By Ryan Wilcox, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross
When severe weather impacts local communities, businesses and employees step up — sending volunteers and donations to charitable organizations, like the Red Cross. In 2014 alone, the Red Cross received $7,621,619 from corporate, foundation and individual giving. This funding provided the means for Red Cross DFW to respond to everything from house fires to tornadoes to flooding.
In many cases, corporate philanthropy efforts are part of a larger goal to make a positive impact on the communities where employees live and work.
AT&T: A Local Supporter with a Global Impact
AT&T serves 110 million wireless customers nationally, and the global company has a presence in 225 countries.
The company’s philanthropy efforts target education, safe driving and disaster relief. The signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire, focuses on helping students graduate from high school and have success in college and careers.
The long-time support of the Red Cross goes to the heart of AT&T, said Nicole Anderson, AVP – Social Innovation and President, AT&T Foundation.
“One of our business goals is to be a great community partner,” said Anderson. “We are a network company. We know we have services that can help people when they are in a disaster — come back online, and get in touch with family and friends.”
In the hours after severe weather strikes a community, sometimes relief comes in the form of a charged cell phone.
AT&T employees respond with a Network Disaster Recovery Team (NDR), investing more than $600 million in the program. The NDR team has responded to many large events over the last 15 years, providing emergency cell service and restoring telecommunications capabilities.
This assistance comes at a critical time, when families are trying to reconnect. If you’ve ever gone without power, or failed to reach a loved one, you know how difficult it is to wait for answers. The NDR team deploys Cells on Wheels (COWs) to temporarily replace a failed cellular network.
In addition, AT&T’s Emergency Communications Vehicles (ECV) can provide voice and data connection within 30 minutes of arriving at a disaster scene. A mobile command center, the ECV provides communications support to the NDR team, and helps power relief efforts by first responders.
As a Disaster Responder Member, AT&T has donated $1.4 million since 2013. This funding enables the Red Cross to immediately respond to a natural disaster. Disaster Responder members provide funding in advance of severe weather events, and play a vital role in relief efforts large and small.
In addition, AT&T employees volunteered a total of 7,600 hours with the Red Cross in 2014. The company also donated charging stations to Red Cross shelters in the aftermath of the tornadoes that struck the DFW Metroplex the day after Christmas in 2015.
How will your company be a community supporter in 2016? The Red Cross could not fulfill our mission without generous support from corporate partners.
4 Ways Your Company Can Support the Red Cross
1. Be an annual Disaster Relief donor – The Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 disasters every year. By being a member in one of the Red Cross’ annual giving programs, your company’s financial gift will help build capacity and materials to be ready in advance of disaster events. The Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program / Disaster Responder and Ready 365 giving programs allow companies to pre-invest, so the Red Cross will have the resources to respond immediately and effectively to help people affected by disasters big and small.
2. Donate a Percent of Sales – from your products, services or events. Show your customers you care – while driving sales with a Red Cross cause-marketing promotion. You can also collect donations from customers following the aftermath of a devastating disaster or throughout the year. Contact your local Red Cross relationship manager to determine if an in-store or online collection effort for the Red Cross would align with your company’s philanthropic goals.
3. Workplace Giving and Matching – When disasters strike locally, or internationally many of your employees look for ways to support the victims. You can start a workplace giving campaign to maximize the impact of their giving spirit. You’ll be given turnkey resources to track giving, and generate enthusiasm among employees.
4. Encourage Employees to Volunteer: We know many of your employees may want to give their time and talents in support of their favorite causes. The Red Cross makes it easy with our volunteer portal that is accessible via redcross.org. Additionally, Ready When the Time Comes is an organizational team building volunteer program. Since its inception in 2001, the Red Cross has trained 14,000 volunteers from 460 businesses in 54 cities. The program is designed to train employees for disaster relief, and it offers a chance to gain new skills in service to their community.