WASHINGTON — The American Red Cross and W.W. Grainger, Inc. today 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, a leading industrial distributor, is National Founding Sponsor of “Ready When the Time Comes,” the nation’s premier workplace disaster volunteer program. Since its creation in 2006, “Ready When the Time Comes” has led to more than 10,000 employees of 300 organizations in the United States being trained by the Red Cross and ready to respond when disaster strikes local communities.
As part of the 2010 National Volunteer Week, Cisco, a worldwide leader in networking, this week has announced a global volunteer training program, with Cisco employees being trained for emergency response to support more than 20 Red Cross chapters in the United States 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 just the first year. Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers has asked Cisco employees to perform a total of 200,000 hours of community service by the end of the year. 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 percent over the past several years. Other major 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.
“Grainger is committed to building emergency preparedness with the help of the global business community. We understand the power of people resources in disaster relief efforts,” said Jim Ryan, Grainger’s Chairman, CEO and President. “We have partnered with the American Red Cross for nearly a decade to build a strong network of pre-trained volunteers whose commitments are generously supported by employers across the country.”
“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.
“We will continue to support the leadership of the Red Cross in their efforts to engage more businesses and community partners in emergency preparedness,” added Ryan. “Grainger shares their passion and commitment and understands the importance of preparedness to creating safe and resilient communities.”The success of 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 closely with the Canadian Red Cross to increase local disaster response capacity.
Grainger’s role in emergency preparedness is a natural fit given the company’s vast product mix, extensive logistics network and more than 18,000 service-oriented employees. These capabilities enable Grainger to have the expertise, scale and presence in local communities to ensure businesses are prepared.Since 2001, Grainger has contributed more than $9 million dollars to American Red Cross relief efforts in the U.S. and internationally and preparedness programs through cash, products and employee volunteerism. Over the course of the next year, Grainger and the Red Cross will continue to partner in building prepared communities across the nation.