About Us

  • Historic poster of a little boy proudly pointing to his Red Cross pin asking people to "Join!"

For more than 100 years, the American Red Cross in Wisconsin purpose is to offer aid and resources to others to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies through immediate assistance, education, outreach and training.

Today, in addition to domestic disaster relief, the American Red Cross offers educational programs that promote health and safety; support and comfort for military members and their families; the collection, processing and distribution of lifesaving blood and blood products; and international relief and development programs.

Wisconsin Historical Timeline

  • 1898
    The Red Cross Society of Wisconsin sponsored concerts for returning veterans and furnished volunteer nurses for the Fourth Wisconsin Regiment during their training encampment.
  • 1909
    A young geology professor organized a team and formalized the first Midwest Chapter of the American Red Cross – Dane County. Initial focus was to provide first aid instruction.
  • 1915
    Mr. Ralph Owen founded the Eau Claire Chapter. He traveled to France during WWI and had seen first-hand what the Red Cross was doing to help soldiers on the battlefield.
  • 1916
    The Central committee of the Red Cross officially recognized the Greater Milwaukee chapter of the American Red Cross.
  • 1918
    A home for soldiers was opened at 471 Marshall St. in Milwaukee, for soldiers to spend the night, bathe and eat breakfast without charge.
  • 1919
    Two Milwaukee Red Cross volunteers, Major Alfred E. James and Captain Edward A de Surentin, awarded the Cross of the Royal Order of the Redeemer by King Alexander of Greece.
  • 1941
    After the Pearl Harbor Attack, a blood service program was established and continued with great success throughout WWII.
  • 1950
    3,456 pints of Type O blood were shipped from Madison to South Korea.
  • 1961
    The Greater Milwaukee Chapter laid their cornerstone for the new headquarters building on 2600 W. Wisconsin Ave., using a $55,800 bequest from John Phillips Dieterle.
  • 1976
    Volunteers provided hot meals, firewood, generators and shelter to thousands of local citizens and farmers during a devastating ice storm in Southeastern Wisconsin.
  • 1980
    Developed curriculum to educate youth on how to be great babysitters. Today, it’s a national program.
  • 1982
    Participated in our first local mock airline disaster at Billy Mitchell Field.
  • 1984
    Barneveld F5 tornado destroys 90% of the town and nine people lost their lives.
  • 1988
    Gwen T. Jackson rose to one of the highest volunteer positions, National Chair of Volunteers, and later became a member of the American National Red Cross Board of Governors.
  • 1991
    Elizabeth Dole becomes our first female President since Clara Barton and visits Wisconsin during her tenure.
  • 1996
    Weyauwega train derailment leads national news; explosions can be seen from miles away. Red Cross sheltering, feeding and emotional support comforts the county.
  • 1996
    Red Cross Services building in Green Bay opens. This 24,000 square foot structure houses disaster, transportation and blood services plus Nurse Assistant Training programs.
  • 1996
    F5 tornado rips Oakfield apart and remains the costliest in state history.
  • 2008
    The Red Cross provided $3.3 million in services when more than half the state was declared a federal disaster area due to massive flooding from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River.
  • 2009
    Formed a partnership with Dane County Emergency Medical Services and Madison Fire Department to teach a new lifesaving technique – Compression Only CPR.
  • 2010
    Following tradition, we supported the return of 3,200 Wisconsin National Guard members at Volk Field
  • 2010
    Holiday Mail For Heroes programs begins to brighten the holidays for service members abroad and Veterans here at home
  • 2011
    Tornados rip throughout northern Wisconsin with several counties affected.
  • 2012
    Wisconsin based Briggs & Stratton donates one million dollars in power washers and generators to Chapters nation-wide just ahead of the hurricane season.
  • 2014
    Wisconsin is consolidated to one Region with five Chapters, all supporting the same mission as One Red Cross.