National Recovery Month Coincides with Start of Federal Giving Campaign

This Q&A, facilitated by Jeremiah Gardner of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, was originally published for Hazelden Betty Ford’s monthly Recovery Advocacy Update. If you’d like to receive our advocacy emails, subscribe today.

Every September, National Recovery Month is a time to educate the public about substance use disorders and celebrate those who have overcome them. For millions of federal employees and retirees — including military veterans, active service members and past and present postal workers — September is also a time for choosing causes to support. Over the past six decades, federal employees have given more than $8.6 billion to foundations and other charities as part of an annual effort called the Combined Federal Campaign. This year’s 20-week campaign began Sept. 1 just as National Recovery Month kicked off, and one of the options participants now have is to support the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s mission and vision of empowering recovery and well-being for all. We checked in with Matthew Coleman, Hazelden Betty Ford’s national development director focused on corporate and foundation relations, to learn more.

Q: How does the Combined Federal Campaign work, i.e. how does someone participate, and how do they choose which cause to support?

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is overseen by the Office of Personnel Management and is the official workplace-giving-campaign for federal employees and retirees. CFC is the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity fundraising campaign. Last year alone, CFC raised more than $80 million for local, national and international charities.

To participate, millions of current federal employees and retirees visit to learn about all of the different charities they can support. On that website, they also can take part in a virtual charity fair and visit local CFC sites to see the impact of CFC-supported charities in the communities where they live and work, as well as discover volunteer opportunities.

There’s even a mobile app — CFC Giving — for those federal employees and retirees who want to give through their cellphone.

Importantly, each charity has a unique code that participants use to designate their gift(s). Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s CFC code is: 97997. Feel free to share our code and with anyone you know who is a current or retired federal government employee and encourage them to participate in this year’s CFC campaign.

The CFC campaign kicks off on September 1 and concludes on January 14, 2023.

Q: When someone chooses to give to Hazelden Betty Ford, how does the contribution support our mission and help people?

Giving through CFC provides unrestricted funds to Hazelden Betty Ford, meaning we can direct those dollars to programs of greatest need and impact. By participating in CFC, we also get to spread the good news of recovery and educate folks about the lifesaving work we do far and wide in communities across the country.

Q: What inspires your own personal passion for recovery and helping people who struggle with, or are vulnerable to, addiction?

I lost my younger brother, Zac, in 2018 to an overdose after he’d struggled for many years going in and out of recovery. The passion behind my work stems from wanting to honor his life. I want to help Hazelden Betty Ford raise as much support as possible so that every adult, family and child can access the care they need to experience the healing power of recovery.

Q: Why are donations and philanthropy crucial to turning the tide on America’s addiction crisis and making recovery possible for more individuals, families and communities?

Individuals, businesses and governments invest in things deemed vital. Nothing is more vital than human life, and we’ve lost a million lives to overdose over the past two decades — and seen millions more hurt in other ways by addiction. Nonprofits like Hazelden Betty Ford are on the front line in confronting the nation’s addiction and mental health crises, which have never been more acute than now. Healing and hope are absolutely vital to the nation’s well-being and to creating a better future for us all. Funding not only fuels our day-to-day mission but helps us chip away at the stigma that keeps people from getting the life-changing care and support they need. The power of philanthropy lies not only in the revenue that is generated, but in bringing continued relevance and public awareness to the conditions of substance use and mental health disorders.

Matthew Coleman



As a force of healing & hope for those affected by addiction, we feature insights and views from leading voices on prevention, treatment & recovery.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation


As a force of healing & hope for those affected by addiction, we feature insights and views from leading voices on prevention, treatment & recovery.