Air Force Assistance Fund campaign kicks off

Story and photo by Airman 1st Class Kristof Rixmann
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen donate to the Air Force Assistance Fund campaign March 26 on Ramstein Air Base. The AFAF was established to raise funds annually for charitable affiliates that provide support to Air Force members and their families.

The Air Force Assistance Fund campaign kicked off with breakfast at the Officer’s Club on Ramstein Air Base, March 26.

The AFAF was established to provide an annual effort to raise funds for the charitable affiliates that provide support to Air Force members and their families. Total force Airmen, retirees, dependents, and surviving spouses experiencing financial hardship are target audiences for this program.

Col. Joseph Wenckus, 86th Airlift Wing vice commander, explains what sets the AFAF apart from other charitable organizations.

“The AFAF is different from other charitable campaigns in that it is ‘Airmen helping Airmen,’” Wenckus said. “These affiliates epitomize the concept that our Air Force takes care of its own. Their mission is to serve our Airmen and their families. The support they provide runs the gamut from providing educational grants to covering funeral expenses. When our Airmen are out of options, the affiliates of the AFAF are the shock absorbers that help our Airmen maximize their resilience.”

The charitable affiliates supported by this campaign are the Air Force Aid Society, Air Force Village Foundation, the Air Force Enlisted Village, and the General and Mrs. Curtis E. Lemay Foundation.

The Air Force Aid Society is the official charity of the U.S. Air Force and was established in 1942 as a private, non-profit organization. This organization provides worldwide emergency assistance, sponsors education assistance programs, and offers base community enhancement programs.

The Air Force Village Foundation was founded in 1964 to provide an appropriate and cost-effective retirement community for the widows of retired Air Force officers. Similarly, the Air Force Enlisted Village’s primary focus is to provide a home and financial assistance to the surviving spouses of retired Air Force personnel. No surviving spouse is refused assistance due to financial status.

The Lemay Foundation helps widows of all Air Force retirees through financial grants of assistance. This financial assistance does not require the recipient to pay it back.

These organizations do not solicit through the annual combined federal campaign.

“It is important to know that neither the AFAF nor any of its affiliates receive taxpayer support,” said Senior Master Sgt. Ronald Robinette, AFAF action officer. “They operate through contributions from those they directly support. One of the things that sets this charity apart from others is that 95 cents, or more, of every dollar contributed is actually spent on the AFAF

These charitable organizations rely largely on voluntary contributions, so leaders are called upon to promote awareness of this campaign while volunteers help spread the word about the difference the AFAF campaign makes.

“Our efforts that start today will help those who are serving and those that have served,” Robinette said.

The breakfast provided an opportunity to gain support from the wing, group, and squadron leadership as the campaign commenced.

Airmen can donate to the AFAF campaign via the MyPay website.