July 2, 2020- Greetings Family and Friends of the American Red Cross of Northern Ohio—I trust this finds you all safe and well! What a glorious week of summer weather we’re having!! I have three things I want to share with you today:
First: CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU to all of you for an incredibly successful Fiscal Year 2020 which officially ended this week! What a year it’s been as we bid farewell to the former Northeast Ohio Region (22 counties serving 4.5 million people) and the Crossroads Division (seven regions)—both with rich histories of successful service. We ushered in our newly created Northern Ohio Region (31 counties serving 5.4 million people) as well as the newly formed Central Atlantic Division (six regions). All of you have been part of the tremendous accomplishments of this past year—thank you for all your efforts each and every day! Here are just a few of the highlights of FY 2020:
- We provided more than one million dollars of Direct Client Assistance to over 5000 people averaging more than five cases per day throughout the region!
- We provided aid and comfort to more than 1100 servicemembers and their families during this past year!
- We partnered with our colleagues in Biomed to help them respond to numerous blood emergencies—none more challenging than the pivot required by COVID-19, as well as collecting convalescent plasma and supporting anti-body testing.
- We also supported our friends in Training Services by presenting numerous Lifesaving Awards.
- We launched our own podcast—one of the first in the Red Cross.
- We held our first “virtual” fundraising event—our highly successful BASH.
- We continued to grow our critically important volunteer workforce, including a vibrant Young Professionals Council.
We couldn’t have met all those mission requirements without the fantastic fundraising efforts by all of you—spearheaded by our development team, executive directors, and board members. We actually exceeded our fundraising goal for the third consecutive year!!
And none of this would have been possible without our incredibly dedicated workforce of staff and volunteers who overcame numerous challenges throughout the year but still found ways to meet our mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies. Thank to our Volunteer Services team for continuing to recruit and engage!!
It certainly has been a year of challenges—none of them small in scale—regional realignment, a global pandemic, social and civil unrest throughout the nation—all these things required enormous flexibility and teamwork on all of your parts.Thank you for that and special thanks to our operations folks for helping keep our facilities safe and our teams properly supplied under the most trying of circumstances.
Second: I’m excited about FY 2021—hard to believe but it’s here! Yes, to be clear—the challenges of the past year are still with us in one form or another. COVID-19 is still a serious threat to health and safety—we’re starting the year in the “red”—our facilities remain closed to the public but the Red Cross is still very much open for business providing critical lifesaving care every day! Please stay safe—remember CDC—”Cover, Distance, & Clean”—the Red Cross’ number one priority remains the health and safety of our workforce, clients, donors, stakeholders, and communities.
Even though the date for realignment has officially passed, and we have made great initial strides, our unification efforts have been hampered by COVID-19 and our inability to travel and meet. I don’t know when it will happen but I do look forward to us being able to meet our Northern Ohio colleagues and partners in person and continue to build on the strong foundation already laid by all of you!
I also realize the Red Cross has an important role to play in dealing with the social turmoil around our country. As our leadership continues to find ways to be a positive voice, I encourage each of us to look inward to see how we can affect change in our personal sphere of influence and span of control. Let’s commit to “talk to people, not about people,” as well as to “think the best of people” that we encounter every day. We must all strive to make each interaction as positive as possible!
You might be asking yourself, with us all still facing these challenges, why am I so excited about FY 2021? The answer is simple—it’s all of you–the incredible family and friends of the American Red Cross of Northern Ohio—what a tremendous team!!! Your tireless dedication and unwavering commitment to our Red Cross life-saving mission inspires me every single day! Thank you for that!! Thank you for being part of the world’s premier humanitarian organization—the American Red Cross!!
Finally: I wish all of you a safe and healthy 4th of July. I know this year may be drastically different in how we celebrate but the reason why we celebrate the 4th of July hasn’t changed one bit—I hope you’re able to rest, relax, and reflect on the wonderful blessings we have as Americans as we recognize our nation’s 244th Anniversary!!
God bless you all, God bless the American Red Cross, and God bless the U.S.A.!!!