’Tis the season THIS TIME OF YEAR is characterized by giving. We xchange gifts with family and friends, and many are moved to contribute to their communities through donating to charities and humanitarian organizations. Since 1993 Costco has donated $40 million to the American Red Cross through contributions from its employees, its members and its charitable budget. Visit
www.redcross.org to donate or learn more about this organization’s valuable work.
DANIEL CIMA/AMERICAN RED CROSS
are separated from their families stay connected. And, as part of
the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a global
network of 186 national societies, the American Red Cross helps
protect human life and health and alleviate human suffering, without discrimination based on nationality, race, sex, religious beliefs,
class or political opinion.
The American Red Cross raises more than 60 percent of its funding through compensation for the blood services it offers and nearly
30 percent comes from donations. The government contributes about
2 percent of the organization’s funding. The rest comes from fees it
collects for the classes it offers and miscellaneous sources.
The Costco Connection recently met McGovern at a hotel in
Portland, Oregon, to discuss her work with the American Red Cross.
The Costco Connection: When the Red Cross hits a
disaster scene, what’s the standard order of operation?
Gail McGovern: That’s a great question, and it has a very
complicated answer. We’re part of 186 Red Cross Societies around
the globe. There’s a federation that coordinates us. The federation
will call us when a society needs help. In China [after the 2008
Sichuan earthquake], for instance, they said, “We don’t need volunteers. We have 138,000 volunteers already.” Frankly, they
didn’t need cash either, because there’s a rising middle class
there and people were giving donations. They asked for
tents. So we raised $30 million and converted it into tents,
shipped them over to China, where people assembled
them, and housed hundreds of thousands of people. In
Haiti, on the other hand, they said, “We are completely
overwhelmed.” Each disaster is a little different.
CC: How do you coordinate relief efforts with
GM: Domestically, for the most part, we share a
volunteer force. So, you wind up seeing people with
In a larger domestic disaster, such as the tornadoes in
Alabama, we mobilize volunteers from all over the place.
There were hundreds of people in shelters, and we needed help
organizing, help feeding and help registering. We also sent
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