Ever wonder why your favorite brand supports a particular cause or nonprofit? We sat down with Bill Bradley, vice president of Community Affairs at Anheuser-Busch, one of our longest standing partners to find out why the company gives to the Red Cross.
What inspires Anheuser-Busch to support the Red Cross?
We have a long-standing partnership with the Red Cross – dating back to 1906. Our co-founder Adolphus Busch saw first-hand the devastation caused by the San Francisco earthquake, and supported the relief efforts of the Red Cross. It’s that spirit of supporting communities in need that inspires our support today.
Do you have one example of when the Red Cross mission clicked for you? When did you understand the impact of the Red Cross mission, and how your company supports that mission?
Water is very important in our brewing process and is critical in disaster situations. We are uniquely positioned to help address this need through our breweries, our fast high-quality packaging lines and our distribution system.
Since 1960, we’ve worked with the Red Cross on getting emergency drinking water into the hands of those who need it, and since 1988 we have provided more than 74 million cans of emergency drinking water all across the country. The critical need for drinking water hit home for me this past winter when the St. Louis area was struck by severe flooding. It was incredible to see Red Cross disaster relief efforts first-hand. For our company, it is gratifying to know that our partnership’s positive impact on the lives in our community continues in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
In 2014, Anheuser-Busch announced a partnership with the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program – the first ADGP member in St. Louis. The Red Cross is on the front lines of disaster relief and can direct those donations to where they are needed most. In addition to that, we are uniquely suited to package and distribute water from our Cartersville, Georgia brewery to affected areas – usually within a couple of days.
We are also proud to be the founding sponsor of, and first to implement, the Red Cross Ready Rating Program through a $2.1 million grant. The program helps schools and businesses with their emergency planning and preparedness efforts. This helps them face a number of emergencies that could disrupt their operations, ranging from natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods to outbreaks of illness such as the flu.
Why is it important for your organization to support Red Cross disaster relief efforts?
Our corporate dream is to be the best beer company bringing people together for a better world. Supporting and partnering with the Red Cross to provide relief efforts at the community level – in many cases in the communities in which we do business and live – helps us to achieve that goal. For many hundreds of years, breweries have served as cornerstones of their communities. This is just one way we try to continue that tradition.
What kind of impact has your contribution to the Red Cross had on your company, company culture, customers and employees?
Our employees are active in volunteering with the Red Cross, giving blood and taking courses such as first aid or CPR. We have also been an Authorized Provider of Red Cross Training for over 15 years. Since 2007, we have spent nearly $262,000 for Red Cross Aquatics and First Aid and CPR/AED training for more than 13,500 employees.
Since 1986, we’ve hosted over 900 blood drives across the country and collected nearly 39,000 units of blood, potentially saving over 116,000 lives. The partnership with the Red Cross goes beyond a monetary contribution; most of my colleagues at Anheuser-Busch are involved personally. That’s something we’re all especially proud of.