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Fueling Disaster Relief: Red Cross Partnership

Each year in March, the United States honors Red Cross volunteers and donors during “Red Cross Month.” But for Cox Automotive team members the Red Cross is top of mind for community giving throughout the entire year.


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Each year in March, the United States honors Red Cross volunteers and donors during “Red Cross Month.” But for Cox Automotive team members the Red Cross is top of mind for community giving throughout the entire year.

It’s a partnership that dates back to 1913, when Cox Enterprises’ founder, James Cox, was the governor of Ohio during a catastrophic flood. He credited the American Red Cross for their relief and recovery assistance. From then on, Cox team members have donated their time, money, and, yes, blood to the humanitarian organization.

“We started out with grassroots efforts by our team members,” says Jessica Barbier, Cox Automotive’s Industry Relations Manager. “But over time, we’ve also tapped our automotive industry expertise and manufacturer relationships to provide transportation to help the Red Cross respond in times of need.”

After all, she adds, “The Red Cross cannot function without vehicles.”

Barbier is referring to our fleet-focused disaster relief program, which has donated seven branded Emergency Response Vehicles in recent years – two-thirds of which are eco-friendly, in alignment with our commitment to sustainability. These vehicles are in use across the country, providing reliable transportation for Red Cross volunteers and staff.

Another enterprise-level initiative is our corporate membership in the Red Cross Disaster Responder Program to ensure the Red Cross can pre-position supplies, secure shelters, maintain vehicles, train volunteers nationwide, and better prepare communities for the future. What’s more, we promote the Red Cross through digital ad campaigns during natural disasters on some of our brands’ websites like Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com.

But involvement with the Red Cross doesn’t stop with corporate-level giving. Many of our team members are active in Red Cross initiatives in their own communities throughout the country.

“We are proud to partner with the Red Cross on a national scale,” says Barbier, “but we also want to make it local and customizable so team members can participate in different and more personal ways. We realized it’s not one-size-fits-all for every team member.”

The ways in which individual team members participate vary. Some are active in the Red Cross campaign Sound the Alarm, assisting local fire departments in canvassing at-risk neighborhoods for fire safety. They knock on doors, check/provide smoke detectors, test batteries, and offer fire preparedness kits to residents in vulnerable areas.

Others assemble Comfort Kits—sometimes onsite at work during breaks. These kits contain toiletries, towels, and basic items for victims arriving at Red Cross shelters. Affected children receive Cox Automotive-branded teddy bears, stuffed, assembled, and outfitted by team members, sent with handwritten words of encouragement via bear “birth certificates.”

Some write letters and send cards to U.S. service personnel deployed overseas, to ensure no soldier feels forgotten and that someone back home cares. Others participate as board members at local Red Cross chapters. And hundreds of Cox Automotive team members donate blood through regularly hosted blood drives across all brands and locations.

Whether it’s a small house fire or a multi-state natural disaster, Cox Automotive has taken the Red Cross mission to heart, helping provide clean water, safe shelter, hot food, and life-saving blood to those who need it most.

Down the street and across the country, Cox Automotive, our team members and their families are doing our part to make a difference, a difference James Cox would be proud to see continuing today.