Janesville18.8°

American Red Cross finds changes are improving resources, practices, efficiency

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
January 10, 2012
— The consolidation of American Red Cross chapters and regions will make the organization more efficient and have little effect on the delivery of services locally, Red Cross officials say.

"We can't continue using a business model 30- to 40-years-old and survive," said Tom Mooney, CEO of the Western Wisconsin Region.


The public should notice little difference from the changes because the Red Cross still is delivering services in the area, Mooney said.


"The changes should be very transparent," he said.


"Instead of one person wearing 10 hats, we now have people who specialize. This allows much more flexibility, shared resources and more opportunities to be promoted. And now that things are regionalized, we can leverage resources better and use donor dollars more efficiently than ever before," he said.


Chapters nationwide began merging four years ago, and regions began consolidating last year.


In March, the South Central Wisconsin Chapter in Janesville and Badger Chapter in Madison became the American Red Cross Badger South Central Sub-region to serve 1.1 million people in 13 counties: Rock, Green, Jefferson, Dane, Lafayette, Grant, Crawford, Richland, Iowa, Sauk, Columbia, Adams and Juneau.


During the past six months, five Wisconsin American Red Cross regions consolidated into two. The Western Wisconsin Region is made up of 44 counties and led by Mooney in Madison. The Eastern Wisconsin Region consists of 28 counties and is led by an executive in of Milwaukee.


"No Red Cross offices were closed on the west side of the state. Janesville is still strong as ever, and Beloit is still open," Mooney said.


In Janesville, CPR, baby-sitting, automated external defibrillator and first aid classes continue weekly. Certified nursing assistant testing takes place semiweekly. Blood drives, disaster services and support to military members and their families continue in addition to disaster action team meetings and disaster training, he said.


Office hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. There also is a doorbell for the public to ring after 8 a.m. and before 4 p.m.


Janesville has two full-time staff members—a fund development manager and a coordinator of services to the armed forces. A health and safety person who travels from Madison spends up to two days a week in Janesville. Mooney visits Janesville once a week, and up to four volunteers assist the local administration. A volunteer services volunteer and an aquatics staff member are being recruited, Mooney said.


"So, at any given time, we could have three to seven people in the (Janesville) office," Mooney said.


The Beloit office is open only for health and safety training and disaster action team meetings, Mooney said.


Janesville last week received a new emergency response vehicle that resembles an ambulance. It replaces a nearly 20-year-old vehicle and can be deployed to disasters anywhere nationwide after local volunteers are trained.


"That's the great thing about regionalizing," Mooney said. "It makes us more flexible."


FIRE SAFETY

Volunteers from the American Red Cross will talk with residents and leave door hangars with fire safety information from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 14.


The American Red Cross from June 2010 through July 2011 responded to 21 residential fires in Rock County and helped 115 people with hygiene kits, stuffed animals, food, lodging, clothing, medications and crisis counseling.


Individuals, families, school and community groups, and nonprofit organizations and business are invited to participate. If interested, contact Annie Taff by emailing volunteer@arcbadger.org or call (608) 232-5822.



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