In just two months, City of Houston employees will choose from over 900 nonprofit agencies to donate to as part of the 2021 “Give & Grow” Combined Municipal Campaign.
The CMC is scheduled to start on Oct. 1.
The hugely popular annual event welcomes three new independent agencies to the roster of nonprofits. USMC Toys for Tots (agency code 2890), Firefighter Protection Fund (agency code 2891) and Papillon Empowerment (agency code 2892), join this fall’s campaign.
While things will look a little different due to COVID-19, department teams are still optimistic that employees will participate in the various fundraising efforts scheduled to take place.
“City employees have been asked before to give during a tough time, pledging a little over a million dollars during the 2018 ‘Give a Little Peace’ CMC just after Hurricane Harvey destroyed parts of the city,” said FMD CMC coordinator Keysha Grayson. “I know we will come together this time around and give just as generously.”
Still, the pandemic is making its presence felt. One difference to this year’s campaign is that organizers will introduce CMC agencies to COH employees in a new way. The CMC Agency Fair, which is usually held at Hermann Square Park in conjunction with the Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market, will now be virtual. Instead of employees visiting agencies around the Tranquility Pool in September, the HR Communications team plans to eblast videos of the nonprofits introducing themselves, their goals and missions, to employees’ inboxes.
The online auction, one of the CMC’s main fundraisers, will remain the same. Donations will be limited to gift cards, certificates, memberships and the like. No clothing, shoes or permeable items will be accepted. Fans of the auction may be happy to know that credit and debit cards will be accepted this year, largely to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 through cash exchange.
CMC organizers are working with the Controller’s Office and HR Director Jane Cheeks to create and implement contactless, cashless payment procedures for all department fundraisers. Although this was intended to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, it also is a step toward modernization.
Food sale fundraisers will also look different this year. Sponsors will presell more food options and offer delivery or pick-up alternatives to the traditional open seating availability. The addition of social distancing markers, change trays,and plastic shields at payment locations, as well as the required masks, gloves and hairnets, will also be applied.
One thing that won’t change is the sale of CMC shirts and bags. CMC swag will also include masks with the “Give & Grow” logo. Contact your department coordinator to place an order. The deadline to order is Friday, Aug. 14.
The CMC is an annual drive of city employees to contribute to charitable organizations of their choice through payroll deductions and fundraising events like food sales, activities and competitions.