Red Cross earns corporate citizenship award

Date: 12/19/2011

WILBRAHAM — The State Farm City of Palms Basketball Classic, in its 39th year and considered a “top five” national high school basketball tournament, will include Wilbraham & Monson Academy (WMA) during its Dec. 16 to 21, run.

Six SPRINGFIELD – North America’s leading industrial supplier Grainger and the American Red Cross were honored with the 2011 Corporate Citizenship Award for Best Partnership by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The “Citizens” Award honors excellence in corporate citizenship and civic leadership for initiatives in both the United States and across the world. The United States Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) recognized Grainger and the Red Cross for developing the corporate volunteer program, Ready When the Time Comes designed to build a network of response volunteers in advance of a disaster.

Nearly 14,000-volunteers strong, Ready When the Time Comes mobilizes specially trained individuals to help communities impacted by disasters. Today, 460 companies and organizations – from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses – across 52 cities in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico participate in Ready When the Time Comes. This nationwide business community has helped increase the Red Cross volunteer response capacity by 40 percent in just six years in the communities where the program is active. The program was particularly vital during the turbulent 2011 spring season and during Hurricane Irene. Volunteers staffed shelters and conducted damage assessments from North Dakota to Kansas, Canada to Puerto Rico, and along the east coast.

“Ready When the Time Comes is a proven success that is good for business, good for the Red Cross and good for communities because it trains volunteers who can respond immediately in times of disaster before an incident happens,” said Rick Lee, American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter Executive Director. “Strong relationships and the right resources are critical to building effective disaster response.”

In 2001, Grainger joined with the Red Cross to develop Ready When the Time Comes in Chicago to grow volunteer capacity and help prepare local communities for disasters. The unprecedented events of Hurricane Katrina brought to light the challenges many communities face in times of disaster and the unique opportunities businesses have to help. As the program’s National Founding Sponsor, Grainger has donated more than $13 million to the American Red Cross in cash, product and employee resources for preparedness and response initiatives as well as helped train nearly 1,400 team members as Ready When the Time Comes volunteers.

Locally, Grainger is also a great community partner, having donated $50,000 to American Red Cross disaster relief following the June 1 tornado in addition to $10,000 to education and local food pantries through its Grainger Foundation. “No matter how big or small there is a role for businesses to play in protecting their communities,” John Duffy, branch manager, said. “Grainger has core strengths in logistics and supply chain and proudly fills a niche that is vital to keeping businesses up and running.”

BCLC is the U.S. Chamber’s resource and voice for business’ social and philanthropic interests. Its mission is to advance the positive role of business in society. The Corporate Citizenship Awards exemplify the continued evolution of corporate citizenship, defining its movement from the periphery of business activity to the strategic alignment with the core of a company. The Best Partnership category raises public awareness of worthy social causes by allowing “people’s choice” voting to select the winner. More than 44,500 people participated in the 2011 voting, setting a record for this five-year-old category.

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