Whether it’s helping neighbors down the street, across the country, or around the world, one organization is always there. The Gentlemen’s Fund initiative, Land Rover, and Jason Sudeikis are supporting the American Red Cross, the nation’s premier emergency-response organization.
The Red Cross is there through disaster—from house fires to hurricanes—to help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. By providing vehicles and financial assistance, Land Rover lends a valuable hand to the Red Cross in its response to everyday disasters. Each year, the American Red Cross assists victims of nearly 70,000 national disasters and provides aid to more than 90 million people with international disaster management and disease-prevention activities.
Our American Red Cross Tiffany Circle participated in a study on philanthropy among high net worth women, conducted by The Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University.
Among the interesting findings:
Women spend more time than men on due diligence before making decisions about giving to a charitable organization.
Women expect a deeper level of communication with the organizations they support and place greater importance than men on the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization and hearing about the impact of their gift.
Women want to be actively involved with an organization and its mission, with volunteering being one of the most important motivations for women to give.
Women are more likely than men to stop giving to an organization they had previously supported whereas men tend to be more supportive of the same causes year after year
Citing the report:
A convergence of social, demographic, cultural, and economic factors has increased women’s visibility and involvement in philanthropy in recent years. Women have increased access to education and income – two key predictors of philanthropy (Center on Philanthropy, 2007). Demographically, women’s expanding roles in society and the self-reported change in family structure have affected women significantly.
The American Red Cross Carolina Piedmont Region (based in Charlotte, N.C.) Tiffany Circle Society of Women members hosted fellow Tiffany members from several South Carolina regions for a welcome reception and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
Tiffany member M.A. Rogers opened her Charlotte home for a reception on Monday, Dec. 5, during which the members from Charlotte, Greenville and Charleston shared their current projects and upcoming events.
The women also heard a moving story from Amy Jones, whose husband Arnie performed CPR on her when she suddenly went into cardiac arrest during her ninth month of pregnancy. Amy, Arnie and their beautiful now 2-year-old daughter Elizabeth were happy to share their story.
“Anytime I can tell people how important it is to be trained in CPR, I’m happy to do it,” Amy told the Tiffany women. “Thank you to all of you for the work you do to support the Red Cross.”
Elaine Lyerly, National Tiffany Circle Co-Chair, spoke about how women can affect change in a powerful way. In fact, she noted, the Tiffany Circle is now international, with Canada, England and other countries growing their groups.
The next morning, the Tiffany women gathered at the Tiffany & Co. store in SouthPark Mall for breakfast and a private shopping event.
Martha Allen, Tiffany member Co-Chair from the Carolina Piedmont Region, thanked the women for traveling from throughout the Carolinas to join in the fun.
“I never say ‘Give until it hurts,’” Martha said. “I say, ‘Give until it feels good!’”
Training America’s next leaders is nothing new to the American Red Cross. Ask any one of the hundred-thousand Red Cross volunteers age 24 or younger what life-enhancing skills they are learning, and they’ll talk about Red Cross activities that turn them into leaders.
It is only fitting, then, that when the White House convened thought-leaders in the nonprofit, corporate and government sectors to talk about ways to develop strong nonprofit leaders, the forum take place at the American Red Cross. (See Gail McGovern’s note about this)
The White House Forum on Nonprofit Leadership highlighted the importance of the nonprofit sector as an economic force that needs effective leadership, and the need for a cohesive nonprofit leadership program. During the day, participating nonprofit leaders developed recommendations for recruiting and training nonprofit leaders, and identified potential ways to fund continuing leadership development programs.
“This is a critical set of conversations,” Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council at The White House, told forum participants. Barnes noted that the nonprofit sector employs 3.5 million people, 10 percent of the overall workforce. The nonprofit sector is growing faster than the business sector, and, in 2010, nonprofits contributed $779 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product.
“Effective leadership becomes more and more important each day as the nonprofit work load goes up and resources go down,” Barnes said.
Keynote speaker Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express Company, said leadership was a complicated subject, and quoted Napoleon for the definition he prefers: “The role of a leader is to define reality and to give hope.”
“Leadership,” Chenault said, “should not be equated with title.” Leadership is earned through competence, caring and judgment—characteristics that can be exhibited at any level. He also told the audience that “leadership can be learned.” Effective leaders study leadership, they practice leadership and they welcome feedback about their leadership behaviors.
When it comes to identifying future leaders, Chenault looks for several attributes, including a concern for people. He explained that a good leader must have concern for people, because they have to make decisions that directly impact people’s lives. “Great leaders get that emotional connection,” he said.
Other attributes on Chenault’s list are a high EQ, or execution quotient—someone who does what it takes to get the job done; and, because change is occurring at a rapid pace, adaptability.
The forum was closed by Valarie B. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, who encouraged participants to “write a new chapter in America’s story” as they develop and execute a strategy for developing nonprofit leaders.
Recalling President Obama’s work as a Community Organizer, Jarrett carried the message that President Obama understands the challenge and supports forum objectives.
Jarrett offered her own definition of leadership: “If you can’t motivate people to work together toward a common goal, you’re simply an expert,” she said, “Not a leader.”
The American Red Cross offers a number of opportunities for young volunteers to serve in leadership positions. Contact Your Local Red Cross for opportunities in your community
The following was written by Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American National Red Cross.
Recently, the Red Cross proudly hosted the White House forum on nonprofit leadership at our headquarters building in Washington, D.C. I had the honor of welcoming about two hundred guests to the event this morning in our Hall of service, where 100 years ago women volunteers rolled bandages for wounded soldiers during World War I.
Participants at the day-long dialogue will discuss the important role of nonprofit organizations and how to develop leadership within the sector to drive the expansion of community-based solutions to our nation’s most pressing social problems and create jobs. The nation’s 1.6 million nonprofit organizations employ 13.5 million workers, nearly 10% of the American workforce.
Co-conveners include The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Aspen Institute Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation, Center for Creative Leadership, Commongood Careers, Independent Sector, Public Allies and American Express.
I believe my road to the Red Cross illustrates an important lesson for future leaders in the nonprofit sector. What drew me to the American Red Cross after 28 years in the private sector was a desire to help a national treasure deal with a series of challenges, the most glaring of which was a $209 million deficit and a mountain of debt.
I walked in to the job with a preconceived notion that the Red Cross could simply benefit from some private sector-like leadership. But in truth, I was only half right.
We did deploy many of the techniques and initiatives that the for-profit sector would recognize and employ. We eliminated our deficit within two years and have actually delivered a surplus for the last two years in a row. We paid down some of our debt as well as consolidated back-office operations and centralized procurement. Today, we’re ten percent smaller than we were 6 months ago, and last fiscal year, 92 cents of every dollar went to the people we served.
These changes were necessary, but certainly not easy. We lost many of our valuable employees in process. However, none of these actions impacted our ability to deliver our mission. And let me tell you, we were tested by anything Mother Nature could throw at us—floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados and wild fires.
But here’s what I found so humbling: Red Crossers, and I dare say most people who work or volunteer in the independent sector, will do virtually anything to forward our mission.
They are here because of their innate nature to want to give back, to serve others and to be a part of something greater than themselves. When you explain to a Red Crosser that what you’re doing will forward the mission and make us even better stewards of our donors’ dollars, they actually become change agents. I’ve never experienced anything like this in the for-profit world.
As a leader, I’ve learned that leading from your heart as well as your head is more gratifying and fulfilling. It’s the nature of every employee and volunteer in our sector to be mission-driven. As we seek to invest in building capable leaders in the nonprofit industry, we need to learn to harness our employees’ desire to make a difference and use it to achieve our mission.
At the risk of sounding corny, tapping into the need that so many of us have to make a difference, will not only help our sector flourish, it will make the world a better place. Investing in talent, leadership, diversity, and our human capital will help nonprofits better serve our neighbors in the long-run.