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Relief and Reconstruction Efforts for Victims of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies
John Berry, Director
Relief and Reconstruction Efforts for Victims of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

As you know, Japan is facing one of its biggest crises since World War II. We all are deeply saddened by the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I join President Obama in extending my thoughts and prayers to the people of Japan and to the many Japanese-Americans whose families and loved ones were affected by this disaster.  

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has advised that cash contributions are the most effective way to provide relief assistance and fund the ongoing reconstruction effort. I therefore am authorizing department and agency heads to allow a special solicitation of Federal employees at the workplace to facilitate relief and reconstruction assistance for Japan. Through this special solicitation, Federal employees can make a one-time cash or check donation outside the normal Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) procedures. USAID has provided a list of relief organizations and related information on its website at  I have also attached a list of frequently asked questions to help your agency with its special solicitation.

I believe that a special solicitation is the best option for Federal employees to provide assistance through a workplace giving effort. However, employees may also give directly to charities involved in relief efforts regardless of whether they participated in their local CFC. Employees may contact organizations directly or visit their websites if the other options are not available. Donors should note there may be cases where a charitable organization receives more contributions than is needed for its relief efforts. In those instances, the organization may use the excess funds for other purposes. I encourage agencies to inquire about a charity’s policy when arranging fundraising events.

All special solicitation activities must conclude by July 31, 2011. I encourage you to contact OPM’s Office of CFC so we can help you develop your agency’s special solicitation and answer any questions you might have about this process. The Office of CFC can be contacted at (202) 606-2564 or at

I greatly appreciate your efforts to give employees this special opportunity to help those in need. I know that Federal workers will once again show their generosity and big hearts by providing much-needed relief assistance to the people of Japan.


cc: Chief Human Capital Officers
      Human Resources Directors