Thursday, September 17, 2015

What is #GiveLocalLouisville?



For the second year in a row the Community Foundation of Louisville will host Give Local Louisville, an online “Giving Day” which raises money and awareness for many local nonprofits that serve the Louisville community. The Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter will join over 350 other nonprofit organizations from the Louisville area this year.

The event will start at 12:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 1, 2015, and last until 11:59 p.m. the same day. Donations will take place online, and every dollar given to local nonprofits will be proportionately matched by the Community Foundation of Louisville and its supporting partners. In addition, the nonprofit that raises the most money during certain periods of time will be eligible to win additional prize dollars. Last year, over 160 nonprofits raised $1.89 million dollars in 24-hours!

The money donated to the Red Cross during Give Local Louisville will be used to support Louisville and the surrounding area. Donations will start at $25 dollars, and with $25 dollars, the Red Cross can provide disaster training for a volunteer in disaster relief and a hot meal to someone at a shelter. $25 can provide a Red Cross clean-up kit to a family who needs help recovering from a disaster, and it can also provide comfort kits that include personal supplies like shampoo and toothbrushes to ten people. Help the Red Cross take advantage of this event! We need your to help to make this day big for the Louisville community!

For more information about Give Local Louisville and the participating nonprofits, check out www.GiveLocalLouisville.org. Also visit our donation page, and keep an eye out for posts from our Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter Facebook and Twitter in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Profile: Bill Downard



When people think of the Red Cross, chances are that they think of blood services, disaster relief, or the services to the military and their families that the Red Cross provides.

Bill Downard thinks about these things, too. He has to; as fleet manager for the Kentucky Region, Bill is responsible for managing all vehicles the Red Cross uses and making sure they are deployed during its operations.

After retiring two years ago from a long career in insurance, Bill became interested in volunteering for the Red Cross through his mother-in-law, who worked in Blood Operations. At first, Bill started out working in Blood Operations himself by picking up and transporting blood from donation sites. In April 2015, Bill shifted gears. Instead of driving, he became the manager for the Kentucky Region’s vehicle fleet.

Bill took the reins and rebuilt the position from the ground up. It opened up his eyes to areas of disaster response that he had never really envisioned before, so the true scope of Bill’s responsibilities comes at little surprise. Bill had to compile and build all of the data files he now uses to keep track of the fleet from scratch. Vehicles had to be located from where they had been placed across the state, and their maintenance had to be assessed.

When it comes to preparing and responding to disasters, Bill has to make sure that the proper paperwork is filed in order to meet the needs of operations. Not only is Bill responsible for sending vehicles to operations sites and reassigning vehicles all across Kentucky, but also making sure they are all in working order.

It was a learning process, and Bill doubts that his job is ever going to fully stop evolving. He finds all of it to be rewarding, though: Volunteering at the Red Cross has given him the opportunity to do something he enjoys that was totally different than in his working career. It gives him a sense of reward, and he loves getting to meet people who come together from all parts of the country to offer their time and help to the Red Cross. The ability to apply his skills in ways that give back to the Red Cross is important to Bill, and he encourages others to consider volunteering as well.