From home fires to large scale disasters, organizations help Red Cross respond

The J.M. Smucker Company, Marathon Petroleum Foundation, Inc., and FirstEnergy Corporation aid through Annual Disaster Giving Program

By Tim Poe, American Red Cross volunteer

One of the many memorable experiences as an American Red Cross volunteer came soon after first joining. I had spent two days assisting families and first responders during and after a large condominium fire in one of Cleveland’s western suburbs. While packing up as evening fell, I received a call. A large apartment building in an eastern suburb was now burning. I stopped by the Red Cross’ Cleveland office, resupplied a response vehicle, and headed off to meet the volunteers and staff already on the scene.

It was comforting to know that, even with the high number of people needing aid, we were able to provide it. No one impacted would have to wait for financial assistance, for a place to stay, for food and water. Such immediacy is critical in a disaster, as the Red Cross has emphasized that #HelpCantWait.

Our ability to quickly respond is due to generous donations, whether from individuals or large organizations like those taking part in the Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). Such support is critical, as locally and nationally, disasters are increasing.

This national Red Cross news release celebrates the 130+ corporate and organizational members of the ADGP. Three of them, The J.M. Smucker Company, Marathon Petroleum Foundation, Inc., and FirstEnergy Corporation assist the Northern Ohio region.

As The J.M. Smucker Company reports, it became a Red Cross Disaster Responder in 2017 and went on to become an ADGP supporter in 2019. It currently contributes at the $500,000 level. Community involvement is important to the company, including Disaster Relief. It states, “Major tragedies are a heartbreaking reality, and it is critical our communities have the resources to recover and rebuild. Through our partnerships, including with the Red Cross, United Way and Habitat for Humanity, we have helped support these efforts with product and financial donations. Our employees have also stepped up, volunteering time and effort to help their neighbors in need.”

As I reported in 2020, Marathon Petroleum Foundation, Inc., became an ADGP supporter and currently contributes at the $250,000 level. As the organization writes on its community investment page, “We provide funding, equipment and support to first responders, government agencies and community- based organizations to increase the overall safety of the communities where we operate. Preference is given to projects and organizations that help communities better prepare for, mitigate the risks of and respond to disasters, hazards and emergencies.”

FirstEnergy is also an ADGP supporter at the $250,000 level. Through the FirstEnergy Foundation’s Investing with Purpose initiative, the organization has given more than $3.43 million to support “nonprofit organizations that advance health and safety, workforce development, educational and social justice initiatives.”

Preparation and education are also vital parts of the ADGP program, and September is National Preparedness Month.

Thanks to ADGP members and other donors, the Red Cross has the resources, personnel and training to respond, whether to the three-per-day home fires we average in Northern Ohio, or a large-scale disaster. Our Regional Disaster Officer Tim O’Toole explained, “Without the generosity of our donors we would not be able to assist the nearly 1,800 families we have in the past year. These resources are critical to many families being able to begin their pathway to recovery after these life-altering events.”

Edited by Glenda Bogar, Red Cross volunteer

Posted by Ryan Lang, Red Cross board member and volunteer

Red Cross Northern Ohio Region thanks Progressive and Marathon Petroleum for generous, lifesaving support

By Tim Poe, American Red Cross Volunteer

April 15, 2020- The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting one of humanity’s greatest challenges, one which the American Red Cross is working diligently to meet. Two Northern Ohio-based companies and their foundations, The Progressive Corporation/The Progressive Insurance Foundation and Marathon Petroleum Corporation/Marathon Petroleum Foundation, Inc., are providing generous support to the Red Cross at this critical time.

Both Progressive and Marathon are including the Red Cross in wide-ranging initiatives to help address vital needs. In addition, Marathon is joining the Red Cross’ Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). It is the second Northern Ohio-based organization to do so, alongside the J.M. Smucker Company.

Progressive contributes as part of its Apron Relief Program

Progressive has provided $2.5 million to the Red Cross as part of a wide-reaching $1 billion package—dubbed the “Apron Relief Program”—to assist its customers, employees, agents and communities. The gift to the Red Cross is part of The Progressive Insurance Foundation’s $8 million donation to charities focused on hunger, health and homelessness.

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In addition to this extraordinary donation, Progressive has partnered with the Red Cross for many years. Progressive’s assistance has included matching its employees’ donations, promoting the Red Cross during times of disaster and recovery, and the regular sponsorship and hosting of blood drives. In fact, Progressive has collected 6,283 pints of blood since it began hosting drives.

Regarding the gift, Michelle Polinko, chief development officer of the Red Cross’ Northern Ohio Region, said, “The Progressive Foundation and the employees of Progressive have been amazing supporters of the Red Cross mission. They have generously donated funds to help us prepare for and respond to disasters, and have provided much-needed blood to help save lives every day. A sincere thanks to Progressive for caring about those in need!”

Information on the full “Apron Relief Program” is available in Progressive’s press release, linked here.

Marathon joins the Red Cross’ Annual Disaster Giving Program and donates N95 masks to healthcare facilities

As part of its COVID-19 pandemic response, The Marathon Petroleum Corporation has donated $1 million to the Red Cross through the Marathon Petroleum Foundation, Inc. Marathon is also donating 575,000 N95 respirator masks to healthcare facilities.

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With this exceptional gift, Marathon joins Smucker’s as the second Northern Ohio-based company to join the Red Cross’ Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). Through the ADGP and Disaster Responder Program, companies, foundations and organizations pledge financial and in-kind support in advance of major disasters. This support allows the Red Cross to prepare for and quickly respond to disasters, wherever and whenever they occur.

As reported in Marathon’s press release, Trevor Riggen, senior vice president of Disaster Services at the American Red Cross, said, “Thanks to partners like the Marathon Petroleum Foundation, the Red Cross can continue to provide food, shelter and care to people impacted by disasters nationwide. We are extremely grateful for their support during this public health crisis.”

More information on Marathon’s assistance is available in its press release, linked here. More information on the ADGP is available here.

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the need for medical supplies, blood and support. Meanwhile, other disasters continue to occur. In Northern Ohio, as everywhere, the Red Cross is deeply committed to helping all of us through these critical times. Thanks to organizations like Progressive and Marathon, we are able to do so.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer