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$50,000 Grant from Univera Healthcare to Improve Disaster Preparedness


The American Red Cross says that 20,000 more people in upstate New York will be prepared for house fires, floods, ice storms and other disasters thanks to a $50,000 grant from Univera Healthcare and its Rochester-based parent company.

The grant will enable American Red Cross officials to offer “Be Red Cross Ready” disaster preparedness programs in 33 counties of upstate New York, including the Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica and Southern Tier regions. In addition to community presentations, thousands of people will now be able to access informational literature to help them prepare for disasters on their own.

“Many of our employees learned the value of disaster preparedness when Tropical Storm Irene devastated the eastern parts of the state this summer,” said Art Wingerter, president, Univera Healthcare. “Part of our mission is to improve the quality of lives in the communities we serve, and having a prepared community does just that.”

Univera Healthcare and its parent company employ 6,600 employees in 50 locations throughout upstate New York. On Aug. 28, Tropical Storm Irene devastated the Schoharie office of Support Services Alliance, a Univera Healthcare affiliate. Univera Healthcare offices in Binghamton also closed for a few days due to the storm.

The Be Red Cross Ready program will target seniors, faith communities, youth and under-served individuals such as those with disabilities.

The program has three goals, which are to help participants:

  • Get a kit – Include basic supplies such as water, non-perishable foods, a battery-powered radio and medication;
  • Make a plan – Determine where they should meet if individual family members are separated and decide where participants would go if evacuated;
  • Be informed – Learn which disasters are more likely to occur in their areas and how to protect themselves from such events.
  • “Natural and human-caused disasters can strike suddenly and it’s critical that as many people as possible are prepared,” said Kenneth Turner, Sr. Director of Emergency Services for the American Red Cross, Serving Erie & Niagara Counties. “We’re grateful for Univera Healthcare’s support and recognition that such programs help save lives.”

    To register for Be Red Cross Ready, go to or call 716-878-2230.

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    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization—not a government agency—and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at

    Univera Healthcare is a nonprofit health plan that is part of a family of companies financing and delivering health services for more than 1.8 million upstate New Yorkers. Based in Buffalo, the health plan serves more than 145,000 members across the eight counties that comprise Western New York.

    Learn more about Univera Healthcare:

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