The partnership award, given during an annual leadership awards dinner, “is presented annually to an outstanding external partner organization that has demonstrated excellence in partnering with the American Red Cross to achieve extraordinary results toward delivering the Red Cross mission.”
The missions of the Red Cross and Latter-day Saint Charities are very much aligned, McGovern said in presenting the award. “The Church just always steps up and helps us, whether it’s disaster response or our blood services business. 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.”
Accepting the award on behalf of Latter-day Saint Charities were Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé; Sister Sharon Eubank, president of Latter-day Saint Charities and second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency; and Shawn Johnson, vice president and director of operations for Latter-day Saint Charities.
For more than 100 years, Latter-day Saint Charities has been a valued partner of the American Red Cross in contributing money, gifts-in-kind, life-saving blood, volunteers and other donations to the organization’s efforts nationwide.
In accepting the award, Bishop Caussé said it was a great honor to represent the many members of the Church who contribute and help collaborate with the Red Cross through their ongoing partnership.
The Church applies the two great commandments of God — to love God and to love one’s neighbor, Bishop Caussé said. And those guiding principles are recognized by partners like the Red Cross as members of the Church and its wider communities are called and invited to help by contributing to charitable projects of organizations.
In her remarks, Sister Eubank said she learned recently that the partnership between the Church and the American Red Cross began in 1898 with Utah women’s suffrage leader and future Relief Society general president Emmeline B. Wells and Clara Barton, a pioneering nurse who founded the U.S. charitable organization.
“Those two powerful women started corresponding back and forth to each other as Emmeline Wells began the Greater Salt Lake chapter in 1898 to provide comfort kits for soldiers that were getting on the train to go fight the Spanish-American War,” Sister Eubank said.
By corresponding, the two women found ways they could help, and in the end, they became friends, she said. And that friendship continues today through the ongoing partnership of the organizations.
The Red Cross is one of Latter-day Saint Charities’ most important partners in the United States, Sister Eubank said. Because of their shared values, volunteerism, emergency response, and dedication to being the first people on the ground when needed, “our work overlaps over and over again as we try to help communities that are in distress.”
As the humanitarian arm of the Church, Latter-day Saint Charities is reported to be the largest single blood-drive sponsor for the American Red Cross, with more than 66,000 individuals donating in the last year alone. Additionally, the two organizations consistently work together to provide disaster relief following major disasters in the U.S. and its territories.
Latter-day Saint Charities has contributed more than $18 million of in-kind donations to the American Red Cross in the last decade and has helped respond to major disasters like the 2010 Haiti earthquake; hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma in 2017; Typhoon Yutu in 2018 and hurricane Dorian in 2019. Last year, Latter-day Saint Charities also helped provide the American Red Cross with 10 new emergency response vehicles.
In 2018, Latter-day Saint Charities was recognized as the first-ever American Red Cross Mission Leader. The designation recognizes Red Cross partners that donate $3 million or more annually and help advance the organization’s mission of “preventing and alleviating human suffering.”
Concluding her remarks as she presented the partnership award, McGovern said, “I am just so profoundly grateful for this relationship. 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.”