About Us

Historic poster of a little boy proudly pointing to his Red Cross pin asking people to "Join!"

History and Timeline

On May 15, 1917, the American National Red Cross granted a congressional charter to the Nashville Area Chapter. The move came just after America entered World War I on April 19, 1917. Our first assignment… Raise $150,000. Volunteers did even better…raising $183,000. That's $33,000 over the goal. Since then, the Nashville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross has been steadfast in meeting goals (preparing Middle Tennessee for disasters with training, being the first to response to fires in local communities and providing 60 Middle Tennessee hospitals with their daily blood supply needs.)
  • 1900
    Tennessee Red Cross Association formed on January 16 in the reception parlors of Castner-Knott department store. Twelve Nashville women raise funds to send books and personal supplies to American troops involved in the Spanish-American War.
  • 1914
    First aid and water safety programs begin.
  • 1917
    Nashville fire occurs and the Red Cross becomes the community's response to local disaster.
  • 1918
    Belle Meade train wreck kills 99, injures 300. Red Cross provides community response. Flu epidemic kills over 500,000 nationwide. Red Cross is Nashville's primary responder. First aid and safety classes established to serve industry and business.
  • 1930
    "100 Days of Horror" drought hits Middle Tennessee. Requests for Red Cross assistance increase 125%.
  • 1933
    East Nashville tornado. Damage estimated at $2,000,000 with1,618 buildings damaged or destroyed. $22,675.28 raised by Red Cross to aid victims.
  • 1937
    Flooding displace 2,000 Nashvilians. Red Cross evacuates all. Chapter services expand by 40,000 volunteers to meet War Relief efforts.
  • 1949
    Nashville Regional Blood Program established. Tennessee Governor is first donor.
  • 1962
    Red Cross is largest single public service agency in Middle Tennessee.
  • 1976
    First person in the U.S. to undergo successful limb re-attachment, David Glen Jackson, is married. Twenty-seven pints of blood donated by the Nashville Area Chapter saved his life.
  • 1980
    Aquatics program provides special water activities for disabled persons.
  • 1987
    Project Help and local utilities companies provide assistance to low income seniors.
  • 1992
    Agreement with the Middle Tennessee Japan Ladies Society established. Representatives recruit volunteers to serve in Blood Center and in other chapter activities.
  • 1997
    Chapter's 80th Birthday is celebrated with open house on November 1997.
  • 1998
    April 16 tornado caused severe disaster damage. Response resulted in 1,000 volunteers to assist victims. 186,000 meals were served in two weeks and community raised $1.4 million for Red Cross assistance to disaster victims.
  • 2001
    September 11 terrorist attacks against World Trade Center Towers in New York. Red Cross responds for months afterwards, serving meals/snacks, providing emotional assistance and providing assistance to thousands of victims and their family members. More than 60 Nashville Area Chapter volunteers responded.
  • 2002
    Newly appointed President/CEO of American Red Cross, Marsha Johnson Evans, visits the Nashville Area Chapter and Tennessee Valley Blood Services Region.
  • 2003
    The Nashville Area Red Cross launches Together We Prepare, a preparedness project encouraging individuals, business and families to build an emergency kit, develop a disaster plan, give blood, get trained in CPR/First Aid and become a Red Cross volunteer.
  • 2004
    Nashville responds to hurricanes on the Gulf Coast. Red Cross volunteers from the Nashville Area Chapter complete roughly 50 assignments in the relief operation.
  • 2005
    Tornadoes strike in Ashland City, Goodlettsville, Hendersonville and Gallatin. Nashville Area Chapter mobilizes the fastest response in Red Cross history, and delivers over $400,000 in emergency financial assistance.
  • 2010
    In May 2010, Tennessee experienced the worst flooding the state had seen in 30 years. The Red Cross was quick to assist, supporting a total of 37 shelters and serving 350,000 meals and snacks.