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Paula Downey Announced as Red Cross Humanitarian CEO of the Year

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (November 18, 2013) – The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter announced that it has named Paula Downey as the 2014 Humanitarian CEO of the Year. Downey is president and CEO of CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer. The announcement was made on November 5 at a reception for the Bay Area philanthropic and corporate community at the law offices of Pillsbury in downtown San Francisco. Downey will officially accept the award at the 2014 Red Cross Gala, which takes place on Saturday, April 5, 2014, on the Great Lawn on Treasure Island.

Each year, the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter selects a local CEO to be honored at the Red Cross Gala – one who embodies 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.

The American Red Cross is honoring Downey as this year’s recipient in recognition of her long-standing support of the American Red Cross. As the leader of CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer, Downey oversees a coast-to-coast operation providing AAA-branded insurance to members in 23 states and Washington D.C. The company’s 3,500 employees frequently work side by side with Red Cross volunteers to restore people’s lives in the wake of major disasters, such as Superstorm Sandy and the Moore, Oklahoma tornado.

CSAA Insurance Group and the local AAA club affiliate, AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah, have been partners with the American Red Cross for over 14 years. Together, the organizations have donated over $3 million to support disaster preparedness and training in their local communities. CSAA Insurance Group, Deloitte, and Saama Technologies are the presenting sponsors of the 2014 Red Cross Gala in San Francisco.

Keith White, Senior Vice President with Gap, Inc., and Board of Directors Chair for the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter welcomed the guests to the reception. 2014 Red Cross Gala Chairs Gwyneth Borden and Lillian Phan were on-hand to introduce Red Cross Gala Honorary Co-Chairs, Mary Cranston, Retired Senior Partner and Immediate Past Chair of Pillsbury, who in turn recognized Paula Downey for her leadership and personal commitment to supporting those in need.

In her remarks, Downey commented that her humanitarian values were instilled by her family at a young age and she brings that passion for supporting the community to her professional life. She continued, “Leaders inspire others to action. I am inspired by our generous and caring AAA employees, by all who provide financial support for life-saving Red Cross programs and by the selflessness of Red Cross employees and volunteers, who accomplish so much with every dollar raised.”

Finally, Mark Cloutier, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter, expressed his appreciation for the generous donations and support of community leaders as well as the corporate sponsorships that make the Red Cross Gala possible and help raise money to support Red Cross initiatives in the Bay Area.

About the Red Cross Gala

The Red Cross Gala is the annual signature fundraising event for the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter, which serves 4.5 million Bay Area residents. 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.

About the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter

As a community-based, humanitarian organization, the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter provides relief to those affected by disasters and empowers individuals in our community to prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. By helping people in the Bay Area learn how to take care of their families and neighbors, the Red Cross strengthens the community and makes it ready for all types of disasters, including home fires, earthquakes, wildfires and health emergencies. Call 1-888-4-HELP-BAY (1-888-443-5722) or visit to learn more. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.