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Carmel resident Bob Balles to match gifts made to Red Cross through Dec. 31

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I can't think of anything better to do than help people who are struggling through disasters.

Giving to the American Red Cross has been part of Robert "Bob" Balles philanthropic DNA. To date, the Carmel resident has helped raise more than $30,000 for the organization with his matching gift initiative.

Bob began donating to the Red Cross in 2004. Several years ago, he increased the level of his giving, matching donations up to $3,600. In 2016, he has generously offered to match donations made to the Red Cross up to a total of $3,800.

"I'm trying my best to continue the tradition," he says. That's how Bob, a retired college math instructor, retired businessman, and investor describes his decision to donate thousands of dollars annually to the American Red Cross of the Central Coast in loving memory and in honor of his parents, William and Marie Balles.

Red Cross roots run deep in the Balles family. In fact, Bob Balles says his mother volunteered for several decades as a fundraiser in New York City on behalf of the Red Cross.

"My mother would go to banks and set up a table to solicit donations," he says. "She even occasionally approached neighbors with a donation can for contributions to the American Red Cross."

To reinforce his long-term support of the Red Cross, Bob has also made a bequest in his trust to continue the matching tradition. "I really admire the fact that the Red Cross assists people of all races, creeds, colors and ethnicities," he says.

Donations are the lifeblood of the American Red Cross, funding responses to large and small disasters across the country. It's a mission that moves Bob. "I can't think of anything better to do than help people who are struggling through disasters," he says.

In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the Central Coast Chapter — serving Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties — responded to 68 local disasters, assisting 114 families. The organization also trained 6,785 people in preparedness skills as well as CPR, AED, First Aid, and water safety skills.

Bob also tries to help other charities and educational institutions in addition to the Red Cross, and he has a keen interest in inspiring the next generation to study and excel in mathematics and science. "I'm giving annual academic excellence awards to students at Santa Catalina, Stevenson, and York Schools, as well as at other highly regarded high schools and universities," he says.

People wishing to include the Red Cross in their estate plans can obtain information on this web site.

To make a tax-deductible matched donation to the Red Cross, please contact Camilla Boolootian at (831) 600-4909 or mail your donation to American Red Cross of the Central Coast, Donation Processing Center, 1663 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 before December 31. Please write "Balles Match" in the memo section of your check.

People may also make gift via the Red Cross's online donation site. If this option is selected, please include "Balles Match" in the "In Honor Of" box.

Thank you.