Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Spirit of Caring—the American Red Cross Partnership with AvalonBay Communities

Company Donates $1 Million Plus—CPR Classes for Employees; Blood Donation Drives; Life-Saving Equipment Purchases; Home Fire Campaign Volunteers

By Clarice Nassif Ransom, Volunteer

The American Red Cross prevents and eliminates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors, says its mission statement.

To have a spirit of caring, genuine kindness and concern for others, is a core value of AvalonBay Communities, an equity REIT, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, and in the business of developing, redeveloping, acquiring and managing apartment communities in leading metropolitan areas nationwide.

When the two organizations form a partnership, the end goal is clear—building strong communities—which is the theme of the AvalonBay Communities’ strategic philanthropy program that was launched in 2015 when company executives made the first contribution of $250,000 toward a four-year, $1 million commitment to support the American Red Cross.

“This partnership is a model for the American Red Cross,” says Denise Miller, American Red Cross Executive Director, Fairfax, Virginia, who serves as the national liaison to AvalonBay Communities. “I get asked by my colleagues, ‘Why does this partnership work?’ It’s the corporate culture of this company and the people who work for it. Also, for the American Red Cross, no money, no volunteers, means no mission. Why we can be there to help alleviate human suffering during disasters is because of the generosity of donations from partners like AvalonBay Communities. They have donated a lot money and employee volunteers for our mission, and we are grateful. We want to thank AvalonBay Communities for all they do for us and for allowing their employees to give back to the community.”

AvalonBay Communities provides its employees nationwide with Red Cross CPR training, purchases life-saving equipment from Red Cross, sponsors on-site blood donations, and allows its employees to volunteer on company time.

In 2016, employees from AvalonBay Communities donated 1,017 pints of blood; 232 were trained in Adult First Aid/CPR/AED; and more than $260,000 was donated to the Red Cross, not including the cost of training and equipment.

“Each pint of blood potentially saves 3 lives, which means the employees of AvalonBay Communities contributed to potentially saving 3,051 lives—that is amazing,” said Miller. “Also, being certified to save the lives of your employees, your residents, and your families is a valuable asset.”

Miller encouraged the employees to keep up the great work and to also consider becoming more involved in the American Red Cross’s nationwide Home Fire Campaign, where local partners and volunteers go to at-risk neighborhoods and install free smoke alarms, free batteries, and supply fire prevention information.

“We also work with military and veteran hospitals that need volunteers,” said Miller. “We provide comfort carts to the hospital. When our volunteers go to talk to the patients and families, they bring the comfort cart which is stocked with everything from puzzles and books to snacks.”

The Arlington location of AvalonBay communities is hosting a blood drive for its employees on March 1 and many are already signed up. The nationwide corporate goal this year is to donate 1100 pints of blood.

“AvalonBay has a long-standing value of a Spirit of Caring, and our partnership with the Red Cross makes this value visible,” said Tim Naughton, AvalonBay Communities Chairman and CEO. “We are proud to support the mission of the Red Cross.”

Mark Delisi, Senior Director, Corporate Responsibility, for AvalonBay Communities, said the partnership with the American Red Cross is built on mutual respect and passion for building strong communities.

“We are committed to creating a better way to live, for our residents, our employees, our shareholders, and our partners,” said Delisi. “Our commitment to Corporate Responsibility is an ongoing journey. We are thankful to the American Red Cross for being a perfect partner to help us achieve our goal, and to Denise Miller in particular, for being an exceptional liaison, always responsive, enthusiastically supporting our efforts to make a difference for our communities nationwide.”

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