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Business Community Contributes Resources to Disaster Response Through Partnership with Red Cross




American Red Cross and the Business Roundtable announce a new partnership to engage the business community in strengthening disaster preparedness and response.

By Katie Lawson, Staff Writer, Redcross.org

Friday, September 21, 2007 — The American Red Cross is proud to announce a new partnership with the Business Roundtable in an effort to enhance private and nonprofit partnerships in disaster response. These organizations will work together to focus on how the business community can most effectively contribute to national disaster preparedness and response efforts.

“Companies play a pivotal role in responding to disasters as we saw with the private sector’s unprecedented response to Hurricane Katrina,” said Harold McGraw III, chairman, Business Roundtable and chairman, president & CEO, The McGraw-Hill Companies, at a recent press conference to formally announce the collaboration. “We are proud to support Mark Everson, the new CEO of the American Red Cross, and are encouraged that he sees business as a partner.”


Mark W. Everson, President and CEO of the American Red Cross and Harold McGraw III, Chairman Business Roundtable and Chairman, President and CEO, The McGraw-Hill Companies announce a formal alliance to strengthen the nation's response to disasters.
(Photo Credit: Paul Morigi)

Everson was joined by McGraw and Richard Keyser, chairman and CEO of W.W. Grainger, Inc. and chairman of Business Roundtable’s Partnership for Disaster Response at the press event hosted by the Red Cross.

“We get a lot of support already from Business Roundtable members, but they’re doing it on a spontaneous basis based on local needs,” said Everson. “What we are talking about today is communicating and coordinating and preparing for disasters on a national level.”
The Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with more than 10 million employees. Roundtable member companies comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock markets and represent over 40 percent of all corporate income taxes paid.

This new partnership will take several steps to make it easier for the private and nonprofit sectors to work together to build up our nation’s disaster response system by opening new communications channels to improve the flow of information between the business community and the Red Cross, making responses more efficient and effective. It will also focus on matching the needs of the community with appropriate resources companies have to offer before and following a disaster. In addition, companies will share with the Red Cross reports from a disaster site using the Partnership’s website – www.respondtodisaster.org.

After Business Roundtable member companies contributed more than $362 million to Gulf Coast relief following Hurricane Katrina, the Roundtable formed the Partnership for Disaster Response Task Force to combine all their diverse assets and expertise in order to find new solutions to disaster response. Headed by Keyser, the task force strives to find better ways to prepare for, and recover from, the short and long-term effects of large-scale disasters.

The Roundtable’s Disaster Response Task Force is committed to working closely with the Red Cross to expand the charity’s Ready When the Time Comes program. This volunteer recruitment program gives employees of partner organizations an opportunity to become Red Cross volunteers in their community and to be able to assist during local disasters. The training is flexible and all courses are taught by Red Cross instructors. Currently in a pilot phase, Ready When the Time Comes has already produced 52 new corporate partnerships around the country and trained 1,648 volunteers since its inception in 2006.


Representing the public and private sectors, Everson, McGraw III and Richard L. Keyser, Chairman, Partnership for Disaster Response Task Force and Chairman and CEO, W. W. Grainger, Inc., agree to work together to make the country's national disaster response more efficient and effective.
(Photo Credit: Paul Morigi)

“In most companies I know, the employers want to help and their employees want to help as well,” said Keyser. “The idea is to make it easy for them to help by getting people trained and providing them with that opportunity.”

This exciting new partnership looks to combine all available resources to help those affected by disaster. The organizations have also developed resources to help individuals, families and companies learn how to improve their disaster preparedness plans.

“What’s different here is that we’re collaborating in advance, not after disaster strikes,” concludes McGraw. “We’re taking a giant step to ensure the private and nonprofit sectors work together to prepare and respond to disaster and help the American people.”

The American Red Cross helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Last year, almost a million volunteers and 35,000 employees helped victims of almost 75,000 disasters; taught lifesaving skills to millions; and helped U.S. service members separated from their families stay connected. Almost 4 million people gave blood through the Red Cross, the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The American Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.


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American Red Cross National Headquarters 2025 E Street NW – Washington, DC 20006 – 800-733-2767 | TO DONATE: 800-REDCROSS / 800-257-7575 (Español)

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