Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the recipient of the 2020 American Red Cross Partnership Award.
“Every year we give an award to an extraordinary partner, and I truly can’t think of a better partner than the Church,” said Gail J. McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, who made the presentation at an awards dinner at the organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.
“When you think about [it, our] missions are very much aligned,” said McGovern. “We’re both trying to alleviate human suffering.”
Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé was in the nation’s capital to accept the prestigious award on behalf of the Church for its donations and volunteer efforts. “We are happy to represent the many members of the Church that contribute and help and collaborate with the Red Cross.”
He was joined by Sister Sharon Eubank, president of Latter-day Saint Charities and first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency.
“We have contributed about seven million dollars of donations over the past four years in many fields. But really, what is the most important is not the number of dollars. It is [the] number of hours that our members have contributed,” added Bishop Caussé.
“I’ve been in the field, on the ground in so many areas of disasters, and they know our helping hands and they like to see the members of the Church rallying and cooperating, collaborating together,” Bishop Caussé elaborated.
“They’re probably one of our most important partners in the United States because of our shared values, volunteerism, emergency response, being the first people on the ground, the blood drives, all of those kinds of things,” said Sister Eubank. “Our work just overlaps over and over again as we try to help communities that are in distress.”
Latter-day Saint Charities is the single largest blood drive sponsor for the Red Cross. Last year, more than 66,000 people rolled up their sleeves to give blood in Church meetinghouses across the country.
“The Church just always steps up and helps us, whether it’s disaster response or our blood services business,” added McGovern. “They’re always there for us, and they’re always there to step up to help people in need. And that’s what makes the relationship extraordinary.”
“We apply those two great commandments to love God. And because we love God, we love our neighbor. And this is considered and recognized by many around us,” explained Bishop Caussé.
Red Cross Partnership
The Church has partnered with the American Red Cross for more than a century. Church historians have found correspondence between the leaders of the organizations that dates back to 1898.
“I was shocked to realize Clara Barton and Emmeline B. Wells, who’s my predecessor in the Relief Society, started corresponding in the late 1890s, and they talked about volunteerism and things that they could do,” said Sister Eubank. “It was Emmeline Wells who started the [Red Cross] chapter in Salt Lake City because the Spanish-American War was going, and they were giving comfort kits to soldiers who were getting on the train.”
“I would highlight the word ‘longevity.’ We have actually found correspondence that Clara Barton sent to the Church,” said McGovern.
She continued, “I am just so profoundly grateful for this relationship. And it has taken us to new heights. And it’s just a privilege to be working with the Church of Jesus Christ [of] Latter-day Saints.”
“I don’t think I can go to any place in this country and most places around the world that there is not an American Red Cross or Red Cross team that is there on the ground in the field involved,” said Bishop Caussé.
He said it’s easy for volunteers to find available opportunities for service. “You can go to JustServe on your mobile app and you will find all kinds of projects, including the American Red Cross, but also many other humanitarian organizations.”
PRESS RELEASE FROM Church Newsroom