Among the 278 new national and international charities that have made it through the Combined Federal Campaign's vetting process this year are USA Cares, a Radcliff, Ky.-based charity that has had far-reaching effects on military families.
USA Cares is not part of the military-related CFC federation of charities known as the Military, Patriotic and Service Organizations of America, so it's not as easy to find.
A complete list of the 278 national and international charities that are new to this year's Combined Federal Campaign
Many charities sign up for such federations as a way to raise their profile and boost contributions. But USA Cares is hardly the only charity to decide to go it alone; the USO and American Red Cross are among the organizations listed individually in this year's Combined Federal Campaign.
When a charity is comparatively well known, it may not need the extra shot in the arm that joining a federation can provide.
Barbra Yaw, a spokeswoman for USA Cares, said the group was able to qualify as an individual charity based on the amount of assistance it provides, and the number of locations across the country from which it provides it.
Since its founding in March 2003, USA Cares has received requests for assistance from more than 7,000 service members, representing more than 30,000 family members, Yaw said.
Through a partnership with the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, for example, USA Cares has saved 218 homes from foreclosure.
"That is 551 children with a roof over their heads, a roof they might have lost, while mommy or daddy is serving this nation," Yaw said. "That is an elementary school full of children."
The mortgage assistance program has provided $619,404 in aid, she said. But the effort goes beyond making mortgage payments.
"We help them figure out where the problem started so we can help them be more financially secure in the future," Yaw said.
The organization has helped provide more than $3 million in assistance to service members, including members of the National Guard and reserve, since it was founded.
It helps families with a wide variety of needs, whether they are having trouble making utility payments, or are short of money to buy food. USA Cares works with other local groups in a given area to help provide support to families. Through such work with these other organizations, the total amount of assistance USA Cares has helped steer toward military families is about $6 million.
The CFC number of USA Cares is 12359.
If you have a favorite charity to which you'd like to donate through CFC, you can find it in a couple of ways.
Additional information on charities' Web sites also can help donors make decisions about whether they want to donate to the charity. Many have financial information on their sites, as well as information about how they use donations.
The complete list of national/international charities in this year's CFC is online at https://www.opm.gov/cfc/07lists/index.asp">https://www.opm.gov/cfc/07lists/index.asp. You can get a list of the charities with or without a 25-word description, and you also have the option of getting that list by alphabetical order, or by numerical order based on the charity's five-digit identification number.
OPM issued a notice that three charities were mistakenly left out of this year's list: The Chromosome 18 Registry and Research Society (10291); Jews for Jesus (10876); and The Wildlife Society, Inc. (10247).
For information about local charities, you must contact officials at your local CFC campaign. You can find campaign contact information at http://www.opm.gov.cfc/Search/Locator.asp">http://www.opm.gov.cfc/Search/Locator.asp.
This year's local campaigns run over various times throughout the broader CFC period, but OPM has given local campaigns leeway to extend their donation drives through Jan. 15, if needed, because of changes to regulations governing the program and the implementation of permanent new 5-digit identifying codes for each charity.
OPM officials said they do not have an indication of how many will extend their campaigns, as they have left this to each area's own discretion.