Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Combined Fund Drive Leadership Breakfast
September 10, 2002

Good morning.

It is a pleasure to join you today. I’d like to begin by saying “thank you.” Thank you, Tom Haines, State Committee Chair, and the rest of the Committee, and also Randy Ryan and the staff. Thank you for running the best state-managed fund drive in the nation. Thank you to the many agency managers and leaders here this morning for doing such a great job in leading by example. Thank you for being such enthusiastic supporters of the Washington State Combined Fund Drive. Thank you for doing such a great job in raising $4.8 million last year. Finally, thank you for breaking the $5 million mark this year.

I realize that we’re just kicking things off this morning. But I have a lot of faith and confidence in this group. I have great confidence in the employees of our state.

My confidence is with good reason. The Combined Fund Drive has an outstanding history, stretching back nearly two decades.

In the past 15 years, state employees have contributed over $51 million to charities. The $4.8 million raised last year went to 1600 different charities all over the world. That’s impressive.

But I don’t really know how to put a true dollar value on that effort. How do you measure lives that are saved when medicine is made possible by these dollars? To the person who has been given a chance to keep on living, the gift goes well beyond dollars. How do you measure the value of helping to preserve something as irreplaceable as the rainforest? Or the value of shelter on a cold winter’s night? Or the value of teaching a person to read? How do you measure the second chance these contributions make possible by giving help to the helpless and hope to the hopeless?

Thanks to you and to Washington state employees, our state is number one in giving for comparably sized states.

The CFD is seen as a model because it is managed within our state structure rather than contracted out. With such options as payroll deduction and the “high five program,” we make it easy for people to give. And only 7% of the funds raised are spent on printing materials, training, and auditing the contributions. That’s outstanding.

But this year, the fund means even more. Some of you may remember our gathering last year. It was just two days after the tragic events of September 11th.

One year later, we still struggle with the meaning of those tragic events. We have seen a surge in patriotic expression. But I’m not sure we have seen an equal surge in action.

The Combined Fund Drive is a way to take action. It gives everyone who contributes a chance to help, a chance to do something that makes a difference. It gives us all a chance to take positive steps to make a difference, where we live and around the world. It gives us a chance to help strengthen communities and shape a better future.

This year is unique. In spite of tough economic times, it has never been more important for us to try to help others—and the Combined Fund Drive shows us the way. As we launch this year’s Combined Fund Drive, let’s make it our mission to give everyone a chance to help. Let’s leave here today committed to helping our employees become the citizens they want and need to be.

Good luck—and thanks in advance for the most successful Combined Fund Drive ever! Thank you.

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