American Red Cross Volunteer Program Gains Corporate Member

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The American Red Cross and W.W. Grainger, Inc. recently welcomed Cisco as the newest participant in the Red Cross “Ready When the Time Comes” corporate volunteer program that trains employees from businesses and mobilizes them as a community based volunteer force when disasters strike.

Grainger is National Founding Sponsor of “Ready When the Time Comes.” Since the program was created in 2006, more than 10,000 employees at 300 organizations in the United States have been trained by the Red Cross to be ready to respond when disaster strikes their communities in their areas.

As part of the 2010 National Volunteer Week (April 18-24), Cisco announced a global volunteer training program, with its employees being trained for emergency response to support more than 20 Red Cross chapters in the U.S. and at Red Cross and Red Crescent societies throughout the world.

More than 3,000 Cisco employees are expected to participate in the program in the first year. Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers has asked employees to perform a total of 200,000 hours of community service by the end of 2010. For each eligible hour of service reported, the Cisco Foundation will contribute $10 to benefit the local Red Cross affiliate, up to $1,000 per employee per year.

The “Ready When the Time Comes” program has increased the capacity of the American Red Cross to respond to local disasters by more than 40% over the past several years. Other companies that are active in the program include: Abbott; Anheuser-Busch; Black & Decker; Blockbuster; BASF; Boeing; Citibank; Credit Suisse; Dow Chemical; El Paso; FedEx; Oracle; Sprint; The Gap; and UPS.

“Ready When the Time Comes is an efficient way for the Red Cross to activate multiple volunteers with one phone call to a sponsoring company for response to natural disasters that could include hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornados, and ice storms as well as other local emergencies,” said Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross. “The Red Cross is deeply grateful to Grainger for its leadership in promoting preparedness and improving disaster response. “The American Red Cross runs on the valuable service of its more than 600,000 volunteers and continues to look for ways to attract new volunteers to help people in need of emergency services, and we welcome Cisco and the new volunteers it will bring to this program,” she added.

The U.S. “Ready When the Time Comes” model has driven the expansion of the program in Canada where Acklands-Grainger also recently became National Founding Sponsor of the program working with the Canadian Red Cross to increase local disaster response capacity.

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