This news release was contributed by the American Red Cross.
The American Red Cross is pleased to announce that it has received a $10,000 grant from the Community Foundation for San Benito County.
The Community Foundation for San Benito County was formed in 1992 and is a well-known and respected philanthropic organization that enhances the quality of life in San Benito County for those who live, visit or work there. The foundation does this by supporting the 160 non-profits and donors who serve the county.
Support is provided to non-profits through a rigorous and competitive grant process. As an example, the 2021 Community Impact Grant Cycle received funding requests for over $600,000 and was able to fund $368,000 for the cycle.
“Our grant process is focused on supporting non-profit organizations that can have the biggest impact on the people of the county,” said Gary Bryne, CEO of the Community Foundation for San Benito County. “We fund a variety of nonprofit organizations that provide ongoing social services and that are especially active during emergencies and natural disasters. The Red Cross has also provided some very good workshops such as on First Aid, Disaster Outreach and Preparedness.”
With the demand for Red Cross services continuously growing, the Red Cross must be ready to help on a bigger scale and more efficiently than ever before. This grant will assist the Red Cross in rolling out a new software platform called RC Care to increase efficiency in services delivered in response to disasters big and small. RC Care centralizes data into one seamless, user-friendly platform. This important new tool will track everyone who needs help after disasters, allowing the Red Cross to manage all interactions with those affected, for every service rendered, and have a complete understanding of each individual or family’s unique needs.
RC Care enables disaster health and mental health services, lodging and financial assistance, and other services to be processed through an electronic delivery system. A new component of the RC Care platform is the ability to disburse financial assistance through an electronic funds transfer rather than by providing a card. Innovating improved methods and processes will allow the Red Cross to better serve those affected by disasters in a more accessible and user-friendly way.
“The generous grant will help us provide services to our community members more quickly and efficiently,” said Helen Cosentino-Massimino, American Red Cross Disaster Program Manager for San Benito County. “With RC Care we can reduce intake time, and even communicate via text and email seamlessly through one shared system among our workforce helping to ensure equitable distribution of resources.”
Key features of RC Care include:
Increased productivity: Ease of use reduces time spent on training and administrative tasks. The system also streamlines collaboration when multiple caseworkers assist someone affected by a disaster.
Reaching more people: During widespread disasters, language preferences and self-service registration enable the Red Cross to serve more people efficiently and quickly.
Delivering aid faster: With automated electronic fund transfers for financial assistance, the Red Cross can deliver critical aid to those who need it faster.
Fostering inclusivity and improved experience: Language preferences and self-service registration enable the Red Cross to reach those affected by disasters from varying backgrounds, plus the system simplifies their experience with a user-friendly interface, automatic updates on their cases and more.
Strengthening collaboration: Key programmatic partners will have access to the system, expediting referrals for assistance and partnership.
In addition to rolling out this new program, over the past year, Cosentino-Massimino indicated that the Red Cross provided a variety of services and support for a wide range of incidents ranging from a number of single-family home fires, to a Temporary Evacuation Point in response to a wildfire in the area, as well as preparedness training for residents of all ages.
She noted that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Red Cross was also active in the county with a variety of in-person activities, including the Sound the Alarm initiative, in which residents are provided with free smoke alarms and home fire safety education. The Red Cross also worked with school-aged children, helping them to create escape plans and emergency preparedness kits. This youth preparedness program, called The Pillowcase Project, teaches children about fire safety by way of the use of a pillowcase and preparedness games.