Church Donates $1.5 Million to the American Red Cross

The 2017 hurricane season took a major toll on the American Red Cross’s fleet of emergency response vehicles (ERVs). To help replenish and modernize that fleet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Friday morning a donation of $1.5 million to the American Red Cross to buy 10 new ERVs.

“The partnership among the American Red Cross and the Church spans nearly a century since working together on humanitarian relief efforts during World War I,” said Bishop Dean M. Davies of the Church’s Presiding Bishopric at the American Red Cross Utah Nevada Regional Headquarters in Salt Lake City. “We recognize and appreciate the skill and expertise the Red Cross organization and their people bring to bear when people need it most and are pleased to join hands with them in reaching out to those in need.”

The ERVs are a critical part of Red Cross disaster relief operations. They are among the first signs of hope after a disaster, offering food and relief supplies.

“Perhaps some of the greatest collaborative action between our two organizations has taken place as we have joined forces following the devastating hurricanes in the U.S. and Caribbean, including successive hurricanes HarveyIrma and Maria last year and once again with Florence and Michael this year,” Bishop Davies said. “While Red Cross volunteers are operating shelters, serving meals and distributing relief supplies, Church volunteers were cutting up trees, clearing debris and cleaning out flooded homes.”

With this donation, the Red Cross named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints its first-ever “Mission Leader” — a select group of Red Cross partners who donate $3 million or more annually to support the Red Cross mission. In addition to Friday’s financial donation, the Church has provided additional funds, commodities and other donations throughout the previous year.

The two groups also signed a new memorandum of understanding. Bishop Davies said this is important because it represents a continuing commitment from the Church to a longstanding partnership that has blessed and saved thousands of lives through combined efforts in disaster relief and blood donation.

“The mission of the American Red Cross cannot be fulfilled without consistent and generous partners,” said Utah and Nevada regional executive Heidi Ruster. “We are grateful for the continued collaboration with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to make a difference in the communities we serve.”

American Red Cross representatives in attendance Friday included chief operating officer Cliff Holtz, senior vice president of disaster cycle services Harvey Johnson, Southwest and Rocky Mountain divisional vice president Sharon Jaska, divisional vice president of development David Staszak as well local Red Cross executive leadership and board members. Latter-day Saint leaders present included Bishop Davies and Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president.

Image credit: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints