The First Pitch


Good morning. Thank you Orlando (Cabrera) and Paula (Blunt).

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this opening event for the CFC Campaign.

This is the �first pitch.� Baseball is our theme this year. And since it is October, this is the season of the playoffs, the World Series, and championships, won through outstanding play and unified teamwork.

Baseball is a good metaphor for CFC. When I think of baseball, I think of graceful athletes, highly-developed skills, and individual performance within a team context. Baseball players have to work together to be successful.

I also think of baseball through the eyes of my youth. Ballplayers were my heroes, players like Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, and Mickey Mantle. They were my heroes because, through their performance and leadership, they helped make the entire team successful. I wanted to be like them, to learn from them, and to follow their lead in life.

One guy I really liked was Yogi Berra, the son of Pietro and Pauline Berra, immigrants from Italy. He had a way of distorting language.

Maybe you remember he once said �Baseball is ninety percent mental�the other half is physical.�

As I grew older, I learned that life is like baseball in many ways. Yogi was right, �It's like d�j� vu all over again.� Individual players with personal statistics try to improve their performance each and every year. And we work within a team. Then the sum of our contributions makes everyone a winner.

And CFC at HUD is a winner. We have a long and powerful tradition. This department always has a high rate of contributions, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars you donate go to charities across the United States and around the world.

You know that there are countless people who benefit. Each one has a story. Often we don't know it, but we respond anyway.

Today we have someone with us who will share her story, Shelia Carter-Cash. I'll let her tell it.

But please remember that you responded to her needs before hearing this story�because you knew there were people who need our help. We don't always know their names or their situation�but we know they are our there. That is why you always step forward.

Frankly, I am always amazed at the level of giving, because it comes from people who give so much already.

Each day, in every way, you work on behalf of the American people. You give of yourselves in the workplace by working hard with great dedication. I personally believe we have a capable, talented workforce here at HUD.

And we have people with generous, giving hearts. Again and again, I hear of our employees going the extra mile, making extraordinary efforts to help someone in need.

Today I ask you to again step forward, to step to the plate and hit a home run. We need each employee to participate in CFC. And for those who already participate I ask you to give just a little bit more this year, to find a way to increase your contribution.

And don't miss the �Power of Five� on your Pledge Card. This year all charities have new codes which are five digits long. Make sure to use the new code. Take your CFC gift up to the �Power of Five.�

If we do that, then our contributions can make a difference for many people. Because some of our contributions go to places like

  • Hale House in Harlem to care for babies with HIV infection,
  • a homeless shelter in Chicago to provide food for the hungry,
  • a wildlife center in Montana to preserve our environment and the animals who share our world, or
  • foster care in Los Angeles for children left on the streets.

And your contributions help people far beyond our shores, to help people in places like Uganda, Romania, Peru, or Thailand.

I know we reached historic levels of contributions last year. But we can do better. As Yogi said, �I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.�

This year we can break the records of the past. I believe that we can get full participation form our workforce. And I know that each of us can give just a little bit more.

I know we can do it. And we will do it as a team, working together, contributing together.

Thank you.


Content Archived: December 27, 2011