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American Red Cross Honors Microsoft at Heritage of Service Dinner


The American Red Cross will honor Microsoft Corp. with its prestigious Ernest Percy Bicknell Award at its inaugural Heritage of Service Dinner May 16, 2007, at the American Red Cross Hall of Service. Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Microsoft’s innovation and commitment helped the Red Cross make major improvements in disaster response, just as Ernest Bicknell did in the early 1900s. This national donor recognition event, sponsored by State Farm, will bring together members of Congress, military leaders, Washington dignitaries and corporate representatives.

“We would like to take this opportunity at the Heritage of Service Dinner to thank Microsoft for helping to reunite thousands of families across the country through its innovative development of,*” said Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, chairman of the Red Cross. “Technology continues to advance and become more powerful at an ever-increasing pace; similarly, our gratitude grows every day and with every reunited family for Microsoft’s assistance in the development of a communication system that will continue to be invaluable to the Red Cross in connecting people and families separated by disasters.”

The award is named in honor of Ernest Percy Bicknell in recognition of his dedication to disaster preparedness and response excellence. Appointed Red Cross national director in 1908, Bicknell came to the agency with an outstanding record as an experienced social worker. His selection reflected the Red Cross’ goals of revitalizing its membership program, introducing new reforms and raising the standards of relief work. Bicknell had already been associated with the Red Cross during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and had been general superintendent of the Chicago Bureau of Charities. Able, loyal and enthusiastic, he remained with the American Red Cross for a quarter-century. His ideas and proposals were instrumental in shaping the structure of the organization between 1909 and 1917.

Since Hurricane Katrina evacuees were dispersed nationwide, reuniting families was a major challenge. The Microsoft family helped heal wounds across the country by assisting the Red Cross with the creation of, offering a new way to reconnect families separated by disaster. During the days following Katrina, the site (now called Safe and Well and available at linked families together by posting more than 250,000 records from separated families.

Microsoft also dispatched mobile communications vehicles and provided technological expertise to help the Red Cross provide services to Gulf Coast evacuees relocated to Seattle. In addition, Microsoft employees were deployed to serve in the Red Cross Disaster Operations Center in Washington, D.C. Microsoft and its employees donated more than $10 million in cash contributions and technology solutions to the Hurricane Katrina response. The company continues to work with the Red Cross to incorporate lessons learned and develop a next-generation system for connecting people separated by future disasters.

“Microsoft and its employees are honored to accept the Ernest Percy Bicknell Award and contribute with technology to help people in the aftermath of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina,” said Ron Markezich, vice president for Microsoft Managed Services. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Red Cross to ensure even greater collaboration between business and the nonprofit sector.”

Bradley Whitford, star of the NBC show “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” and “The West Wing” and a member of the Red Cross national celebrity cabinet, will emcee the event. Preceding the dinner there will be a reception from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. in the American Red Cross Board of Governors Hall in Washington, D.C.

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.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.


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