Thursday, May 28, 2009

Right On-Target: Thanks for Your Votes!

Most meetings are boring, but ours has a secret weapon. You’re invited to attend the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago’s Annual Meeting to hear what your local Red Cross chapter is up to, and then learn more about how Blue State Digital is using social media to change the way non-profits communicate with their supporters.

Our speaker, Thomas Gensemer, was President Obama’s right-hand man on the campaign trail, using tools like Facebook and Twitter to help win votes and rally support.

Recently, the American Red Cross received an outpouring of support from our online fans during Target’s Bullseye Gives campaign on Facebook. We won 26 percent of the votes, which is a big deal considering all the worthy causes we were competing with! Our fans voted more than 75,000 times, earning us a share of $793,942. It was a real team effort, and it was great to see us all come together to support the Red Cross on Facebook. (Become a fan of our local chapter here!)

To learn more about the future of social media in the non-profit sector, come to our Annual Meeting! Click here to register. Spaces are free, but they are limited and an RSVP is required!

June 17, 2009
Loyola University of Chicago Water Tower Campus
Kasbeer Hall
25 E. Pearson, 15th floor
Chicago, IL

6 p.m. Meeting & Presentation
7 p.m. Reception
-Kristin Claes is a writer at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. She's been to a lot of meetings, but this one actually sounds like fun. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Las Tablas Partners with the Red Cross in May!

Throughout the entire month of May, Las Tablas Colombian Steakhouse will host "Raίces Fridays" (raίces means “roots” in Spanish) every Friday to benefit the Greater Chicago Red Cross. Proceeds from half of all sangria sales will be donated to the Red Cross!

Can you think of a better way to support the Red Cross than to delight in some tasty sangria and enjoy live Afro-Latin music on a summer night? The answer is NO WAY!
Las Tablas Colombian Steakhouse will feature a weekly showcase of some of Chicago’s finest traditional Afro-Latin music ensembles. Proceeds from half of all sales of Las Tablas’ famous sangria will go to support the important services the Red Cross provides to the local community every day, such as disaster relief and health & safety training.

Raίces Fridays:
Every Friday in May
Las Tablas Colombian Steakhouse
2942 N. Lincoln Ave.
9:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.
$5 Cover
Half of all Sangria sales benefit the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago
Live music schedule:
Nuestro Tambó: 1st, 3rd, and 5th Fridays
Ogunda Masá: 2nd and 4th Fridays

So, we'll see you tomorrow night and every Friday in May at Las Tablas!

Monday, May 18, 2009

We Didn't Start the Fire...

I’m sure many of you are familiar with renting an apartment. You check to make sure that each possible new residence has everything you had hoped for – large closets, a balcony or porch, new appliances. You also check all of the things your parents reminded you to look at, like water pressure, cleanliness, and check out the neighbors for any clues of insanity.

We’re checking in with you today to remind you to check out something – whether you’re in the market for a new place or have been cozy and comfortable at your current one for ages – renter’s insurance.

Your landlord’s insurance policy quite often does not cover your belongings, including that impressive wardrobe, brand new lap-top, and your DVD collection.
What exactly does this mean?
In the event of a fire or theft, your belongings would not be covered and it is up to you and you alone to replace them.


Glad we have your attention!

Too often we go to fires and those we assist do not have renter’s insurance. The American Red Cross responds to fires to provide assistance to those who experience a fire in their home for the first forty-eight hours after the fire. After that time frame has passed, our dedicated case-worker teams works to link those affected by a fire with other organizations throughout the Chicago-land area that may be able to help replace lost items. This way, everyone does their part, right? From our perspective, however, it is very difficult to only be able to provide phone numbers to someone who has lost everything.

On average, renter’s insurance costs about $15 a month for up to $30,000 of coverage.
That’s a little more than lunch, a little less than a decent hair cut, a little more than a cd, a little less than a monthly gym membership… you get our point, right?

You can usually get renter’s insurance from the same place that insures your car – how simple is that?

So please, for your darling AmeriCorps (us) – check out renter’s insurance!
(And let us know if we need to stop by a house-warming party or two!)
~Sam and Lily

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Two easy ways to help the American Red Cross

We need your help! From May 10 – 25, Target is allowing its Facebook “friends” and store guests to chose which of 10 national charities and causes—including the American Red Cross—should receive a portion of $3 million in charitable giving from Target.
Please visit Target’s Bullsesye Gives page on Facebook and vote Red Cross. Visitors can vote once per day, every day, throughout the length of the contest.
As an additional bonus, Target will also use the contest to help to connect voters with volunteer opportunities in their local communities.
The winners will be are announced May 26, and all funds donated to the Red Cross will be used to support our lifesaving programs.
Please join me in spreading the word about this terrific contest.

Now..what about those ButterBurgers? Today, right here in Chicagoland, selected Culvers will donate 10% of all sales to the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago-so visit one today and know that the custard you are eating is going toward a good cause.

Martha Carlos has always loved Target but this contest makes her like them even more-especially if the American Red Cross wins! As a vegetarian, she's never had a ButterBurger but Culver's custard is gooood!

