The private sector owns and operates more than 85 percent of the nation’s critical infrastructure and has a major stake in the quick and efficient response to disasters. In addition, large companies have substantial resources – financial as well as donated goods and expertise – essential to helping communities during a crisis.
The Task Force will identify opportunities for the private sector to strengthen preparedness for disasters, expand partnerships with nonprofit relief organizations and foster communication among businesses and the federal government.
“The business community offers a strong network and diverse resources to help our country prepare for and respond to large scale disasters,” said Keyser. “Our involvement in disaster response is more than philanthropy. We have a responsibility to our employees, our customers and our communities to build the most effective disaster response.”
“Grainger has been a long-time leader in supporting local communities’ efforts to prepare for disasters,” said Terry McGraw, chairman of Business Roundtable and CEO of McGraw-Hill. “Dick has seen first-hand how valuable it is to educate employees and to work closely with the American Red Cross and other first responders. His leadership commitment will push the agenda of this Task Force forward, helping U.S. business become a key partner in the nation’s response to disasters.”
Keyser was recognized by the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago in 2006 for his leadership of corporate volunteerism and was recently selected by the American Red Cross to receive its Heritage of Service Award for Community Excellence in bringing the Ready When the Time Comes volunteer program to national prominence.
Partnership for Disaster Response was first activated immediately following Hurricane Katrina. As soon as Katrina struck, the partnership began facilitating communications about critical on-the-ground needs and urged member companies to contribute to the relief effort. The partnership recognizes the important role of the private sector and has developed a protocol for response to large scale disasters, and created a clearinghouse of information and resources, www.respondtodisaster.org, for companies planning and communication during disasters.
Grainger has partnered with the American Red Cross since 1991, providing more than $4 million in financial support, essential products and employee volunteers. Grainger also is the National Founding Sponsor of the Red Cross’s Ready When the Time Comes (RWTC), a national corporate volunteer program which engages corporations in providing trained volunteers who are ready to respond quickly in the time of a disaster.