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First and Second Ladies Visit the Red Cross

Wednesday was an exciting day at the American Red Cross National Headquarters! We had the privilege to host the Launch of the Joining Forces Impact Pledge event, in coordination with the White House, the Council on Foundations and the White Oak Steering Committee. Joining Forces is the White House initiative to rally the military, nonprofit, philanthropic and everyday communities to better support our service members, veterans and their families. This event announced and celebrated that more than $160 million has been pledged over the next five years to support military families, and that amount far surpasses the goal of $100 million!

The event was held in the American Red Cross National Headquarters' historic and beautiful Hall of Service.

The event was held in the American Red Cross National Headquarters’ historic and beautiful Hall of Service.

The event had many prestigious speakers, including leaders from the military, nonprofits, and foundations, and it all led up to the women of the hour: Michelle Obama and Jill Biden!

Michelle&Jill2

Michelle Obama and Jill Biden were introduced by Chissandra Jackson (center), a military child and NMSI Scholarship recipient.

Michelle Obama reminded us that heartwarming coming home videos are not the end of the story. Watch her thoughtfully express the questions that these donations are going to help answer:

Philanthropy is a vital aspect to answering these questions. The Red Cross is grateful to be the recipient of some of these donations, especially from our Service to the Armed Forces Giving Program members (MGM Resorts, The Pantry, and University of Phoenix), who donate at least $250,000 each year to help the Red Cross help military families so they are not facing these burdens alone. Through the continuum of care, the Red Cross is there from the beginning of service members’ careers, throughout active duty, during transition to civilian life, and throughout veterans’ lives. Go to redcross.org/military to learn more or to donate. Every dollar counts!

Mrs. Obama also thanked the Red Cross and reminded us that she herself is a Red Crosser:

I also want to thank everyone at the Red Cross not only for hosting us today, but for the incredible work you do every day.  Red Cross has a special place in my heart because I served on the board in Chicago.  We have seen the vital role you play for our country over these past few days as you all are working around the clock to help communities in Arkansas and all across the South and the Midwest recovering from a string of devastating tornados.  So we are especially grateful, as we always are, for your extraordinary efforts, especially in times like these.” (Video)

To learn more about the event and the pledge, see the White House blog post, which includes the full video of the First and Second Ladies’ speeches.

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