Grainger donates $1 million for launch of corporate volunteer training program

By Plant Engineering Staff July 14, 2006

The American Red Cross and Grainger, a North American distributor of facilities maintenance supplies, have teamed up to recruit and train corporate employees as disaster volunteers to help support the 70,000 disasters that the Red Cross responds to each year. Grainger is the national founding sponsor of the program, Ready When the Time Comes, which will roll out in 16 Red Cross chapters over the next two years.

Richard L. Keyser, chairman and CEO of Grainger, presented the American Red Cross with a $1 million donation at a celebration hosted at Grainger’s headquarters in Lake Forest, IL. In attendance were Jack McGuire, CEO of the American Red Cross; Kate Forbes, Chair of the Office of National Volunteers of the American Red Cross; Fran Maher, CEO of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, prominent members of the Chicago business community and hundreds of active volunteers.

“We are extremely grateful for Grainger’s generous contribution to launch this innovative program. We’re also grateful to their employees for helping the Red Cross build our network of compassionate volunteers,” said McGuire.“Ready When the Time Comes will help the Red Cross accomplish its lifesaving mission by enabling us to reach out to corporations and tap into one of their most valuable resources, their employees.”

Through the program, local Red Cross chapters collaborate with businesses in their area to recruit and train corporate employees as volunteers. When a disaster strikes, the Red Cross can quickly mobilize this network of volunteers. Pioneered by the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, the program has support in Chicago from 17 corporations and a force of 1,100 volunteers.

“Disasters affect all of us; businesses aren’t immune,” said Keyser. “We must use our resources to become active participants in creating the solution.”