American Red Cross and Salvation Army each get $40m in ‘historic grants’ for disaster needs in a changing climate
By the Climate Centre
The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross yesterday announced that the Lilly Endowment foundation has awarded each organization US$ 40 million “to increase response capacity in light of the more frequent and devastating impacts of climate change affecting families across the country”.
Their joint statement added that these are the largest gifts either organization has received to help them prepare for future disasters, and will better position each “to help people struggling to cope with record-breaking hurricanes, other extreme storms, and massive wildfires.”
The Salvation Army and the Red Cross will use the grants to increase their capacity to respond to “large concurrent disasters, especially in communities that face recurring threats”.
They will improve facilities and their use of technology “to better engage with national and local partners, increase the diversity of their staffs and volunteers to better serve individuals in need, and strengthen the ways they train and deploy staff and volunteers to improve effectiveness and curb worker burnout.”
Kenneth G. Hodder, the National Commander of The Salvation Army, said: “The profound generosity of Lilly Endowment will enable The Salvation Army to expand its capacity to serve people in need all across the country at moments of profound crisis.”
He continued: “The Salvation Army is delighted to partner with an organization as venerable as the American Red Cross, and I am certain that these grants will help strengthen our ability to bring much-needed relief to those who are directly affected by disasters.”
The American Red Cross said the new resources would be focused on innovations in case management within relief and recovery, upgrading RC View (its online disaster management and geographical information system), improvements in its vital warehousing network, and enhancements to the response capacity of Red Cross regions and chapters.
Gail McGovern, the President and CEO of the American Red Cross, said: “Heart-breaking disasters, driven by increasing extreme-weather, are repeatedly striking communities across the country and threatening to hamper our capacity to provide critical disaster relief.
“This incredibly generous grant from Lilly Endowment will greatly help us, alongside our valued partner The Salvation Army, to grow essential capacity and adapt our services to ensure we can continue to be there for families in their darkest hours.”
The Salvation Army also now plans to increase warehousing capacity by at least 200,000 square feet in strategic locations, and to recruit and train 20,000 volunteers that represent the communities it serves; it will improve its emergency fleet to be more agile and improve response to marginalized or under-resourced communities
N. Clay Robbins, Chairman and CEO of Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, said: “With their national reach and immense networks of dedicated staff and volunteers, the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army have for generations stepped up to provide aid and leadership in times of crisis.
“In virtually every natural and man-made disaster, they provide direct assistance and help coordinate efforts with governmental agencies, faith-based organizations, other non-profits and countless individual volunteers.”
Red Cross disaster relief worker Chris Thomsen watches the unloading of water from a Salvation Army truck for people affected by a tornado in Minneapolis. Both organizations now say that a major new grant will help them expand warehousing and other logistics for better, faster response amid intensifying climate impacts. (Library photo: Bill Fitler/American Red Cross Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota Region)