Monday, May 11, 2009

"If I Don't Work, You Don't Live"

While cruising back from a fire last weekend, Sam and I came upon a billboard which read. “ If I Don’t Work, You Don’t Live” and it showed a picture of a smoke detector.
At first, I thought this was a bit over dramatic, unnecessarily terrifying – but after I thought about it, the message is more than appropriate.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), over 800 lives could be saved a year if smoke detectors were used and used properly.
Sam and I can attest to this figure with our own DAT experience. An overwhelming majority of those who experience a fire in their home are alerted by a smoke detector – some even accredit the detector with saving their lives.

While basic standards advise people to have at least one working smoke detector on each floor of a home, the NFPA suggests placing a smoke detector in each sleeping area of a home, stairways and basements.

Without being overly quixotic, we’d prefer to never have to respond to another fire and have to report back that there had been a fatality.

So please, install those smoke detectors. Already have them? Be sure to test them once a month.

Stay classy, Chicago.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Mena Tornadoes

Hello Readers -

We just wanted to give you a little information about how far the efforts of the American Red Cross Disaster Servies team stretches.

Two weeks ago, Sam had the opportunity to particiapte in the tornado recovery efforts in Mena, Arkansas. He would like to spend some time to discuss his experience:

When I arrived in the small town near the Oklahoma border I didn't know what to expect. It was my first national deployment, so all the information I had acquired was from stories told by my co-workers and volunteers. I was so excited to be able to have a deployment experience of my own and to make a difference in a new community.

It didn't take long for me to get into the action. The same day I flew into Little Rock and made the drive to Mena I was entering disaster data into the computers at our headquarters. Volunteers from around Arkansas had already met with clients before I had arrived and someone was needed to enter all the data. It wasn't the most thrilling work, but due to my training in Chicago I knew its importance.

The most rewarding part of my 6 day deployment was the opportunity to participate in the outreach efforts. This entailed driving through the community and speaking with people about how the Red Cross would be able to assist them. We also explained where we could be found and how long we would be there. Outreach allowed me to really feel like I was connecting and helping people on a personal level.

It was amazing to see, amidst all the destruction from the tornadoes, the incredibly supportive attitue of the entire Mena community. I wish everyone the best of luck and I was happy to do my part in helping with your recovery.

We encourage you to get involved with your local Red Cross chapter so you too can learn how to help in a national disaster.

- Lily and Sam

What's Good in Chicago

Hey Red Cross Readers!
How much do you love Chicago? My favorite thing about this remarkable Midwest metropolis is the seemingly limitless amount of entertainment. Especially so when the sun starts shining and the temperature is rising! That’s right, just because our focus is on safety and preparedness at the Red Cross doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate fun times. We just know how to do it right. So, if you’re looking to make the best of the time and space you occupy, here’s an update on the wonderful events that your city offers this month.

Thursday, May 16
Come out and experience a day of art, music, dance, and life at the grand opening of the Modern Wing at the The Art Institute of Chicago! Museum leaders, city officials, and the renowned architect of the Modern Wing, Renzo Piano, will be present for the brand new building’s civic dedication at 9 a.m. and ribbon cutting ceremony at 10. Performances by international and local artists will take place all day on an outdoor stage on Monroe Street as well as in galleries throughout the museum. Lecturers will be present to discuss the latest additions and interactive art programs will be available for kids and their families at the new Ryan Education Center. If you can’t make it for the event, be sure to stop by when you can and see the newest and most definitely the hottest cultural attraction in Chicago. Read about why it's so great!

Thursday, May 16 & Friday, May 17
The Chicago Green Festival, a joint project of Global Exchange and Green America, will showcase more than 350 diverse local and national green businesses at Navy Pier. More than 150 speakers will appear for insightful panel discussions and presentations on how Midwest neighbors, community nonprofits, and city departments are working together to make their cities a healthier place to live.

Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 14 – Oct 15
The Chicago Farmers Markets are a great place to find fresh fruits, vegetables, plants, and flowers from over 70 vendors at 20 locations throughout the city. My favorite is the Daley Plaza Farmers Market which takes place every Thursday from 11 a.m. – 3.

Sunday, May 24
Experience Chicago like never before – biking on a car-free Lake Shore Drive! The City of Chicago will open the eight lanes of Lake Shore Drive to bicyclists for the annual Bank of America Bike the Drive event. This is a benefit for the Active Transportation Alliance (formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation), a non-profit biking, walking and transit advocacy organization. Register Here to enjoy 15 miles of open road between the gorgeous Michigan Lake shore and the outstanding Chicago architecture.

But don’t forget to travel safely. Always bring a personal safety kit with you whenever you’re away from home. If you don’t have one, visit our store and find the right sized kit for you and your family. Planning on taking a dip in the lake after your bike ride? Sign up for swimming and CPR classes so you’re ready in case of emergencies.

I strongly encourage you to take full advantage of our lovely city this May and to enjoy the sunny seasons without regret. Be safe!

George J Hofmann II
Development Operations Intern at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago