The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter has selected Paula Downey, the President and Chief Executive Officer of CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA insurer, as the 2014 Humanitarian CEO of the Year. Paula is being recognized for embodying the visionary qualities of a humanitarian by being a leader, an advocate, and a philanthropist, who has made a significant contribution to the Bay Area community. She is the first woman to receive this honor.
“No one is more deserving of this award than Paula,” beamed Mark Cloutier, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter. “Through Paula’s leadership, CSAA Insurance Group’s partnership with the Red Cross is empowering everyday people to make their communities safer and more resilient and able to rebuild their lives after tragedy strikes.”
As the CEO of one of the nation’s largest providers of personal insurance, Paula has a unique understanding of the impact of disasters and strongly believes in disaster preparedness, aligning her company’s values with those of the Red Cross. As part of the company’s response team, she traveled to Oklahoma following the series of devastating tornadoes this past spring where she personally witnessed AAA and Red Cross teams working tirelessly side by side to help the residents.
Paula shared that she was “honored and humbled” to be selected for the prestigious award. “I am inspired by our generous and caring AAA employees, by all who provide financial support for lifesaving Red Cross programs and by the selflessness of Red Cross employees and volunteers, who accomplish so much with every dollar raised.”
Over the past 14 years, the company has hosted 170 blood drives and delivered 6,800 pints of blood. Since 2008, 337 employees have participated in Red Cross “Ready When the Time Comes” Preparedness courses and Red Cross Disaster Drills. The company also offered CPR training to all employees.
CSAA Insurance Group also funds the Community Safety Foundation, a major contributor in the area of emergency preparedness, response, and recovery through a $2 million grant to the Red Cross.
Paula will formally accept the award at the 2014 Red Cross Gala, the year’s premiere fundraising event held on April 5, 2014, for 750 attendees at the Great Lawn on Treasure Island. Last year’s Red Cross Gala raised more than $1.3 million for local disaster preparedness, response, and recovery in addition to raising awareness of the vital role the Red Cross plays in local and global communities.