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American Red Cross and Harlem Globetrotters Partner to Bring Help and Hope to Families at Risk for Disasters

The American Red Cross Central and Southern  Illinois Region has joined forces with the Harlem Globetrotters as its official charity partner through the team’s Great Assist initiative to help people in the Central and Southern Illinois Region prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters big and small.


Known globally as the Ambassadors of Goodwill, the Harlem Globetrotters’ Great Assist initiative, which was launched in October 2015, promises to spread 100 million smiles over the next decade through sportsmanship and service. As part of a two-year partnership, the Red Cross will engage the Harlem Globetrotters nationally and locally in all aspects of its mission. During the first year, the team will join the Red Cross, along with local fire departments and other community partners, as the organization works to install its one millionth smoke alarm by October 2017 to help Americans stay safer from home fires. The Red Cross Central and Southern Illinois Region has already installed more than 6,700 throughout the Central and Southern Illinois Region.


“We are thrilled to have this incredible support from the Harlem Globetrotters,” said Lyn Hruska, Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross Central and Southern Illinois Region. “The fun and interactive way the team engages with the community will help to build greater awareness around our mission and the critical need to help people at risk for and impacted by disasters every day.”

Trained Red Cross disaster volunteers in the Central and Southern Illinois Region respond to disasters such as floods, tornadoes and home fires. Last year, the Red Cross Central and Southern Illinois Region assisted more than 1,300 families following a disaster, most of which were home fires.

“This partnership brings two great American organizations together in order to achieve a common goal—to help people in need and to put smiles on people’s faces,” said Howard Smith, President of the Harlem Globetrotters. “We look forward to helping the Red Cross achieve their goals by incorporating their messaging into everything we do on and off the court.”

The Harlem Globetrotters will feature the Red Cross at more than 300 games throughout the basketball season, including the game in Springfield, Illinois on January 1, 2017 at the Prairie Capital Convention Center. The game will feature a Red Cross PSA and in-game player announcement. Visit [] to find a complete schedule of games.

Harlem Globetrotters Legacy

For more than 90 years, the Harlem Globetrotters have been a leader in fun and wholesome family entertainment, and committed to being Ambassadors of Goodwill across the world. Every year, the team travels to hundreds of schools, children’s hospitals and overseas military bases, bringing people together through acts of kindness. The Great Assist initiative continues the legacy of giving back by providing the Red Cross a new platform to build awareness and deliver on its critical mission throughout the year.

For more information about donating visit People can also support the Red Cross by texting ASSIST to 90999 to make a $10 donation, and by visiting or calling 1-800- RED CROSS to schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets near you. To learn more about the Harlem Globetrotters, please