It’s that exciting time of year again when the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is about to kick off. One of the largest and most successful workplace fundraising campaigns in the world, the CFC provides federal employees the opportunity to contribute to thousands of charities across the U.S. and around the world. In 2019, federal employees donated more than $83.8 million in monetary pledges and volunteer hours! Their generosity didn’t stop there – they pledged more than $2.6 million in a special solicitation this spring to support those affected by COVID-19.  

Here at Global Impact, many of our Charity Alliance partners participate in the CFC as a way to raise unrestricted and consistent funding for their important work. Particularly in the context of COVID-19, unrestricted workplace funds help organizations adjust to new demands, react quickly to serve the most vulnerable and can ease challenges with an uncertain economy. One such partner who has benefited from the generosity of the federal community through the CFC is Tostan. Tostan, which in Wolof means “breakthrough,” empowers communities to develop and achieve their vision for the future and inspires large-scale movements leading to dignity for all. 

Happy children sitting together.

Their approach is three-fold: human rights-based; respectful and inclusive; and holistic and sustainable. These values underpin all of their programming, and ultimately helped create their signature Community Empowerment Program (CEP). 

The CEP offers two classes. One hosts discussions about human rights, best practices for a healthy life and the fundamentals of democracy. The second provides math and reading training and support for building small businesses. These classes are created for adolescent and adult groups, so each group receives the content they need to excel in the program. 

Working across five West African countries, the CEP is locally-driven and locally-led. Facilitators are from the communities in which they work, and democratically-elected community members form a Community Management Committee to help implement projects that everyone develops together as a part of the CEP. 

Programming at the local level is critical for success – when everyone in the community participates, sustainable social change can happen.

Tostan understands that communities know what they need and what’s best for them. They listen and provide culturally-sensitive materials and resources to amplify local voices so they can drive long- and short-term change at a local level.

CFC support empowers Tostan’s sustainable change work
The contributions of the federal community through the CFC, alongside other funding from individuals, foundations and corporate partners, have helped Tostan create a powerful record of success:

  • 42,000+ people, mostly women, have improved their reading skills because of Tostan’s innovative training on mobile phones.
  • 5.5 million+ people live in communities that have declared their intention to abandon female genital cutting and child marriage.
  • 21,000+ community cleanup days are held because of Tostan’s community-led initiatives.
  • 110,000+ people have learned about democracy and how to ensure that decision-making is equitable through Tostan programs.
  • 1,990+ villages have now established their own community funds that help save, invest and grow small businesses. 
  • 12 languages (and more to come!) used in Tostan’s COVID-19 information booklets, a helpful resource that’s being used to increase understanding of the coronavirus and change behaviors across West Africa. 

We support charities like Tostan in the CFC because our mission is centered on charitable ventures to inspire greater giving, and the CFC is a reliable and generous support mechanism for many charities. So why give to great organizations like Tostan if you are a federal employee or retiree? 

The answer is simple: Confidence, convenience and collective impact

  1. Confidence – Charity Alliance partners like Tostan have been closely vetted to ensure they are using your generous gifts to achieve maximum impact. This year, you will find Tostan listed under Global Impact’s federation alongside nearly 70 other charities supporting global causes. Whether you give online or through paper pledge, you can easily find Tostan by typing in “Tostan” or CFC number #23328.
  2. Convenience – your donation provides charities like Tostan consistent, unrestricted funding that they can put to work where it’s needed most. Also, contributing through your paycheck is quick and easy. It’s a win-win! For Tostan, 80% of the money they raised from the CFC in 2019 came from payroll contributions. This means federal employees could spread their commitment across the entire year (which means less money coming out of your paycheck all at once!) AND Tostan can plan and sustainably use funding to support long-term programs and investments in the local communities that they work. 
  3. Collective impact – giving at work is an opportunity to connect with your colleagues and contribute to meaningful causes together. When thousands of employees make a payroll pledge, the dollars quickly add up, helping to build support for Tostan’s great work. Employees from the Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration were among the agencies that came together to support Tostan in 2019!

Happy children gathered in a group, raising their hands in the air.

This has been a challenging year on so many fronts, and our charity partners are hard at work to preserve progress and live by Tostan’s motto, “Dignity for All.” Every year, the federal community comes together with incredible generosity and a strong commitment to giving back. We are looking forward to seeing that again in the 2020 campaign season, which runs from Sept. 21, 2020, to Jan. 15, 2021.

  • If you are a federal employee or retiree, please consider giving to Tostan through this year’s CFC. Visit to learn more, and don’t forget their CFC number, #23328.
  • Want to get involved but aren’t able to make a financial contribution this year? Tostan is inviting the federal community to support their work through volunteering. Make your volunteer pledge during the campaign, and Tostan will reach out with some great opportunities.  
  • If you’re not part of the federal community, learn about giving through your workplace by visiting
  • Check out stories of Tostan’s work and see how their programs are creating lasting change.