The Washington Post

Report urges changes to federal charity program

A commission formed to mark last year’s 50th anniversary of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) has issued wide-ranging recommendations, some potentially controversial, designed to strengthen and improve the program.


The CFC is a fundraising vehicle for federal employees’ charitable giving. The Office of Personnel Management released the CFC-50 Commission report Friday.

Its 24 recommendations “range from opening the CFC to additional communities of potential donors to achieving greater efficiencies by taking better advantage of new technologies,” the commission co-chairmen, Thomas M. Davis III, a former Republican congressman from Virginia, and Beverly Byron, a former Democratic congresswoman from Maryland, said in a letter transmitting the report to OPM.

Some recommendations could have a significant, and perhaps controversial, impact on CFC’s structure. For example, the commission wants to shift “the burden of CFC costs from donors to participating charities.”

Another recommendation, to “consolidate PCFO [Principal Combined Fund Organizations] back-office functions” into regional centers or a national office would reduce the number of CFC middlemen. PCFOs provide administrative functions for local CFC campaigns.

“The Commission notes, with concern, the cost of the CFC is driven up significantly by having numerous PCFOs engaged in similar back-office functions like processing receipt and distribution of contributions,” the report said.

In a statement, OPM Director John Berry said: “We have already taken administrative actions in a number of areas addressed by the Commission. The Administration supports the direction of the recommendations and will consider regulatory changes as appropriate.”

Twitter: @JoeDavidsonWP

Previous columns by Joe Davidson are available at

Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about federal government and workplace issues that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.

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