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Combined Virginia Campaign kicks off An interview with Virginia Tech Combined Virginia Campaign Chairman Karen Cronin

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 06 - September 28, 1995

SPECTRUM: What is the CVC?

Cronin: The CVC is the Combined Virginia Campaign. It is a voluntary charitable donation program for state employees. It is the only state-wide charitable fund-raising program for which payroll deduction is authorized. Even though it is centrally coordinated through Richmond, it has nothing to do with state government. It provides a chance for state employees to donate to local, state, national, and international charities by cash, check, or payroll deduction. By the way, this year's campaign at Virginia Tech runs from our kick-off on September 21 through November. Donations through payroll deduction begin in January.

SPECTRUM: What is the relationship between the CVC and the United Way?

Cronin: There is no relationship between CVC and the national United Way. However, all local United Ways in Virginia are CVC charities to which contributions can be designated. In addition, our local United Way (of Montgomery, Radford and Floyd) also acts as the Community Fund-Raising Organization and co-manages the campaign in the New River with a committee of state employees. I might add that last year, state employees in the New River area contributed more than 30 percent of the dollars pledged for the local United Way campaign. So I'd say we're important to them and in turn they help us a lot.

SPECTRUM: What is Virginia Tech's 1995 CVC goal?

Cronin: Our monetary goal is the same as last year: $210,000. We'd like to see an increase in participation this year, however. Last year our participation rate went down to 33 percent from 36 percent the year before and 39 percent in 1992. We did exceed our monetary goal by more than $4,000, which made us very happy.

SPECTRUM: Why is the goal the same as last year's?

Cronin: We have several reasons. First, we have fewer employees to solicit due to the WTA and faculty retirement incentives. Second, we are afraid that the new format of the directory may be so confusing that some people will just give up and not give. Every employee is being given the opportunity to give to every participating charity in the state. This makes the directory larger than usual and the charities are listed differently than in the past. We hope that people can adapt to the change; but we're afraid some people may give up on it. And finally, we're also afraid that some employees will take out their work-related frustrations on the CVC because it is a campaign that is going on at work.

SPECTRUM: But the two are not related, are they?

Cronin: No. But not everybody seems to know that. Some employees seem to think that NOT giving to the CVC somehow hurts the governor, the legislature, the dean, the president, their boss, whomever. Actually, NOT giving to the CVC only hurts the people who really need help from these charities and has no impact whatsoever on the governor, the dean, et al. So, if there's any message I could get across that would be it.

SPECTRUM: What about participation?

Cronin: Based on the survey we did last winter after last year's campaign-which had a 24.6-percent response rate, by the way-Tech employees give because they like to help people. I think some people may believe that they can't afford to give enough to make a big difference, so they don't give anything. That simply isn't true. I would like people who can't afford to give much to consider a payroll deduction of one dollar per pay period. It isn't much to you-less than one vending machine soft drink per week. And those $24 could be put to really good use for food, shelter, medicine, counseling-all kinds of helpful things, especially when combined with someone else's dollar a week. You can tell I'm a true believer. And I want everyone to know that I will be more than happy to answer questions, help them find their favorite charities in the directory, whatever. All they have to do is call, write, e-mail, visit me, or stop me on the street. My phone number is 1-8592; mail code is 0133; e-mail is kcronin@vt.edu; my office is in the Media Building.