FAIRFIELD, NJ, September 24, 2018 – The American Red Cross New Jersey Region aims to strengthen programs and services across the state by focusing on the organization’s core mission. During the past several years, the Red Cross has been transforming its operations nationwide to meet the growing demand for its services while continuing to make the best use of donor dollars.

“Since our inception in 1881, the Red Cross has been dedicated to providing compassionate care to those in need,” said Rosie Taravella, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “Our network of dedicated volunteers, employees and generous donors share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas: Disaster Cycle Services, Service to the Armed Forces, Blood Services, Health and Safety Services, and International Services.”

With its focus on core mission services, the New Jersey Region has successfully transitioned nearly all non-core-mission services to other organizations and agencies. The Red Cross identified organizations already providing the services that had the capacity to integrate the programs they were looking to transition. This planning helped ensure a smooth transition of non-core-mission services, including transportation programs, home delivered meals programs, an adapted aquatics program and a food pantry. The Red Cross assured the recipients of these programs they could continue to have access to these services in their communities.

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The American Red Cross New Jersey Region will transition its Braille program – the final non-core-mission service in the region – to the Foundation for Blind Children (FBC}, a non-profit organization based in Phoenix, Arizona.

"FBC’s partnership and transition with the New Jersey Region Red Cross will carry on the tradition of providing high-quality, low-cost braille services for visually-impaired students throughout the United States,” said Jared Leslie, director of media services, Foundation for Blind Children. “Both organizations share the belief that all visually-impaired students should be assured of having the same access to information as their sighted peers.”

The Red Cross Braille program was established in New Jersey after World War I to provide an information source for servicemen blinded by mustard gasattacks. Today, the program provides Braille textbooks that include classroom subjects such as math, science and foreign languages, which are transcribed by volunteers for visually-impaired students in grades K-12 throughout the country.

“As a parent of a blind student, I am reminded every day of the need for high quality braille transcription,” said Marc Ashton, CEO, Foundation for Blind Children. “The American Red Cross New Jersey Region and Foundation for Blind Children have very similar values. We are looking forward to seamlessly carrying on the long-standing tradition of quality service by the Red Cross in New Jersey.”

The Red Cross New Jersey Region researched several qualified organizations to find one that aligns with their program, can utilize the program’s volunteers and equipment, and could ensure Braille readers continue to have access to the library of Braille textbooks.

“We are impressed with FBC’s commitment to assisting blind and visually-impaired children,” said Taravella. “In addition to being efficient and cost-effective, FBC was simply the best fit for our program.”

The Red Cross Braille program will transition to the Foundation for Blind Children at the end of the year. FBC representatives will meet with Red Cross volunteers next month to discuss options for continuing their volunteer service.

For more information about Red Cross programs and services, visit redcross.org/NJ.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org orcruzrojaamericana.orgor visit us on Twitter at @Redress.

About the American Red Cross in New Jersey:
The American Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The Red Cross trains and mobilizes more than 4,500 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. In New Jersey last year, the Red Cross responded to more than 900 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping more than 2,250 displaced families; collected more than 94,500 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided more than 5,114 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained nearly 110,250 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, please visitredcross.org/NJ and follow us on Twitter @NJRedCross.org.

About Foundation for Blind Children:

The Foundation for Blind Children, founded in 1952, is a 501c (3) non-profit organization dedicated to assisting blind and visually impaired children, adults and their families lead lives of independence and dignity through mastery of their environment. These goals are fostered through education, training, counseling, communication and technology. Without FBC, blind children would not get the opportunities that should be available to every child - to learn, play sports, participate fully in the world around them and become successful, productive adults. For more information, please visit seeitourway.org.