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Business Leaders Aid American Red Cross to Speed Relief During the California Wildfires


In response to the recent wildfires in Southern California, Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs from the nation’s leading companies, immediately mobilized its members to help the American Red Cross meet affected communities’ urgent needs. Thanks to a new alliance between the two organizations, companies received rapid, accurate information on the most critical needs and stepped up within hours to provide warehouse space to store supplies, fuel cards to use for emergency response vehicles and transportation services to expedite the relief effort.

In September, as part of National Preparedness Month, Business Roundtable and the Red Cross announced an important new alliance to galvanize the business community’s resources to aid in relief efforts and create a more coordinated and effective response to catastrophic disasters.

To date, offers from Roundtable members to a variety of charities involved in the California wildfires relief effort total more than $2 million in financial and in-kind contributions, including:

* Financial contributions from Abbott Laboratories, Alcoa Inc., Caterpillar Companies, Chevron and General Mills
* Transportation from Archer Daniels Midland Company and BNSF Railway
* Warehouse/headquarter space from The Home Depot, ITT Corporation and W.W. Grainger Inc.
* Medical supplies from Abbott Laboratories and Schering-Plough
* Volunteer services from W.W. Grainger Inc.
* Fuel cards from EDS and MasterCard Worldwide
* Calling services from Verizon

A detailed list of Roundtable member companies’ donations is available at

“Once again, the private sector has demonstrated how corporations can be a powerful resource and a critical asset in our nation’s response to disasters,” said Richard L. Keyser, chairman and CEO of Grainger and Chairman of Business Roundtable’s Partnership for Disaster Response. “Because we had established our relationship in advance, we were able to quickly and effectively leverage the diverse resources of the business community to speed the relief effort and aid communities in need.”

“The outpouring of company support was truly impressive,” said Mark W. Everson, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “Our collaboration is working and is helping to shape a new model for how relief agencies work with businesses in disaster response.”

When the wildfires struck, the Red Cross opened 26 shelters in Southern California, providing a safe place to stay for approximately 6,000 evacuees at the peak of the fires. Some 5,000 Red Cross disaster relief workers – more than 90 percent of them volunteers from all 50 states – rushed to ensure that survivors had shelter, food, and comfort. Survivors are now receiving clean-up supplies, counseling, basic healthcare and family connecting services.

The Business Roundtable launched the Partnership for Disaster Response in 2005 following the unprecedented outpouring of corporate contributions to the Asian tsunami relief effort. The Partnership for Disaster Response aims to bring together the many resources and capabilities of the private sector – beyond financial contributions – to enhance and accelerate on-the-ground relief and recovery following major natural disasters. It works to foster public-private collaborations to prepare for the health, social and economic burdens that disasters can create and to ensure that the business community’s response efforts address the most critical needs and mobilize the unique technologies and assets of its member companies.


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