Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Combined Fund Drive Leadership Breakfast
September 11, 2003

Good morning. I am pleased to be here this morning.

Today is the anniversary of one of our nation’s most significant days. Later this afternoon, I will mark this anniversary by honoring “Washington’s Heroes” at a ceremony at Camp Murray. We will be recognizing some of our state’s most heroic individuals. Men and women who serve in our armed forces and embody the spirit of our state.

And this morning I want to recognize some of Washington’s heroes who may not be quite as visible as our military men and women, but who are just as much heroes. These are everyday heroes who are committed to helping those in need in our state. I am referring to the leaders and participants in our state’s Combined Fund Drive.

The Combined Fund Drive is a way to take action. It gives every state employee 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 be a hero, where we live and around the world. It gives us a chance to help strengthen communities and shape a better future.

I’d like to begin by saying “thank you” to some of the people who make this effort a success.

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.

And I know this will be the year we break the $5 million mark. I have a lot of faith and confidence in this group. And I have great confidence in the employees of our state. All it would take is $5 per month from each state employee to exceed $6 million in contributions!

My confidence is well-founded. The Combined Fund Drive has an outstanding history, stretching back nearly two decades. In the past 18 years, state employees have contributed over $57 million to charities. The $4.8 million raised last year went to 1700 different charities all over the world. That effort sounds impressive enough.

But I don’t really know how one puts 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 can 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. These are tough economic times. It has never been more important for us to try to help others. It has never been more important to have a way of helping 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 every state employee a chance to help. Let’s leave here today committed to helping people become the citizens they want and need to be.

Good luck—and let’s have the most successful Combined Fund Drive ever!

Thank you.

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