IRL: League, Tony George Donate $1.1 Million to American Red Cross

INDIANAPOLIS, February 10, 1999 - Deepening its two-year commitment to the American Red Cross, the Pep Boys Indy Racing League (IRL) and its Founder and President Tony George have donated more than a million dollars to American Red Cross relief...

INDIANAPOLIS, February 10, 1999 - Deepening its two-year commitment to the American Red Cross, the Pep Boys Indy Racing League (IRL) and its Founder and President Tony George have donated more than a million dollars to American Red Cross relief efforts in Russia, Central America and to the Indianapolis Red Cross. In 1997, the IRL, the nation's premier auto racing series for open wheel, oval track competition, named the American Red Cross its official charity.

Tony George and his mother, Mari Hulman-George, chairman of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, made the $1.1 million gift during a reception at Indianapolis Red Cross headquarters, at which members of the local community heard from American Red Cross Chief Operating Officer Matt Branam.

"The American Red Cross and the IRL are both pacesetters in their fields and share the common goals of promoting personal and family safety, emergency response and preparedness," said Branam. "We at the Red Cross are proud to be known as the Official Charity of the Indy Racing League.

This most recent generous gift will be put to work to help the people who have been hit so hard by disasters in Russia and Central America. Thanks to the Hulman-George family, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the IRL, the American Red Cross is better able to be there for the people who so desperately need our help around the world," concluded Branam. Since forging an alliance with the Red Cross in 1997 to reach families with safety messages, the Hulman-George family, the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have donated more than $2 million to the Red Cross.

"To see people without homes and children suffering from malnutrition and lack of proper shelter makes us all want to do something to help," said Tony George, who decided to make the gift after seeing news reports of the devastation and human misery caused by the disasters. "We are fortunate to be able to help, and I hope that this gift not only relieves the pain and suffering of innocent people, but also may lead to others continuing in any way they can to help Red Cross relief efforts now and in the future." During international disasters, the American Red Cross responds through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a network of national Red Cross societies in 175 countries worldwide. Although the disaster has received little notice in the United States, the Russian winter crisis has affected approximately 44 million people as the country has grappled with economic turmoil and collapse of the Russian ruble in August.

In Russia, the $500,000 gift will be used to: Provide immediate support to the Russian Red Cross and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies' relief operations. Identify the most needy institutions in the Siberia region, including orphanages and hospitals, and to manage the local procurement and distribution of food supplies.

Ensure adequate support and monitoring for the distribution of the 24,485 metric tons of food from March to September 1999; Ensure that food is provided to those most in need over the long term.

In Central America, the American Red Cross continues to assist in the long-term rehabilitation from Hurricane Mitch, the worst natural disaster to hit the region in more than 200 years. Working closely with sister Red Cross societies in the affected areas, the American Red Cross will use the $500,000 gift to:

Enhance food security as a result of extensive crop loss; provide potable water and sanitation at the household level; improve access to primary health care services for those who face barriers to care; and enhance disaster preparedness among the people most vulnerable to disasters in the future.

Provide seeds and tools to families to help them begin producing their own food.

Provide water sanitation for 326 homes under construction in Choluteca, Honduras, with the possibility of systems for 300 additional homes and a school;

Support local Red Cross units in restoring their ability to meet community health needs by repairing or replacing damaged ambulances, repairing or rebuilding Red Cross community health clinics and providing community specific health training.

In addition to assisting on the international front, the Hulman-George family has made a $100,000 gift to support the Greater Indianapolis Red Cross, which serves thousands of people in the local community annually through disaster relief, health and safety programs, Armed Forces emergency services, international tracing, transportation and youth programs.

The American Red Cross is a volunteer-led humanitarian service organization with an annual budget of $2.2 billion. The nation's premier provider of disaster relief and safety training, supplier of half the nation's blood supply, and deliverer of compassionate assistance to members of the U.S. military, the Red Cross relies on the services of 32,000 paid and 1.3 million volunteer staff.

Thanks to the blood donations of more than 4.5 million Americans, the Red Cross provides blood for patients in 3,000 hospitals and also supplies one-quarter of the tissue used in transplantation. The organization recently completed a $287 million, seven-year transformation of the way it collects, tests, and distributes blood. It is now determining how aspects of this best-in-the-world system can help enhance the safety of the blood supply in other countries.

Utilizing a national network of over 1,300 local chapters, the American Red Cross trains 12 million people in vital lifesaving skills each year, mobilizes relief to victims in 60,000 disasters, assists victims of disaster and conflict in nearly 30 countries, and transmits more than 4,000 emergency messages a day to members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

Source: IRL/IMS

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony George