More than 600 federal government leaders are expected to attend a kick-off event Wednesday morning in Washington for the 2012 Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area.

The combined federal campaign, which began Sept. 1 and continues through December 15, supports more than 4,400 approved charities serving local, national and international needs. Federal employees can get information about the charities and to make a donation through the campaign at

The combined federal campaign raised $272 million last year, and over the program’s 50 years, more than $7 billion has been donated.

At Wednesday’s leadership conference at the JW Marriott in Washington, participants will attend training sessions and review campaign goals.

Edward Gingold of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Lieutenant Commander Michael Edwards of the U.S. Coast Guard are to be honored as 2011 “Heroes of the Year” for their efforts during last year’s campaign.

The Office of Personnel Management last week directed federal agencies to encourage their employees to participate in the upcoming annual federal charity drive and allow them to use reasonable amounts of working time for related activities.