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Published: Friday, 9/2/2005

Corporate America gives cash, emergency supplies


Corporate America has given millions of dollars in supplies and cash this week to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, with donations ranging from diapers to 10,000 oven-fresh pizzas.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that Americans have given more than $93 million in aid, including more than $27 million from corporations.

"The outpouring has just been amazing," said Joshua Kittner, a spokesman for the American Red Cross.

The corporate response was widespread, with companies from virtually every corner of the corporate world - from big oil firms to retailers to pharmaceutical, technology, and financial concerns - offering aid.

For example, Dana Corp., Toledo's largest corporation, said yesterday it is contributing $50,000 to the American Red Cross for Katrina relief efforts. The automotive parts firm also said it would make a second contribution matching its employee and retiree donations made through Nov. 30.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said initial corporate donations are likely to surpass $100 million.

In Houston, volunteers used 30 jumbo ovens to cook 10,000 personal-sized Papa John's pizzas for arriving Louisiana refugees.

Coca-Cola Co. is donating $5 million. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has contributed $17 million, split between the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, plus is sending truckloads of water, batteries, and emergency medical kits.

Many of the contributions have been from pharmaceutical companies, such as Eli Lilly & Co. Yesterday, the firm loaded a private jet with antibiotics, tetanus shots, and insulin and took off for the devastated Gulf Coast.

"These are acute, lifesaving products," executive Greg Larkin said.

Other corporate donors include Abbott Laboratories, which has pledged $2 million in cash and an initial $2 million in nutritional and medical products; Bayer Corp., which pledged $2 million in cash and product donations; Chevron Corp., with a pledge to donate $3 million to the Red Cross and $2 million to local charities and relief efforts near the oil company's businesses; and Toyota Motor Corp., which said the parent company and its subsidiaries will contribute $5 million.

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