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American Red Cross, NAMB forge new agreement on disaster relief

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–The American Red Cross signed an agreement with the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board Nov. 2 that continues a longstanding disaster relief partnership between the agencies, a partnership that last year resulted in a combined savings of an estimated $14 million.

The “statement of understanding” is the third since 1986 to address formally a relationship that has existed since 1970. The partnership has allowed Southern Baptist disaster relief units to work closely with the American Red Cross in meal preparation, child care, cleanup and recovery after major storms and in other efforts.

New items addressed in the agreement include a formal description of the existing relationship between the two organizations in chaplaincy services and “aviation incident response.”

John Clizbe, vice president for disaster relief services for the American Red Cross, commended Southern Baptist efforts as a model of how nonprofit organizations can work together synergistically.

“We value this relationship enormously,” he said before a public signing of the agreement at NAMB’s offices in Alpharetta, Ga. “When I have been asked for an example of a statement of understanding and sympathy for the American Red Cross, I almost always refer to our relationship with you [NAMB]. It is the epitome of how a good working relationship should be formed and what it is all about.”

Clizbe noted that both agencies share a commitment to donors that makes stewardship of utmost importance, and partnerships such as this demonstrate the value of working together.

“If there are ways in which we can work together and save our organization millions of dollars by doing so, we’re serving people effectively and efficiently,” he said.

“I am deeply indebted to you for your partnership with us,” Clizbe added later. “And on behalf of the … American Red Cross and on behalf of the American people I want to thank you.”

Robert E. Reccord, president of NAMB, noted that the agency is actually only the national “nerve center” for a vast network of dedicated Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers in 42 state conventions and 45,000 churches.

“So we just get to symbolize who Southern Baptists are. And as that nerve center we commit to you that we’ll continue to do everything we can to mobilize as many people and as many hearts as possible to stand shoulder to shoulder and soul to soul with you as Red Cross,” he said. “Because it is not just the physical step that they need, it is the emotional, and the psychological and the caring that they need as well.”

Savings to the American Red Cross due to the partnership is estimated at more than $9 million last year, while savings to Southern Baptist disaster relief in food and supplies is estimated more than $5 million.

During 1999 Southern Baptist volunteers, organized in local units and through state conventions, responded to 97 different events and prepared 1.6 million meals in support of American Red Cross operations. More than 16,000 volunteers were involved in both domestic and international responses.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: RED CROSS AGREEMENT.

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  • James Dotson