Business Roundtable and the American Red Cross today announced a new collaboration through the Roundtable’s Partnership for Disaster Response. The Partnership is an initiative to galvanize the business community to contribute its vast resources – beyond financial contributions – to accelerate on-the-ground relief and recovery activities following major national disasters. This announcement is timed with National Preparedness Month, a nationwide effort to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, communities, and businesses.
The collaboration includes several activities to help the private and nonprofit sectors work together to strengthen our nation’s disaster response system:
- Introducing new communications channels to improve the flow of information and efficiencies between the business community and the Red Cross
- Using the Partnership’s Web site – www.respondtodisaster.org – to share companies’ first-hand reports from a disaster site with the Red Cross to expedite relief and recovery efforts
- Strengthening systems to match community needs with the resources companies are able to provide during a disaster
- Enhancing corporate and individual employee preparedness efforts by encouraging them to Be Red Cross Ready
- Expanding a model program to train employees to serve as Red Cross volunteers during a disaster – Ready When the Time Comes
- Installing a representative of the business community in the Red Cross’ Disaster Operations Center
“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. “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. We are confident that this initiative can serve as an important new model for public-private partnerships in disaster response, one that will strengthen our nation’s system for responding to communities in crisis.”
"The generosity of the private sector in this country is unparalleled," said Mark W. Everson, President and CEO of the American Red Cross. “The Red Cross is grateful to Business Roundtable for leading American businesses in identifying solutions to help prepare families and communities before disasters occur and in providing relief in the aftermath of disasters. I am especially pleased that we are able to announce this partnership in September during National Preparedness Month."
“The business community, with its assets and expertise, should contribute to disaster relief, not only with money and products but with its greatest resource: hard working, dedicated people,” said Richard L. Keyser, Chairman and CEO of Grainger and Chairman of Business Roundtable’s Partnership for Disaster Response. “Expanding the Red Cross’s Ready When the Time Comes program, which trains employees to serve as volunteers during a disaster, is one way businesses can help the Red Cross provide solutions to people in crisis.”
The organizations have also developed resources to help individuals, families and companies learn how to improve their disaster preparedness plans. They are available on www.respondtodisaster.org and http://www.redcross.org/flash/brr/English-flash/default.asp.
About Business Roundtable
Business Roundtable (www.businessroundtable.org) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with $4.5 trillion in annual revenues and more than 10 million employees. 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. Collectively, they returned $112 billion in dividends to shareholders and the economy in 2005.
Roundtable companies give more than $7 billion a year in combined charitable contributions, representing nearly 60 percent of total corporate giving. They are technology innovation leaders, with $90 billion in annual research and development spending – nearly half of the total private R&D spending in the U.S.
About the American Red Cross
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.