American Farmland Trust On The Campaign Trail

Ann aft

 

What is your cause for the world? “Show Some Love” was this year’s slogan for the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). For several years, American Farmland Trust (AFT) has participated in the CFC through EarthShare. For those of you who are unaware, the CFC is the official workplace giving campaign of the federal government. The mission is to promote and support philanthropy of many different organizations that improve the quality of life for all. In the past 55 years, federal employees contributed more than $8 billion through regional CFC’s across America. Alongside this, for the amount of time American Farmland Trust has been involved with the CFC, we have seen a dramatic increase in our donations.

This year, Annual and Special Giving Coordinator, April Ann Opatik, tabled at ten different events hosted in many of the federal workplaces in the National Capital Area. April started her first tabling experience at the Pentagon back in October, 2016.

Being new to the area and coming from a rural town in Wisconsin, I was very grateful to have the experience I did tabling at these events. It allowed me to see many parts of the D.C. area. My first experience started at the Pentagon, which is somewhere I have always wanted to visit. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that I had my trusty stuffed-animal sidekicks to aid me along the way. There were about 15 different charities whose mission and goals encompassed from providing housing for the homeless to training and raising service dogs for those with disabilities. I set up the table with a green No Farms No Food table cloth, spread-out our info pamphlets, our three stuffed-animal mascots, and offered a few different swag items. This event was raffling off a fun-filled basket, and if one wanted a chance at winning it they had to stamp a paper ticket from each charity table. It was not only a wonderful way to get the employees involved, but it also allowed me to feel comfortable talking about AFT’s mission and goals. Many of the employees were of official title in the military and a bit intimidating. Surprisingly, this feeling disappeared as soon as I found out that many of them came from farming backgrounds! One man, in particular, shared the story of his dad growing up on a sugar cane farm. The man was only a few years from retirement and it was his dream to get back into farming. I made sure to give him AFT’s No Farm No Food bumper sticker and a personal business card just in case he needed future guidance and assistance with farming. Needless to say, my first event was a success and I couldn’t wait until the next CFC event. Coming to a close on this year’s CFC events, I couldn’t be happier with how they all went. Between my first and last events, I made many small presentations, networked with individuals, and answered a wide array of questions.

Ending it on a good note, my last event was at the US Housing and Urban Development Department, and it featured classic holiday tunes, more amazing charities, and a cheerful, well-organized atmosphere.

I learned many things at these events, answered interesting questions, and gained even more passion for the work I am doing. Many of the people I spoke with were familiar with us but unaware of what we exactly did. Connecting with individuals on the importance of farms and food was my goal throughout all of these events; I feel confident to say that many individuals agree with our mission. Overall, these events concluded with a large success in networking, solidifying AFT’s relationship with Federal employees, and entertaining many with the cuteness of stuffed farm-animals.

If you are interested in learning more about the CFC and are a Federal employee, consider donating to American Farmland Trust, CFC #10631. If you have a hard time deciding, One Gift to EarthShare is shared between all the environmental organizations under EarthShare, including us. If you want more information regarding this, please visit: http://www.earthshare.org/cfc.html. Thank you to all that have already donated, thinking about donating, or those who simply support our cause and mission.

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