Go to News Archive for past eNewsletters and print Newsletters



To find past issues of Print Newsletters, eNewsletters, Retiree Reports Click Here

News of interest to ARCRA members

  • 03/31/2020 1:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Annually, the ARCRA Board meets with Red Cross leadership to discuss issues of importance to retirees.  Due to the COVID-19 crisis we made some last-minute changes to our meeting, including changing from a face-to-face format to a video conference format.  Red Cross leadership was immersed in dealing with the COVID-19 situation both internally and how to serve the nation.  We truly appreciated their commitment to making it all work and participating with us.

    1.    Human Resources:
    We met with Human Resources leadership to discuss a variety of topics including the Retiree Medical Program, Pension System, Participant Satisfaction and their partnership with ARCRA.  In addition to the history and current status of these programs, we also discussed future possibilities.  As we have noted in past publications, pensions/annuities are backed up by federal or state pension guarantees that address stability in times of economic stress.  That is comforting when we see swings in the global economy.  The Red Cross has also taken actions over the past two years to ensure stability in the Red Cross pension system as noted in the Finance report below. 
    Other programs like the Red Cross Retiree Medical Program are more discretionary.  The good news is that there are no plans for significant changes in the near term.  Medical insurance carrier and plan designs have not changed for 2020.  Likewise, the dental and life insurance will remain the same.  We know that this can evolve in a changing economic environment, and the ARCRA Board will continue to engage with Red Cross leadership regarding these benefits.
    The Participant Satisfaction with Red Cross@Work Service Center remains high (most recent around 91%).  However, there are going to be exceptions and ARCRA does assist people that cannot seem to work through the system.  Retirees can contact the Red Cross service center at:
    Red Cross@Work Service Center
    http://digital.alight.com/redcross/
    1-877-860-7526
    Representatives are available Monday-Friday, 9 am - 5 pm Eastern Time
    2.    Finance:
    Brian Rhoa, ARC CFO gave a brief summary of overall financial trends at Red Cross as well as some comments about fiscal year 2020 which will end June 30.  He also updated us on pension plan funding and the related investment strategy.  Regarding Red Cross operations, he is projecting a net operating margin for FY 2020 of between $45 million to $65 million.  He defines this as "normal" operations which excludes the peaks and valleys of disaster contributions and expenses and other extraordinary items or circumstances.  Of course, that brings us to the potential impact of the coronavirus on Red Cross operations.  You have likely heard that blood donations have plummeted for all blood banks including the largest collector, Red Cross.  Brian had no projections through year end since the situation is still evolving and Red Cross management is determining how they can bring their resources to bear to alleviate suffering country wide.  Clearly, the economic impact of actions taken to control the virus are negatively impacting a huge proportion of our populations.  In addition to blood donations, the impact on financial support to the Red Cross is unknown at this time.

    Regarding the Red Cross pension plan, for the portion of annuity payments not funded by Athene, Hancock or Aetna, (the monthly amount you receive from State Street Bank) the Red Cross has been taking actions for at least two years to aggressively fund the plan with contributions that exceed the annual minimum funding requirement.  This has resulted in the build up of a prefunding balance or credit that can be used to keep the funding percentage at 80% or above.  The last funding notice dated October 2019 showed an 80.01% funding percentage.  Management expressed confidence that the percentage would remain above 80% when we receive our next funding notice.

    Finally, as we all see our current investment balances negatively impacted by the coronavirus response, the Red Cross began to hedge the pension plan portfolio near the end of calendar 2018, about 18 months ago.  What that means is that they progressively started to move money away from equities and into bonds to potentially blunt any significant downturn in the markets.  They didn't see the virus coming but this strategy was put in place to try to protect the underlying investments of our plan from this type of occurrence.  In the near term, this action should give us some comfort that plan assets will not be as negatively impacted as a more aggressive investment strategy.  However, there is no perfect investment strategy to address all contingencies so we will have to wait and see what happens when this crisis finally subsides.  The same is true for the three large insurance companies that fund portions of our retirement payments.

