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News Release

Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Contact: Brendan LaCivita
Tel: 202-606-2402

Federal Employees and Agencies Immediately Respond to Special Solicitation Authority for Tsunami Victims

"In times of need, America's compassionate federal civil servants never fail to respond."

Washington, D.C. - Federal employees are moving rapidly to make use of special workplace solicitation rules authorized last week by U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kay Coles James enabling federal employees to assist victims of last week's earthquake and tsunami in South Asia (see attached memorandum). James' authorization allows agency heads to promote charitable giving among employees and to communicate to employees the contact information of organizations providing disaster relief.

"In times of need, America's compassionate federal civil servants never fail to respond," James stated. "Federal employees possess a deep and abiding concern for others, as demonstrated both by their public service and their personal generosity over the years in times of flood, fires and other traumatic events such as the terror attacks of 9/11. The federal team is acting quickly to support both victims and first responders overseas."

Within one week, initial reports indicate the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, Department of State, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Education, General Services Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Merit Systems Protection Board have responded by establishing special solicitation campaigns of their own or engaging in other activities to raise awareness of the need for tsunami disaster relief. Multiple other federal agencies have inquired about what they can do to provide disaster relief. Outside the Washington, D.C. area many agencies also are preparing their special work place solicitations, including Long Island, New York and Massachusetts branches of the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Miami, the Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas, the Department of Defense's Defense Supply Center in Richmond, Virginia, Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Federal Correctional Institute in Texas.

With the authorization, federal employees can make a one-time cash or check donation outside the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the only regularly scheduled charity drive authorized in the federal workplace.

"The special solicitation continues a tradition of charity among federal employees," added James. "The CFC provides an important vehicle to direct funds to organizations assisting victims and relief operations."

December 30, 2004





SUBJECT: Relief Efforts for Victims of the Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster

As a nation, we are all troubled by the recent earthquake and resulting tsunami in South Asia. The incredible devastation and significant loss of life are truly horrifying. The anguish is felt around the world and has set forth a remarkable response towards relief assistance. I share our President's expression of sympathy to the victims, their families and the affected countries.

Based on the recommendation by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), cash contributions are the most effective way to provide relief assistance. As such, I am authorizing department and agency heads to allow a special solicitation of Federal employees at the workplace to facilitate relief assistance within the Federal government. Such special solicitations will allow Federal employees to assist the ongoing relief efforts in South Asia with a one-time cash or check donation, outside the normal Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) procedures. USAID has provided a list of relief organizations and further information on its website at In addition, attached is a list of frequently asked questions on special solicitations and answers to assist departments and agencies.

I believe the special solicitations are the best option for Federal employees to provide relief assistance. However, a few local CFCs were previously approved for solicitation extensions and are still open. In those areas where the CFC has not yet been concluded, Federal employees wanting to contribute to the relief efforts still may contribute through their participation in the CFC. Federal employees, of course, can also participate by giving directly to charities involved in relief efforts, regardless of whether they participated in their local CFC.

If the CFC is still ongoing in a particular geographic area, Federal employees in that campaign area may contribute to the relief effort through either payroll deduction or by a direct cash or check contribution to a CFC participating relief organization. Federal employees can refer to the CFC national/international list to identify charitable organizations that may be providing relief efforts. The list can be accessed online at or Federal employees can refer to their local CFC brochure/catalogue for the national/international list. Donors are encouraged to contact organizations prior to donating funds to ensure that relief efforts are being conducted by the organization. Pledge cards should be turned in as quickly as possible to your Agency keyworker or coordinator for processing.

If the CFC has already closed in a particular area and the Federal employee's agency does not conduct a special solicitation, Federal employees can still donate directly to relief organizations. I encourage Federal employees to contact relief organizations directly or visit their websites if the other options are not available.

I encourage departments and agencies to contact OPM's Office of CFC Operations to let us know about any special solicitation efforts, to allow us to assist you in the development and implementation of such efforts, and to respond to questions about the special solicitation donation process. The Office of CFC Operations can be contacted at (202) 606-2564 or at

I greatly appreciate your efforts in allowing your employees this opportunity to assist those so greatly in need, and to show again the generous and caring character of Federal employees throughout the Nation.


cc: Chief Human Capital Officers
Human Resources Directors

- end -

OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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