Tony Poleo, Defense Logistics Agency’s director of finance, used these words (borrowed from English playwright John Heywood) to kick off the 2015 Combined Federal Campaign Awards Ceremony, Feb. 10 at the McNamara Headquarters Complex, where senior leaders and guest speakers gathered to thank DLA employees for their hard work and generosity — and pass the CFC torch for next year.
“It’s important to recognize that the generous donations that we made to charities we support will improve the quality of life for many,” said Poleo, who served as the 2015 CFC vice chair.
DLA Vice Director Ted Case noted that even though DLA overall did not achieve its agency-wide monetary goal, “across the nation, donations at DLA still made a difference.” In fact, the National Capitol Region exceeded its goal by $100,000, Case noted.
Anthony DeCristofaro, director of the Communications and Engagement Office at DoD Washington Headquarters Services, offered a quote from poet Robert Browning as perspective on the importance of setting difficult goals: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” (“Andrea del Sarto,” 1855.)
Though DLA’s reach might have been lofty for 2015, its grasp was enough to raise more than $321,000, Case noted, with an average annual donation of over $647 — earning the agency a CFC Merit Award.
In addition, Case said, various organizations within the agency met or exceeded their goals to earn special CFC unit awards:
Merit Award (50 percent employee participation or $125 per capita gift):
• Naval Supply Systems – Energy
• DLA Logistics Operations
• DLA Information Operations
• DLA Acquisition Operation
Chairman’s Award (67 percent employee participation or $225 per capita gift):
• DLA Human Resources
• DLA Joint Reserve Forces
President’s Award (75 percent employee participation or $275 per capita gift):
• DLA Strategic Plans and Policy
DLA Strategic Plans and Policy raised more than $14,000 — more than triple its goal, said Case.
DeCristofaro noted that goal setting is part science and part art. “As big budgets get tighter … it rolls downhill to all our microbudgets and our own families,” he said. “We’re raising money in a tough environment.” Because of this, he said, “it’s important to look beyond the numbers.”
Helping the audience do just that was guest speaker Ginger Miller, a Navy veteran who became homeless after leaving military service — yet went on to found her own nonprofit, Women Veterans Interactive, aimed at helping other veterans avoid homelessness, drug abuse, domestic violence and suicide.
Miller described how what may seem like a modest donation can mean a great deal to a small nonprofit. She recalled how her first year as a CFC organization brought her group $8,000 in donations. “For nonprofits like ours, it’s huge,” she said. “It’s more than just the stroke of a pen.”
Miller recounted how both she and her husband, a Marine infantryman with posttraumatic stress disorder, struggled to transition into civilian life in the early 1990s. At the time, the only PTSD counseling groups were for Vietnam veterans, whose experience and outlook may differ from those of younger veterans, Miller said.
Unemployment and homelessness often take away from the pride and self-worth a veteran derives from his or her service, Miller said.
Because of this need, contributions such as DLA’s are especially valuable. “It’s so important to continue to give,” she noted. “And the great thing is, you’re having fun while you’re doing it,” she noted, pointing out the various fundraisers such as car shows, silent auctions and pie-in-the-face events. Because of such fundraisers, “ I can continue my mission,” Miller said.
The ceremony concluded with the passing of the book, a tradition in which the hefty CFC guidance binder is passed inside a large, gift-wrapped box to the head of the agency leading the campaign next year — in this case, Brad Bunn, director of DLA Human Resources.
“Thank you all for this,” said Bunn. “And now I better get to work.”