Tuesday, 18 December 2018 21:34

Employees raise nearly $1 million for CMC

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Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña dunks Finance Director Tantri Emo for the Dunk the Director CMC fundraiser. Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña dunks Finance Director Tantri Emo for the Dunk the Director CMC fundraiser. Photo by David Smith

The Combined Municipal Campaign pledge numbers are in, and city employees proved they can reach deeper in their hearts and pockets to support more than 750 charitable organizations. 

The 2019 CMC Campaign, “We Rise by Lifting Others,” raised $959,580 in pledged payroll deductions, department fundraisers and contributions made directly to organizations registered with the CMC. 

Contributions exceeded the citywide goal of $764,000 and exceeded last year’s campaign, which reached approximately $850,000 in pledges. The citywide participation rate was 73 percent. 

CMC Chair Jennifer Cobb said she was surprised and impressed with both contributions and participation. In the spring, the CMC will recognize department CMC teams and directors, as well as the 223 employees in the Above and Beyond Club, a designation for employees who pledged 1 percent or more of their income. Houston Public Works can boast the most generous employees this year, with 36 Above and Beyond Club members, followed by Houston Public Library with 25 and Human Resources with 20.

“This year, 20 out of 25 departments exceeded their fundraising and/or participation goals,” Cobb said. “Despite the uncertainty of the current budget climate, city employees showed the depth of their support for CMC. These are the highest numbers we’ve seen over the last three years, and that says a lot about the generosity of our employees.” 

Human Resources Director Jane Cheeks said the campaign’s success is a testament to employees’ character and commitment to public service.

“The Combined Municipal Campaign was a phenomenal success this year, and next year will be even better,” Cheeks said. “We’ve seen an upward trend in our pledges and participation over the last couple years. Our employees took our theme, ‘We rise by lifting others,’ to heart, and continue to embrace the giving spirit. Despite the challenges we face, CMC events allow us to come together as a city with a common purpose.” 

Payroll deduction pledges may boost fundraising totals, but the department fundraisers drive participation and make the month of October a little more fun and a lot tastier, Cobb said.

“We had some really fun and creative fundraisers this year,” Cobb said. “Dunk the Director featuring directors from HR, GSD, Finance and HPW was a huge hit. The city-wide talent show drew new performers from across the city, and it’s building buzz for next year. Parks and Solid Waste sold out their annual golf tournaments. And of course, the basketball tournament was my personal favorite.” (Cobb was the player-coach on the HR basketball team.)

“The Office of Business Opportunity had one of the most creative fundraisers when they set up a photo studio in 611 Walker, and offered professional headshots to employees,” Cobb said. “The food fundraisers are always popular and hard to resist. GSD sold out their BBQ fundraiser, and so did HR’s chicken and waffles and BBQ sales. Houston Public Library had their annual fall festival and Houston Public Works had a rummage sale. The citywide online auction did well, raising over $8,000 and people super were excited about all the creative baskets.”