By: Annie Sorich
Our Northwest Washington chapter is gearing up for its 23rd Annual Golf Tournament Fundraiser, to be held June 23 in Bellingham. The BP Cherry Point refinery, where I work as a Pricing Analyst, is the tournament’s presenting sponsor. It was actually through my work at BP that I became a Red Cross volunteer, when a local Red Cross representative visited the refinery during an open house to share the work they do in the Whatcom County community and beyond. The fact that BP supports fantastic organizations like the Red Cross and actively encourages its staff to get involved in our community has always made me proud to have them as my employer. I sat down with Pam Brady, who works in Government and Public Affairs at the BP Cherry Point Refinery, to find out more about BP’s motivation for supporting the Red Cross.
Annie: What is it about the Red Cross that appeals to BP as an organization worthy of its support?
Pam: We support the mission because we are working to achieve many of the same objectives. The Red Cross has been an essential stakeholder in the community for 100 years, serving the community and its families in times of crises, and leading education efforts on important safety initiatives, such as first aid, disaster preparedness, fire safety, workplace safety, emergency kit preparation, and emergency communications for military families. Our company spends considerable time and effort on safety training, emergency response preparedness and ensuring we have a safe workplace. We place a high value on the contributions of the Red Cross in our community.
Annie: Is there a Red Cross program that is of particular interest to BP?
Pam: BP has been a proud supporter of the Home Fire campaign over the past three years, an effort to install smoke alarms in high-risk homes throughout Whatcom County and the NW. Residents can get a smoke alarm installed in their home for free by one of the Red Cross Home Fire campaign volunteers in part through contributions made by BP. Also, the BP Foundation has been a strong supporter of the Red Cross in times of regional-scale disasters, such as the Oso landslide and the Washington wildfires of 2015, donating $50,000 in disaster assistance and $10,000 in fuel following each disaster.
Annie: Why does BP support community investment?
Pam: BP believes that investing in the communities in which we operate is essential to maintaining our role as a good corporate citizen. We also believe that those investments should be aligned with our corporate priorities and business objectives. BP also believes in supporting employees who volunteer in the community and will match their time or their donations dollar for dollar up to $5,000 through the Employee Match Program.
Annie: This is a big year for the local chapter: 100 years. How did that knowledge impact your desire to support the Red Cross?
Pam: Cherry Point Refinery has been in this community for more than 45 years. Not quite as old as the Red Cross, but we’re certainly established! BP and our employees care deeply about the community and want to see the Red Cross continuing its good work for another 100 years and beyond. No one likes to see disasters happen, but when they do, it’s good to know the Red Cross is standing by to support, to help those in our community in their time of need so they can begin the process of healing. It’s good to know there’s a committed group of volunteers who are well-trained and ready to respond if and when needed.
Annie: How does BP support or encourage employees to get involved with their community/volunteer with organizations like the Red Cross?
Pam: BP supports community engagement of our employees by allowing time and flexibility for our employees to give back in a number of ways. The BP Foundation provides a company match for employee financial contributions, as well as matching their donated time and efforts in fundraising. Chris Kock, BP Cherry Point Maintenance Manager is on the Board of Directors and we have several employees who volunteer their time with the Red Cross.
Annie: Will you be playing in the golf tournament on June 23?
Pam: Not personally, but BP is proud to be title sponsor of the tournament again this year. As always, we’ve got quite a few employee participants.
The tournament will be held Friday, June 23, at Shuksan Golf Club in Bellingham, with the day’s events beginning at 11 a.m. Contact Karen.Miller3@RedCross.org for more information or to sign up.