American Red Cross National Board of Governors Chair Bonnie McElewyn Hunter (center) presented the Humanitarian Award to WRAL. CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon (left) and WRAL-TV VP & GM Jim Hefner accepted the award.
In January WRAL-TV and several other CBC divisions began urging viewers and listeners to give to the American Red Cross through the WRAL Tsunami Relief Fund. On Friday, February 28, 2005, American Red Cross National Board of Governor’s Chair Bonnie McElewyn-Hunter stopped by to personally thank WRAL and CBC for their support.
The American Red Cross presented WRAL with a Humanitarian Relief Award for tremendous leadership in raising awareness and funds for tsunami relief. With WRAL’s support the Triangle region is now number one in the southeast in terms of average gift per person and has raised more money than any other chapter except Atlanta.
McElewyn-Hunter is the top official of the American Red Cross. She made the presentation to CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon and WRAL-TV Vice President & General Manager Jim Hefner.
The Humanitarian Award reads: “Presented to WRAL-TV5 – In appreciation of your outstanding fundraising campaign in support of the American Red Cross Tsunami Relief Fund”
DTV Plus Vice President & General Manager Sam Matheny helped coordinate the visit in dual capacity as a CBC employee and as a member of the Triangle Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. He chairs the Triangle ARC’s financial development committee.
“WRAL’s support had a major impact on the giving in our region,” said Matheny. “We’ve raised almost $2,000,000 thus far, with nearly $300,000 coming in with WRAL specifically mentioned on the checks. While the campaign is over, the money continues to come in. All of the money raised is going directly towards tsunami relief to aid the victims. It does NOT stay with our local chapter.”
Chairman McElewyn-Hunter wanted to come and personally thank Jim Goodmon and WRAL for their strong support. Beyond Tsunami relief, Goodmon and McElewyn-Hunter also discussed safety of the blood supply, HIV/AIDS education, and other local services of the Red Cross, such as responding to single family fires.
While at WRAL Chairman McElewyn-Hunter also participated in an interview with WRAL-TV Anchor David Crabtree, appeared in a segment on the noon news with Anchors Bill Leslie and Linda Loveland, and taped a PSA thanking WRAL and the community for their generous support.
About the PSA taping, WRAL-TV Community Relations Director Loretta Harper-Arnold said, “The WRAL-TV Operations crew was instrumental in getting the PSA recorded…It was definitely a team effort and an exciting day for WRAL to have a personal visit from such a high-ranking official.”
McElewyn-Hunter serves as President & CEO of Pace Communications, the largest private publishing company in the country. She currently serves as Chairman of the American Red Cross, a position appointed by the President of the United States, and is the first woman to serve in this capacity. She is also the former U.S. Ambassador to Finland (2001 – 2003).
So far, the grand total for the WRAL Tsunami Relief Fund has reached $278,253.81. The Triangle Red Cross also reports that they have received an amazing $483,119 online and an additional $90,075 through their 1-800-HELP-NOW number. All totaled the Triangle American Red Cross has received $638,790 in donations and fundraisers, including the WRAL fund figure, and the chapter believes WRAL publicity prompted many of the online, 800 number, fundraisers by groups and schools and general contributions.
The grand total contributed by the Triangle community comes to $1,204,168.27.
“Words cannot express our gratitude for helping us help millions of tsunami victims,” said Triangle American Red Cross Public Support Director Sherry Mitchell. “You truly made all the difference in motivating our community to donate over 1.2 million dollars to help people a world away.”