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November 2, 2018
‘Sound Health,’ Community Spirit Inspire CFC Kickoff

Getting into the spirit of the kickoff were (from l) NCATS director Dr. Christopher Austin, NCATS Executive Officer Keith Lamirande, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts President Deborah Rutter and NIH director Dr. Francis Collins.
Getting into the spirit of the kickoff were (from l) NCATS director Dr. Christopher Austin, NCATS Executive Officer Keith Lamirande, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts President Deborah Rutter and NIH director Dr. Francis Collins.

A large and enthusiastic crowd gathered under a tent in front of Bldg. 1 on Oct. 9 to kick off the 2018 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). Led this year by NCATS, the campaign has a goal to “Show Some Love” by meeting or ideally exceeding $2.2 million in fundraising from NIH.

The event kicked off on a patriotic note as NCATS director Dr. Christopher Austin and colleagues Dr. Christine Colvis, Keith Lamirande and Cindy McConnell performed an a cappella version of The Star-Spangled Banner as the colors were presented by the St. John’s College High School color guard.

“The campaign theme of ‘Show Some Love’ is, in essence, our call to action to support the causes and organizations that we care about most passionately,” said Austin. “I am excited to be leading the campaign, especially because of the NIH community, which has a strong CFC tradition. NIH employees give generously, and together we have raised more than $2 million each year for the past 13 years.”

In the balmy early October sun, attendees sampled fare from local food trucks and vendors and visited with representatives from more than 30 organizations that will benefit from CFC giving. In all, more than 8,000 organizations are included in the online CFC catalog. NIH employees can donate to the campaign by visiting cfc.nih.gov.

“I always look forward to getting the annual CFC started with a bang,” said NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, who is co-hosting the 2018 campaign with Austin. “The Washington capital region is the biggest contributor to the national campaign and NIH is the biggest contributor to the Washington capital region, so we are the center of the center of the best.”

Austin (l) and colleagues (from l) Dr. Christine Colvis, Cindy McConnell and Lamirande sing the anthem.
Austin (l) and colleagues (from l) Dr. Christine Colvis, Cindy McConnell and Lamirande sing the anthem.

Collins also encouraged attendees to give early and often. “Don’t wait until the last minute to contribute! You always freak us out, wondering if we’re going to hit the goal. Please—you can give anytime!”

Attendees also heard words of inspiration from special guest Deborah Rutter, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

“Philanthropy is about partnership,” she said. “Philanthropy is about citizenship. We live in a very sacred place, and that’s why it’s so important that we come together and give. And individual giving is so important, because it’s about making a huge connection to our community.”

NIH and the Kennedy Center, in association with the National Endowment for the Arts, are partners in the Sound Health initiative, which is designed to explore the connections between music, health and wellness.

“There is still so much that is unknown about how music is processed by our brains, how it might impact human development and how, in some cases, it might be used as a medical intervention for patients with a variety of conditions,” Lamirande said.

Rutter, who said she “lives in the land of Kennedy quotes,” thought this one from the 35th U.S. President to be most fitting in the spirit of the CFC: “I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.”

Attendees visit with CFC charity representatives.
Attendees visit with CFC charity representatives.

PHOTOS: MARLEEN VAN DEN NESTE

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