    While we do not have this kind of direct access to annuity providers, Athene recently sent a message to their annuitants clarifying their financial security.
    3.    Volunteers & Planned Giving:
    We get questions regarding retiree participation with the Red Cross, and one of the goals for this meeting was to discuss how/where retirees might remain involved.  We met with leadership from Volunteer Services and Planned Giving.
    Volunteer Services:  Matt Bertram, Vice President Volunteer Services. 
    Matt noted that the COVID-19 crisis has placed some strain on the system.  Disaster volunteers are currently working remotely due to COVID-19, making service delivery a challenge.  In addition, the nation, including the Red Cross, is facing problems getting enough blood donors.  Many blood drives have been cancelled.
    ARCRA will work with Volunteer Services to highlight specific opportunities in upcoming eNewsletters.  In the meantime, if you are interested in volunteering with the Red Cross, go to the Red Cross website or sign up in Volunteer Connection to find opportunities that match your interest.
    In our discussions, we identified areas of opportunity for volunteering.  Here are some of them:
    • Disaster Services-DAT member,
    • Community preparedness volunteers
    • Blood-donor ambassadors and transportation specialists
    • Care Network Caseworker - Services to Armed Forces
    • Sound the Alarm volunteers – this program is temporarily delayed due to COVID-19.  This program is also a fun opportunity for teams of volunteers.  Think about teaming up with your fellow retirees!
    • Administrative volunteers within NHQ departments such as Communications, Marketing, Technology
    • Volunteer Advisor - Vietnam Commercial First AID
    • Government Operations - National Exercise Coordinator
    • Government Operations-NRCC-DOCC liaison
    Rebecca Locke, Executive Director, Gift Planning:
    Rebecca provided clarity around Planned Giving and how retirees could continue to support the Red Cross mission.  We will be working with Rebecca in the future to see how ARCRA can help communicate more specifics on Planned Giving options.
    In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about planned gifts with the Red Cross, go to https://www.redcrosslegacy.org/.
    Some of the easiest planned gifts include:
    • Bequest in a will:  Additionally, the Red Cross has partnered with www.freewill.com/redcross.  The site will take you through the steps to make a will.  In some states like California, the system will recommend you get an attorney.  But for many states it will help you create a simple will.
    • Beneficiary designation:  Designating a charity for a percentage of an estate or simply a single investment is one of the easiest ways to do a planned gift.  There is no cost and it’s fairly easy to do. 


  • 03/31/2020 5:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hi Everyone,

    I know that this is a stressful time for everybody, and I’m so grateful for the way our Red Cross family has demonstrated dedication, professionalism, and compassion. During times of crisis, our country turns to the American Red Cross, and I’m so proud that we are continuing to fulfill our mission every day. Please know that I am profoundly thankful for your lifesaving work.

    We also need to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of our employees and volunteers. The leadership team and I have been working hard to help keep you safe and ease the spread and impact of the coronavirus on your lives.

    As I mentioned in my message to you last week, we have been revising our policies regarding attendance and leave. You may have heard that Congress is working on a bill to help small business employees, but unfortunately that doesn’t apply to nonprofits,  Therefore, we are taking extraordinary measures to help our employees manage through these challenging times. We recently notified our national union Coalition partners of our desire as well, and we are working very collaboratively with them.

    Our plans include special provisions for people who either are diagnosed with COVID-19, have been quarantined or are caring for family members, are at high risk, or are caring for a child due to school or childcare closures.

    Employees Diagnosed with COVID-19
    Employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 will be paid for two weeks’ leave.

    Asymptomatic Employees Quarantined for 14 Days Due to Travel or Close Contact Exposure to Someone Diagnosed with COVID-19 including Caring for a Family Member Who Has Been Diagnosed with COVID-19
    Employees with jobs where they can normally work from home should do so and they will receive their regular pay. Employees who cannot do their regular job from home will be given the option to do other work from their home. Employees who opt into this provision will be given work and we will pay these employees for two weeks, regardless of the actual hours worked.

    High Risk Status Employees Working in Yellow, Orange or Red Communities
    Employees who work in communities identified by the local public health officials as yellow, orange, or red communities, who meet the Red Cross definition of high risk, and who have been advised not to go to work due to the coronavirus outbreak will be eligible for this program. The Red Cross defines high risk (based on CDC guidance) as being 65 years old or older; having a serious health condition; or being pregnant.

    High risk employees will have the same options available to them as those who are asymptomatic and quarantined or caring for a family member (see above).

    Caring for a Child Due to School Closure or Childcare Closure
    For employees who have childcare issues due to school or childcare closures related to COVID-19 and are unable to do their regular job from home, they will be given up to one week of pay at two-thirds their straight time hourly rate of pay.

    There are also issues that are unique to our workforce who are well and able to work, but who cannot do their jobs because blood drives have been cancelled in the communities where they work. We understand the detrimental impact this loss of work has on our staff. For those employees, we will make every effort to reassign them to other drives or to other work, like we do in normal business circumstances. We are carefully monitoring the volume of drives that are being cancelled, and we will look for ways to mitigate the impact on our staff.

    Nothing is more important to me than our people. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this coronavirus and I encourage you to take appropriate precautions. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

      Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

      Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

      Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

      Stay home when you are sick.

      Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

      Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    I know that there is a great deal of uncertainty right now – in our country and around the world. We have a beautiful and important mission at the American Red Cross, to alleviate suffering in the face of emergencies. We know and understand how to deal with crises. In fact, we excel at it. This crisis will test us, and I am confident that we will all do our best to fulfill our mission and at the same take care of one another by being especially kind to our fellow Red Crossers.

    I’m proud of you!

    With an abundance of gratitude,
    Gail

  • 03/26/2020 4:54 PM | Anonymous

    The new deadline for REAL ID will be Oct. 1, 2021, a year from the current deadline.

    Without the change, many would not be allowed to board flights in the U.S. without one of the REAL ID cards starting Oct. 1, 2020, or other Real ID-compliant forms of identification.  Other REAL ID compliant forms include a passport,  a passport card, or  Global Entry cards for U.S. travelers returning from overseas.

    "The federal, state and local response to the spread of the coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline," Chad Wolf, acting secretary of Homeland Security said. "Extending the deadline will also allow the Department to work with Congress to implement needed changes to expedite the issuance of REAL IDs once the current health crisis concludes."

    Read more here.

  • 03/20/2020 11:35 AM | Anonymous

    Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Now more than ever healthy Red Cross retirees, their family and friends are needed to roll up a sleeve and give to help patients counting on lifesaving blood. Finding a nearby blood drive or donation center simply requires submitting your zip code here.

    Growing Pandemic Results in Fewer Blood Donations

    As the coronavirus pandemic has grown in the U.S., blood drive cancellations have increased at an alarming rate. To date, nearly, 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to concerns about congregating at workplaces, college campuses and schools. These cancellations have resulted in some 86,000 fewer blood donations. More than 80% of the blood the Red Cross collects comes from drives held at these locations.

    The Red Cross expects the number of cancellations to continue to rise, which is causing heightened concern for blood collection organizations and hospitals across the country. This blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer.

    Safety Measures for Blood Donors and Staff

    While we know that coronavirus has caused concerns about whether it’s safe to go to blood drives and donation centers, the Red Cross has implemented thorough safety protocols to make the blood donation process even safer.

    The Red Cross has implemented new measures to ensure blood drives and donation centers are even safer for our donors and staff, including:

    • Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy.
    • Providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process.
    • Spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors.
    • Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.

    At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees already follow thorough safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection, including:

    • Wearing and changing gloves with each donor
    • Routinely wiping down donor-touched areas
    • Using sterile collection sets for every donation
    • Preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub

    There is no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide

    Submit your zip code here,   to find a nearby blood drive or donation center near you.  And bring a friend.

  • 03/20/2020 11:20 AM | Anonymous

    Public health experts encourage people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 — fever, cough and shortness of breath — to call their health care provider before seeking care in person or going to the emergency room or urgent care.  Calling your health care provider first helps avoid spreading germs to others. Telehealth, including virtual visits and video check-ins, are a way to deter the virus from spreading in health care settings — especially to high-risk individuals such as older adults and people with underlying health conditions.  More testing facilities are becoming available but do require an order from your doctor to get the test. 

    To prevent the spread of this illness or other illnesses, including the flu:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water,
    • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze,
    • Stay home if you are sick or have any flu symptoms
    • Call your doctor if you think you're ill.
    • Contact your health care provider before visiting the emergency room, urgent care, or your doctor’s office
    If you think you may have been exposed and you have COVID-19 symptoms-fever, cough, and shortness of breath-contact your health care provider.  Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.   

    Call 911 if you develop warning signs of a serious health threat including:

    • difficulty breathing
    • persistent pain in the chest
    • confusion
    • blueness of lips and/or face

     Visit The Centers for Disease Control website for information on the Coronavirus.  Jay Butler, Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases at CDC, describes preventative measures to help protect older adults from COVID-19 in this  video.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjcoN9Aek24

    Also check out National Foundation of Infectious Diseases common questions and answers about COVID-19 for Older Adults and People with Chronic Health Conditions


  • 03/11/2020 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    At this time, the risk of exposure for the general public in the United States remains low. However, because this outbreak is changing, we strongly urge members to keep themselves well-informed.

    Information & Resources:

    Hand Washing Guidelines:

    Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds:

    • Whenever you arrive home or enter a building
    • Before food preparation and eating
    • After using the restroom
    • After coughing or sneezing
    • After blowing one’s nose or assisting a child with blowing their nose
  • 03/09/2020 12:54 PM | Anonymous

    The most consistent piece of advice on how to protect yourself from the Coronavirus and the flu is to wash your hands often and to wash them for 20 seconds.  How long is 20 seconds you ask?  Long enough to Sing Happy Birthday twice or to sing Your ABC's.  

    If you're tired of those options, consider these generational choices provided by CNN.  What about a hit from the 60s..."My Girl" by The Temptations.

