Alan and Harriet Lewis present Red Cross CEO with check for disaster relief
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 18 was a snowy Monday in Boston—and a national holiday, to boot—but nothing was keeping Deborah Jackson, CEO of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay, from her 11:00am meeting with Alan and Harriet Lewis at Grand Circle Foundation headquarters.
The previous Friday, Deborah had learned that the Foundation had collected $400,000 from travelers and associates to support relief efforts in Haiti. Would Deborah please come to
accept the check in person? "Before my assistant even finished asking the question," said Deborah, "I interrupted and said, 'I'm there!'"
By the time Deborah arrived to receive the check, the total had climbed to $500,000—all raised online within a 96-hour period that began on January 14, when Alan and Harriet sent an email inviting travelers to donate to the Red Cross through Grand Circle Foundation. In an incredible outpouring of support, more than 3,500 travelers and associates gave a total of $350,000—$150,000 of which was matched by the Foundation.
Speaking to a gathering of Grand Circle associates and executives in honor of the check presentation, Alan remarked that Grand Circle Foundation has worked with the Red Cross in the past following several other natural disasters—but this is the first time the Foundation has utilized the internet to quickly call upon their network of supporters to aid in fundraising efforts. "It's amazing what has occurred," said Alan. "It shows that our travelers and associates are real global citizens. They care about the global community."
Deborah, too, was taken aback by the success of the campaign in such a short amount of time. "I can't tell you how much of a difference this makes," said Deborah. "It's an amazing outpouring, and I can't thank you enough."
At this time, the primary objective of the Red Cross in Haiti is to provide what they call "mass care" to the survivors of the quake—"for the people who are left standing," said Deborah, "and not in hospitals." To this end, the Foundation donation will help supply victims with their most immediate needs, such as food and water. The Foundation plans to update donors about more specific uses for their funds as details become available.
Alan and Harriet are incredibly grateful to all of the travelers who made this donation possible. "We have always believed that we serve America's greatest generation," said Alan, "and this recent outpouring from our travelers only confirms it."
Update as of 1/22/10: After raising a grand total of more than $527,000 for the Red Cross, we are no longer accepting donations for Haiti. We strongly encourage those who wish to donate to give to the Red Cross directly.