Equipping the Red Cross with the Resources it Needs: A Q&A with our Partner Grainger

By American Red Cross

Red Cross partners like Grainger help us instill hope to individuals and families nationwide. We sat down with Fred Costello, vice president and president, Grainger International, to find out why his organization has partnered with us for more than a decade.

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1. What inspired Grainger to support the Red Cross?

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The nature of our business is to help our customers keep their operations running and people safe, and for 90 years, Grainger has also embraced a spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy. That combination makes us a natural leader in disaster preparedness and response, and as a result, we have had long and productive partnership with the Red Cross.

2. How does Grainger support the Red Cross through the Annual Disaster Giving Program and any other programs?

The same way Grainger provides support to its customers and suppliers in the event of an emergency, we support the Red Cross through the Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and equip the Red Cross with the resources it needs to respond before, during and after a natural disaster.

Since 2001, Grainger has donated nearly $17 million in cash and product to the Red Cross, and currently serves as a $1 million Red Cross ADGP supporter. As part of this support, $400,000 in product was donated last year after the Louisiana floods and Hurricane Matthew, and five Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) – which get help to people in need after disasters big and small – have been co-branded with the Grainger logo to demonstrate our disaster relief commitment. This year, Grainger committed an additional $250,000 worth of product donations including gloves, shovels, dust masks, trash bags, brooms and more for recent relief efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Grainger also hosted Missing Maps activities with our team members at two office locations aimed at supporting disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

 

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In addition to natural disaster relief, Grainger team members have coordinated various blood drives for colleagues to give blood and volunteered to support activities during Disaster Preparedness Month in September. Team members also supported the Red Cross Home Fire Prevention Campaign for which we have donated approximately 70,000 smoke alarms since 2014.

3. How have your employees and customers gotten involved to support a disaster relief effort in the last year?

 

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Our team members are an important part of our partnership with the Red Cross. Whether it’s through the more than 1,700 team members who have been trained as Ready When the Time Comes volunteers, or team members who helped pack 2,100 comfort kits for survivors of the recent hurricanes and wildfires still residing in shelters; participated in Missing Maps activities; or used our 3:1 Charitable Matching Gifts program to maximize personal cash contributions to the Red Cross, our team members have been instrumental in helping support Red Cross relief efforts this year.

4. Why is it important for your organization to support Red Cross disaster relief efforts?

Our Red Cross partnership has given our team members a means by which to unite to support a single organization’s mission and purpose. As a company, it is important for us to collaborate to resolve issues or concerns for our customers, team members and the community. The Red Cross partnership allows us to use our many resources – human, expertise and in-kind – to support local communities when they need us most.

5. How have you personally benefited from your contribution to the Red Cross?

I’m proud to have served on the Red Cross board since 2016, through which I’ve partnered with other board members from other companies to help the agency refine and drive its strategy and mission. I have the incredible opportunity to see first-hand the difference the Red Cross makes in local communities before, during and after a disaster strikes. Personally, I’ve benefited from knowing our support of this organization is important to the community and survivors of disasters that are experienced by so many. I’m also grateful to Grainger for valuing this partnership and supporting my continued work with the organization.

6. Is there a disaster response that stands out for your company that involved support from your organization?

This year, we saw an unprecedented number of natural disasters occur within a short period of time.  I’m proud of all of our team members who worked around the clock to help support the various relief efforts. In the face of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, two major earthquakes in Mexico and the wildfires in California, Grainger team members pulled together and worked to serve our customers, colleagues and communities as they dealt with the effects.