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The Benefits of CFC - Beyond the "Money Issue"



It is clear that the majority of those who have voiced an opinion favor 
AMSAT's participation in the Combined Federal Campaign.  There are a few 
people with very passionate opposition.  It seems those who oppose this 
effort do so based on the following two positions:

1) AMSAT is not worthy of receiving CFC funds because we do not perform 
humanitarian services.

2) By accepting money from CFC, AMSAT would be denying money to other 
"worthy" organizations.

It believe it has been proven beyond question that AMSAT does qualify 
according to the Federal Regulations established by the OMB (Office of 
Management and Budget).  The educational services that we perform are more 
than sufficient justification as humanitarian.  Please dispel any notion that 
just because we won't be handing out sandwiches and blankets at a hurricane 
or flood that we're not philanthropic.  

So just how worthy is "worthy"?  This is a personal issue that each one of 
you must answer.  So we don't feed the hungry, search for a cure for cancer, 
or help homeless children.  Do we educate? Yes.  Do we promote international 
good will?  Yes.  Do we strive to provide public service and emergency 
communication?  Maybe not enough, but we can work on that!  Looking at the 
list of thousands of CFC organizations, it's clear AMSAT is at LEAST as 
worthy as most, certainly FAR more worthy that some (actually a LOT!).

Will AMSAT receive a gazillion dollars from CFC?  I doubt it!  The fact is 
that the vast majority of contributors DO specify who they want their money 
to go to.  That's fine.  There are some that just donate to the "general CFC 
fund" which is fairly distributed based on each organizations ratio of 
designated contributions.  

So what's the big deal?  Why bother some ask.  Well, there are several very 
good reasons.

1) PAYROLL DEDUCTION.  Any Federal worker will be able to contribute by 
allotment right from their paycheck.  AMSAT would get a check from CFC every 
month for these DESIGNATED contributions.  We would know how much to expect, 
simplifying accounting, and helping plan expenditures.  I can say absolutely 
that many Federal workers would NOT contribute to charities if they didn't 
have the ability to make it painless using CFC payroll deduction.  Personally 
I would never be able to write a large check once a year, but a small amount 
taken out of each check is not missed.  This will undoubtedly increase 
contributions to AMSAT.  MOST of these contributions would have been made to 
AMSAT anyway, directly.  Payroll deduction will promote new contributions.

2) All designated contributions made through CFC will help increase the 
amount that is received from the general fund.  Wouldn't it be nice if all 
P3D contributions had been made through CFC, and we received enough from the 
general fund to pay for a transponder or maybe the transportation expenses to 
the P3D launch site?  This is the largest single point of contention, 
accepting money from the general fund.  If enough people oppose this, then 
why not just tell CFC that we only will accept DESIGNATED contributions?  
That will make everyone happy and still keep the benefits of #1 above!  

3) As mentioned by Gunther, we might stir up a little corporate sponsorship 
CFC membership provides good publicity for FREE.  It also adds some 
additional credibility because it shows we ARE providing valuable 
humanitarian services.  

Finally, to the naysayers, I make the following point.  If AMSAT really ISN'T 
humanitarian and is, as some claim, unworthy of funding, then doesn't that in 
itself indicate a serious conflict with our stated goals and purpose.  Do you 
really believe that Hams go through all the trouble and expense to learn how 
to launch satellites and communicate from space solely for personal 
amusement?  As in anything that humans endeavor, there are the selfish and 
egotistical types that only want to show off and point their nose in the air. 
 Maybe there are some like that in AMSAT.  But don't we need to prove that 
the majority of AMSAT members DO want to promote the core values of Amateur 
Radio and uphold the long tradition of humanitarian service to the world?  If 
I'm wrong, and all AMSAT is about is calculating squint angles and noise 
figures just to satisfy personal egos and make as many satellite contacts as 
possible to get another award, then I propose we relinquish the sub-band back 
to ARRL to be used for worthwhile causes.  AMSAT can keep launching expensive 
toys to satisfy the elitist view, but move the transponders out of the 
Amateur Spectrum.

I say we take a slice of the CFC pie.  The large organizations won't miss the 
measly pittance AMSAT will get.  The small organizations won't suffer either 
because their share is tiny like ours anyway!  And SO WHAT if we take a few 
dollars away from groups like the American Canoe Association?  I'm sure the 
truly worthy causes will survive and flourish.  Maybe we will form some 
alliances with other organizations that open the door for international 
cooperation and mutual benefit. Wasn't AO-14 funded partially by a need to 
provide humanitarian service?

Finally, I PROPOSE that all funds we receive from the general fund go 
directly to promote and support those core values - public service, emergency 
communications, education, etc.  Let's develop ways to exploit our technical 
skills - maybe a small transponder on each bird dedicated to these efforts.  
Maybe some microsats dedicated to this?  Use the money to expand our 
educational efforts.  

I think this is a win-win situation!  I urge those that keep yelling "we're 
not worthy" to please just contact your BoD and voice your opinion.  If 
enough people keep saying it, we will eventually all NOT be worthy, and that 
will be a sad day for Amateur Radio.

Thanks for listening!

73's
Ray - WB3ABN
Kingston, WA
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