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American Red Cross Celebrates 100 Years in Chicago in 2015


The American Red Cross will celebrate 100 years of serving Chicago in 2015. For the last century, 365 days a year, the American Red Cross in the Greater Chicago area has been ready to assist those in need during times of emergency in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities. In that time, the Red Cross has also served millions of local people from health and safety instruction, to lifesaving blood collection, support to military members, and connecting families torn apart by war or conflict, in addition to disaster response for the more than 1,200 home fires that occur annually in the community. 

The Red Cross kicked off the centennial activities with a blood drive at Union Station on Jan. 21 where 430 units were collected in one of the largest day-long blood collection events in the nation. The celebration continues with seasonal observances throughout the year, including lighting the Chicago skyline red March 5-12 during the national Red Cross Month, a celebration marking the June charter anniversary, and installing 1,000 smoke alarms in communities. 

In observance of the centennial, the Red Cross is asking Chicagoans this year to do one of four things:

1 - PLEDGE TO BE PREPARED. Get ready for the unexpected, which could include making a disaster kit, taking a CPR course, or downloading a free first aid app. Apps can be found here as well as on itunes and GooglePlay stores.  

2 - GIVE BLOOD. Download our free blood donor app or visit www.redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive near you. Someone in the U.S. needs blood every 2 seconds.  

3 - DONATE. To make a financial contribution go to www.redcross.org/donate or call 1800-REDCROSS. 91 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to humanitarian services and programs.  

4 - VOLUNTEER. Give the gift of your time by signing up as a volunteer at www.redcross.org/volunteer. More than 90% of the American Red Cross workforce is comprised of volunteers. 

SOCIAL MEDIA Throughout the centennial year, interact with the Red Cross in Chicago online using the hashtag #ChicagoRedCross100. Share your Red Cross story or memory by using the centennial hashtag when posting to your social media accounts. Receive updates on Red Cross services, programs and centennial events and activities at @ChicagoRedCross on Twitter and American Red Cross of Greater Chicago on Facebook

RED CROSS HISTORY IN CHICAGO The Red Cross established a local chapter to serve the people of Chicago on June 18, 1915. Six weeks later, the organization conducted its first disaster response effort after the Eastland steamship carrying 2,500 people capsized on the Chicago River, taking 844 lives. At the time, it was the most devastating maritime disasters in the nation’s history. 

Over the next 100 years, the Red Cross grew its support in the community through five service lines that include first aid and safety training, blood collection, processing and distribution, support for military members and their families, international humanitarian aid, in addition to disaster response to fires, floods and tornadoes. 

Very much ingrained with the City of Chicago from the start, the Board Member list of the Chicago Chapter in 1915 reads like a list of street names, historical landmarks and successful companies still very much a part of the Chicago landscape today. Arthur T. Aldis, Dr. Frank Billings, Caleb H. Canby, Mrs. Benjamin Carpenter, William J. Chalmers, Joseph Cudahy, Charles G. Dawes, J.V. Farwell, James B. Forgan, W.A. Garnder, James Keeley, S.C. Kingsley, Frank G. Logan, Dr. L.L. McArthur, Cyrus H. McCormick, Julian Mason, Arthur Meeker, J.J. Mitchell, Seymour Morris, Dr. J.B. Murphy, Adolph Nathan, John J. O’ Connor, Mrs. Potter Palmer, H.J. Patten, James Patten, George Porter, George M. Reynolds, John Scott, Francis T. Simmons, James Simpson, Orson Smith, A.A. Sprague II, Horner A. Stillwell, B.E. Sunny, Mrs. Frederick Tice, Mrs. Russell Tyson, Fred W. Upham, Mayor William Hale Thompson, Charles H. Wacker, and William Wrigley, Jr. 

READY 100 CENTENNIAL SPONSORS Centennial sponsors of the Red Cross in 2015 include: Otho S. A. Sprague Memorial Institute, Schneider Electric, Ace Hardware, Allstate, Discover, Fresenius Kabi, Grainger, Gerald A. & Karen A. Kolschowsky, Kirkland & Ellis, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Navistar, PwC, USG, Aon, Baxter, BMO Harris Bank, Constellation Brands/Crown Imports, C. Reed Parker, Deloitte, Fortune Brands, JLL, Nicor Gas, Oil-Dri, and UL.

100 YEARS OF SERVING CHICAGO For the last 100 years, the American Red Cross has been there for people in the Chicago area during the moments when they needed us. Since our chapter was chartered in 1915, we have helped millions of people affected by local disasters including home fires, floods, tornadoes and seasonal emergencies. From health and safety classes, to lifesaving blood collection and support of military members, their families and veterans, the Red Cross has helped make our community safer and more prepared for what may come in the next 100 years. Join us during the 2015 Red Cross Centennial: Volunteer, Donate, Celebrate. 

About the American Red Cross 

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross of Chicago and Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in Illinois. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.