Ten years ago it was $3 million. Five years ago it was $4 million. Last year, the Washington State Combined Fund Drive (CFD) had its highest level of contributions in the program’s history with more than $5 million going to about 1,900 charities. Washington State University employees gave $165,473 of it.

This year, CFD celebrates its 20th year in service. The 2004 WSU drive kicked off on Sept. 14 at the Lewis Alumni Centre, with speeches by President V. Lane Rawlins, Executive Director of Alumni Relations Tim Pavish, and representatives of the CFD.

“Many WSU administrators, as well as President Rawlins, have made this program something they not only support, but also seek support for,” said Theresa MacNaughton, WSU CFD campaign co-coordinator.

CFD began in Washington State in 1984 as a

means of streamlining the numerous fundraising campaigns occurring throughout the year. The program allows state employees to use payroll deduction to donate money from each paycheck to a charity of their choice. The employees decide the donation amount and duration.

“There is no minimum or maximum donation amount,” said Karee Boone, WSU CFD campaign co-coordinator. “People can give as much as they can afford.”

Another benefi t of using payroll deduction is it allows more money to be donated to the charity, since all of the money received is placed in a single account to gain interest. When the money is ready to be distributed, about 105 percent of peoples’ contributions are actually going to their chosen charity, MacNaughton said.

Select charity, manage account online

For payroll deduction, donors select the preferred charity from more than 1,900 listed in the CFD Charity Guide. The guide is available online at http://hr.dop.wa.gov/cfd or from your department representative. Charities not listed can be written in.

And, in an attempt to increase efficiency and lower costs, CFD has created an online option allowing donators to access and manage their account via the Internet.

“Technology and convenience are very important aspects of how the world runs today,” said MacNaughton. “It is great we can offer a new option that meets these requirements and also helps the CFD.”

The online option will give employees more control over donations, allow 24-hour access to their records, limit paper usage and more.

But, donations don’t have to be made through payroll deduction on each paycheck. Employees also can choose a one-time payroll deduction, write a personal check, or volunteer to help with the CFD campaign or any charity.

“Since volunteers conduct the annual drive, the charities usually don’t have to,” Boone said. “This means more of the contribution helps the causes people believe in.”

Based on the number of state employees in Washington, the CFD is the number one charity campaign in the nation. So far, state employees have contributed more than $51 million to communities in Washington and around the world.