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Serving Our Communities

Grainger’s culture of service extends into the local communities where our team members live and work. Our partnerships, products, and people enable us to provide vital resources to advance the lives of those around us. Our community investments reflect the nature of our business, and our commitments are focused where we make the most of our resources. We focus on disaster preparedness and response, education and workforce development, and local civic and community engagement.


DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE

Pride in service, our products and our supply chain expertise make us a natural leader in disaster preparedness and response, and as a result, we have been a long-time partner of the Red Cross. In fact, Grainger has donated nearly $17 million in cash and product to the American Red Cross since 2001 and the Canadian Red Cross since 2009.

Each year, the American Red Cross responds to disasters across the country—from home fires to tornadoes and severe winter weather, hurricanes and floods to transportation accidents and explosions. The Red Cross not only provides food, shelter and clothing but also offers comfort and care to those affected by disaster during their time of greatest need. Through our relationship with the American Red Cross, we continue to leverage our resources, best practices in logistics, team member engagement and technology to assist in the accomplishment of their mission.

Giving

As a supporter of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program® (ADGP), we invest in disaster relief before the disaster occurs, ensuring the Red Cross can pre-position supplies, secure shelters, maintain vehicles and train volunteers nationwide.

In 2016, we committed to the $1 million level of AGDP support for the American Red Cross during its 2017 fiscal year. These funds will be used to provide for signature programs like AGDP, activities like fire alarm distribution and installation, increased volunteer engagement and local emergency response vehicles. A large part of this support was Grainger’s contribution to replenish nearly $400,000 worth of supplies when the Red Cross’ inventory was depleted by Hurricane Matthew and the floods in Louisiana.

Home fires are the most common disaster in the U.S., and the Red Cross responds to one every eight minutes. In 2014, the Red Cross launched a nationwide campaign aimed at reducing home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent in the next five years. Grainger supports the program with an annual donation of smoke detectors, which are installed by volunteers and fire departments in at-risk communities. The campaign makes a huge difference, as more than 656,000 smoke detectors have been installed since the beginning of the program, including more than 50,000 donated by Grainger thus far, and more than 130 lives have been saved.

Team Member Engagement

Grainger is the National Founding Sponsor of the Red Cross Ready When the Time Comes® (RWTC) corporate volunteer program in the U.S. and Canada. More than 1,700 Grainger team members have been trained as RWTC volunteers. Volunteers have helped the Red Cross respond to fires, floods and storms and have also become important preparedness partners, helping the Red Cross with disaster relief product kitting and smoke alarm installations.


One-on-One

CR:
The first question I ask anyone who wants to get involved with us is – why the Red Cross? What motivated you to give your time and become a board member of the Red Cross?
 
 
 
FC:
I personally admire the commitment it takes to run an organization that has to be in a constant state of emergency. You deal with so many disasters that would cripple an individual if he/she solely had to deal with the devastation encountered as a result. Although I feel I can contribute professionally and personally to your mission, I also feel because of the complexities of the issues you help others face, I can truly make a difference in a meaningful, powerful way.
 
 
 
CR:
What do you think are Grainger’s most valuable contributions and investments to the Red Cross and its mission?
 
 
 
FC:
Grainger’s expertise in the areas of supply chain operations and logistics. I’m proud of all we do to support the Red Cross, but what stands out for me is when we partnered to help you build Volunteer Connection, a resource to mobilize volunteers across the nation to support disaster relief. This is one single effort that drives home the notion of making a meaningful, powerful difference! This is something we believe in not only as individuals, but also as an organization.
 
 
 
CR:
In your view, how does our partnership benefit Grainger team members?
 
 
 
FC:
Our Red Cross partnership has given our team members a means by which to unite to support a single organization’s mission and purpose. As a company, it is important to us to collaborate to resolve issues or concerns for our customers, investors, team members and the community. The Red Cross partnership allows us to use our many resources – human, expertise and in-kind – to support local communities when they need us most.
 
 
 
CR:
Are there any examples that you can share to illustrate how close and supportive our partnership has become?
 
 
 
FC:
Our team members are passionate and continue to find creative ways to engage with this partnership. Our BRGs and Total Rewards team partnered with the Red Cross to recognize National Preparedness Month. Together, they held blood drives, hosted speakers, rallied to pack comfort kits for survivors of home fires and provided education to team members during the Total Rewards Road Show. The Red Cross was the first non-profit partner we have engaged with in that way.
 
 
 
FC:
Celena, I’d like to ask you a few things now. Of the opportunities we’ve shared to connect our team members with the Red Cross, what stands out most to you?
 
 
 
CR:
In 2014, we launched a national initiative to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires in the U.S. by 25 percent by 2020. Grainger provides tens of thousands of smoke alarms for this initiative, and your team members volunteer to visit homes, install alarms, and better prepare households. I am so proud that the very first officially documented life saved in this initiative was an alarm that Grainger donated. Through the volunteer efforts of your team members, lives are being saved.
 
 
 
FC:
How can we help the Red Cross leverage Grainger’s expertise to deliver the services you provide to the community?
 
 
 
CR:
You mentioned Grainger’s expertise in supply chain operations and logistics. In 2014 Grainger helped us streamline our national warehouse operations, which was extremely valuable. Our model requires a consistent and reliable supply chain to be effective, so we work to shield our logistics against new and emerging risks. Grainger’s thought leadership helped us recognize assumptions we had about our inventory planning and supply chain.
 
 
 
FC:
How have you seen Grainger strengthen our partnership?
 
 
 
CR:
Grainger has been such a long, steadfast partner of the Red Cross. A key collaboration that comes to mind is our Annual Disaster Giving Program® (ADGP). As an ADGP member, Grainger provides the Red Cross with sustainable, non-episodic funding that is critical to plan and invest before disaster happens. This collaboration means that we can be there – day or night – to offer shelter, supplies, meals and hope after a disaster and during recovery, no matter how long it takes.
 
 
 
FC:
As a board, how do we help the Red Cross reach its mission?
 
 
 
CR:
Board members play a valuable role in helping the Red Cross fulfill its mission. We want to support, engage and recognize our volunteers, and we look to our board members to lead the symbiotic relationship with our partners. This year, our Board helped us identify new opportunities for growth and connect with potential new partners in our community. With your help, we further developed the resources and expertise we need to assist individuals and families in the face of emergencies and disasters.