearing light blue to show spirit and highlight this year’s “Show Some Love” CFC color theme.  

Dr. Nora Volkow

NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow’s institute is the lead for this year’s campaign, whose goal is $2.24 million.

Photo: Ernie Branson

NIDA director and campaign co-chair Dr. Nora Volkow took the stage to thank everyone for their enthusiasm and support and emphasized that, through the CFC, we can show our generosity and demonstrate how “we are the institute of hope.” Volkow also mentioned that last year, NIH employees contributed more than $2.3 million—the largest contributing agency within HHS—to benefit the more than 20,000 local, national and international charities participating in the campaign. She encourages NIH to beat that fundraising amount this year. 

Collins spoke about the importance of the cherished tradition of making a positive impact on the lives of many people. He closed his remarks with, “Come on everybody, let’s Show Some Love.”

Guest speaker at the event was Deb Gottesman, co-founder and co-executive director of The Theatre Lab. She gave a presentation about how theater education can transform lives. She mentioned that one of her organization’s highlights is to hold monthly theater workshops and events at the Children’s Inn at NIH. 

Following the presentations, attendees were able to have lunch, visit the Charity Fair tables and talk with representatives from dozens of charities, including the American Cancer Society, Mercy Health Clinic, Whitman-Walker Health, Aid for Africa, Global Impact, A Wider Circle and many other organizations.

The CFC is the largest and most successful workplace fundraising drive in the world. The goal for NIH is to donate $2.24 million this year. Giving is easy and every dollar counts.

The deadline to donate to your favorite charities is Dec. 15. For more information on upcoming CFC events, links to charities and how to donate, visit the NIH CFC web site at

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