  • 02/25/2020 10:05 AM | Anonymous


    If you or someone you may know is interested in any of these NHQ opportunities please email NHQVolRecruiter@redcross.org. Individuals can also express interest in an opportunity directly through Volunteer Connection by clicking the ‘Opportunities’ tab where you can see all opportunities (both local and national) that are available.

    The following Disaster Cycle Services positions require at least 2 years of Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services experience, a knowledge and understanding of Red Cross services and operations and deployment to at least 2 nationally led disaster response operations.

    Government Operations – Manager Volunteer Partner

    • This important position will oversee a team of skilled National Response Coordination Center (NRCC)/Disaster Operations Coordination Center (DOCC) volunteers and ensure sufficient communication and training. The position will also pro-actively identify and respond to challenges impacting the NRCC/DOCC volunteer team and their ability to support FEMA with steps to address those challenges and help develop and update documentation and guidance for the NRCC/DOCC volunteer team. Please note this position requires the ability to attend meetings at the Fairfax or NHQ office so being in close proximity to Washington, DC is required.

    Government Operations – National Exercise Coordinator

    • The purpose of the national exercise coordinator is to serve as the Red Cross representative at federal partners' national exercise meetings and coordinate Red Cross participation in such exercises. The coordinator essentially represents Red Cross interests and capabilities to federal partners during exercise planning and preparation, managing internal and external expectations. Candidates must have experience specifically in Sheltering, Feeding or Distribution of Emergency Supplies, and managing and/or designing exercises and coordinating exercise participation. This is a remote/virtual work from home position.

    Government Operations – NRCC – DOCC Liaison

    • National Response Coordination Center (NRCC)/Disaster Operations Coordination Center (DOCC) liaisons are responsible for ensuring Red Cross actions are aligned with, supportive of and complementary to government. They essentially represent the Red Cross to external partners at the NRCC, manage internal and external expectations, establish and monitor situational awareness, and seek, collect, evaluate and communicate critical information. NRCC-DOCC liaisons have the overarching responsibility of building trust and fostering collaboration between the Red Cross and government partners at the national level. Please note that this position requires the ability to attend meetings and travel to the Fairfax office so candidates should be in close proximity (4 hour train ride recommendation). This position also requires a minimum 2 years experience in Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services OR minimum 2 years management experience in an Emergency Operations Center (EOC). It is also preferred that individuals have deployed to Emergency Operation Centers at the State or FEMA Regional level in a large-scale disaster response operations.


  • 02/25/2020 9:56 AM | Anonymous

    :

    AARP Foundation Tax-Aide: Offers free tax preparation assistance Feb. 1 through April 15. You don’t have to be an AARP member, and there’s no age requirement to get tax help from IRS-certified trained volunteers.  Check the Tax-Aide Site Locator for locations or call 888-227-7669 toll-free.

    Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA):  IRS-certified VITA volunteers provide tax-preparation services to older Americans, low- and moderate-income filers, people with disabilities and those with limited English language skills. Generally, taxpayers must have an annual income below $55,000 to qualify. Call 800-906-9887 to find a nearby VITA site. Online assistance is also available.

    IRS Free File:  About 70 percent of taxpayers are eligible to file federal tax returns online through IRS Free File, which connects single filers and families with annual income below $69,000 to free filing software from select partners like TaxAct and TurboTax. To browse options and confirm your eligibility, visit Free File Software Offers page.

    IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs)

    Help is also available at local IRS offices that host a Taxpayer Assistance Center. All TACs now operate by appointment; services may vary by office. Check the IRS site to find a location near you.


  • 02/25/2020 9:51 AM | Anonymous

    Read about a Hurricane Dorian survivor's desire to give back after losing so much. Pamela decided to become a Bahamas Red Cross volunteer to help others going through hardships following the hurricane. New photos and quotes from Hurricane Dorian recovery are available in the photo library as well.


Go to News Archive for past eNewsletters and print Newsletters

431 18th St, NW, Washington, DC 2006  PO Box 1581  .  Vienna, VA 22180
E-mail: admin@arcretireeassoc.org
Tel: 202-303-7184 ARCRA & Retiree Connection

© American Red Cross Retiree Association All rights reserved

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software
function SetMyDate() { // Array of day names var dayNames = new Array("Sunday", "Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday", "Friday", "Saturday"); // Array of month Names var monthNames = new Array( "January", "February", "March", "April", "May", "June", "July", "August", "September", "October", "November", "December"); var now = new Date(); document.getElementById("YOURELEMENTID").value = dayNames[now.getDay()] + ", " + monthNames[now.getMonth()] + " " + now.getDate() + ", " + now.getFullYear(); }