More than 450 NIH employees gathered under gray skies and white tents in front of Bldg. 1 to support the NIH Combined Federal Campaign at the Kickoff Comeback event on Nov. 7.
Organized by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, this year’s lead institute for the CFC, the event was originally scheduled to take place the day after the government shutdown began. The CFC committee at NIAAA rescheduled the event as soon as the government reopened to keep momentum for the campaign building.
Leading the CFC kickoff were (from l) Keith Lamirande, executive officer, NIAAA; Dr. Kenneth Warren, acting director, NIAAA; Patty Stonesifer, president and CEO of Martha’s Table; and NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, who inspired the crowd to continue giving even in a tough year.
Photo: Ernie Branson
The quick turnaround in rescheduling the event reflects this year’s CFC campaign theme “Make It Possible.”
“It’s a great theme that represents how every contribution you make helps a charity create a real difference in people’s lives and for causes around the world,” explained Keith Lamirande, NIAAA executive officer and campaign manager for the NIH CFC, who also hosted the kickoff presentations.
“It’s this same spirit that inspired us to make this kickoff event possible—and today’s great turnout shows the very real resolve of the NIH community to continue supporting the CFC despite the challenges presented by the shutdown,” he said.
NIH director Dr. Francis Collins also thanked the crowd for persevering despite the shutdown.
“Our sense of ‘we’re going to get back to work’ has never been greater,” he said, encouraging staff to keep the energy of the day’s event going throughout the campaign.
Collins also emphasized that any staff member can contribute to the CFC. “Whether you’re a manager, a computer tech, a scientist, an administrator—your contribution counts,” he said.
To keep donations flowing despite the interruption of the shutdown, the Office of Personnel Management agreed to extend the campaign by a month, so employees now have until Jan. 15, 2014, to make a contribution. This will help NIH meet its goal of $2.2 million for the year.
Dr. Kenneth Warren, acting director of NIAAA, is optimistic that NIH will reach this year’s goal. In his remarks to the crowd, he emphasized “the long tradition of giving” at NIH and its role as “the largest contributor to the CFC within both the Department of Health and Human Services and in Montgomery County.”
He encouraged staff to continue this tradition and “bring renewed enthusiasm, inspiration and generosity” to the campaign.
The event’s keynote speaker was Patty Stonesifer, president and CEO of local charity Martha’s Table and a founding CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Martha’s Table provides food, clothing and educational programs for the poor in Washington, D.C.
Stonesifer, who described herself as “an NIH fan,”
emphasized the parallel missions of her organization
“We share the value that everyone deserves the
opportunity for a healthy and productive life,”
Her agency, like hundreds of others, “relies on the
CFC to fund the basics we need to ensure education
and opportunity” for the many people it serves. She
explained that $1 out of every $6 they raise comes
from workplace campaigns such as the CFC.
While acknowledging this is a hard year to give, she
thanked employees for “the energy and commitment
you’re already bringing to the campaign.”
That excitement was also reflected in the event’s
charity fair, attended by more than 30 CFC charities.
Lauren Stabert, annual giving and special events
manager for the Children’s Inn at NIH, staffed a
table at the fair.
“CFC donations are our bread and butter. We rely
so heavily on CFC donations to help us provide so
many of the services for families of children who
are NIH patients. This is a great opportunity for us to get the word out about
who we are,” said Stabert.
The fair gives NIH’ers a chance to meet representatives of a wide range of organizations
they can choose to support.
“The charity fair is great because it really allows you to learn about organizations
that you may have never heard of before,” said Jun Moy, a grants specialist at
the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
Chris Browne, a program analyst at NIGMS, also found the charity fair helpful.
“I liked getting to talk directly to the charities and learning more about their
missions and how to get involved,” he said.
Participants also enjoyed a musical performance by the Sweater Set, a local folk
duo and two-time winner of a Washington Area Music Award.
Another big draw was the variety of D.C. area food trucks. Participants enjoyed
lunch and dessert from food trucks including Curley’s BBQ, Ledo Pizza, Holy
Crepes and Ben & Jerry’s.
“The whole atmosphere here—with the speeches and the music and everything—
it was great,” said Moy.
Margaret Williams, a loaned executive to the HHS CFC, agreed that “the event
was awesome and really kept our focus on where it needs to be, which is simply,
you always win when you give.”
Creative Costumes Mark CFC Halloween Fest
The Halloween spirit, the spirit of charitable giving and actual festive and ghoulish spirits in costume—all came together on Oct. 31 in (shall we say) spirited force for the R&W’s annual Halloween event to support the Combined Federal Campaign. More than 500 employees attended the gathering on the Bldg. 31 patio, hosted by R&W President Randy Schools, Kallie Wasserman and the R&W team.
Under a large tent, employees sampled food vendor goodies and visited charity tables sponsored by Special Love, Friends of the Clinical Center, Children’s Inn at NIH, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, Thurgood Marshall Academy, PetConnect Rescue and Bethesda Cares.
About 50 people came in costumes that added to the fun, fear and in some cases, hilarity.
||Furlough Swamp Monster (Shirley Flottum of OD)
Winners of the costume
of whom took on the
“furlough theme challenge,”
include: A classic
Plague Doctor, who
held that “The furlough
was like a plague on our
house” (Ron Neumann
of the Clinical Center);
Steinnagel of NICHD);
a Furlough Swamp
Monster (in charge of
our payslips!) (Shirley
Flottum of OD);Velma
from Scooby Doo (Verma
Walker of OD); the
G-nomes (Gloria Butler,
Jeanette Smith, Ellen Rolfes, Trevor Blake, Jackie
Felix, Jimmy Do of NHGRI); and the Furlough
Fortune Teller, who unfortunately was out of
work because she didn’t foresee the government
shutdown (Dana McCray of NINDS). For more
photos of costumed NIH’ers, visit cfc.nih.gov.
|Velma from Scooby Doo
(Verma Walker of OD)
|Above are (from l) Sharknado Kristin Steinnagel of NICHD, Furlough Fortune Teller
Dana McCray of NINDS and Plague Doctor Ron Neumann of the Clinical Center.
The G-nomes (from l) Gloria Butler, Anita
Whitehurst, Jeanette Smith, Ellen Rolfes, Trevor
Blake, Jackie Felix, Jimmy Do of NHGRI.
Photos: Bill Branson