Friday, April 1, 2016

Giving Your Time, Talent and Treasure

By MaryBeth Lawson

From employee to rock star volunteer and philanthropist, Catherine Barde-Levanthal is an incredible example of what it means to give your time, talent and treasure.

Catherine was first inspired to deploy following the devastating earthquake in Haiti. While Catherine said that she “didn’t know how I would be able to provide for clients and not be affected,” it was that experience which helped her feel “on solid ground” when disaster struck her own community. While employed at the Red Cross as the Director of Communications and Fund Development at the

Catherine Barde-Leventhal (L) with her husband Jim Leventhal and
Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern at the Leventhal home in Denver.
Photo credit American Red Cross
American Red Cross Pikes Peak Chapter in Colorado Springs, Catherine saw Waldo Canyon Wildfire burn several of her friends’ homes along with over 300  others residences. She worked out of a Red Cross shelter, which was also the high school her son attended, providing critical lifesaving information, while the community of Colorado Springs had to evacuate 36,000 people in a matter of hours. “Seeing my son’s school repurposed was an incredible, unbelievable and impactful experience. I was there to do a job to inform people where to find services.”

After she left her position as paid staff she continued to volunteer  for the Red Cross.  All told, Catherine has deployed 10 times, responding to disasters all over the country including Superstorm Sandy, the 2013 Colorado Floods and working as a Digital volunteer partnering with the International Federation of the Red Cross for the Nepal Earthquake. She was most recently honored with the opportunity to be a part of the Red Cross Papal Communications Team, sharing stories about how they were assisting with the reunification of families separated in the historic visit.

Catherine Barde-Leventhal provided hope and comfort while
deployed during the Superstorm Sandy Response. Photo
credit American Red Cross
When asked what continues to inspire her to deploy, she says “it all comes back to the volunteers.” During her time as an employee, Catherine and Pikes Peak Volunteer Debbie McSwain paid house calls, collecting volunteer stories. “Talking to longtime volunteers and hearing their stories – focusing on advocating for them and recognizing their accomplishments… I cannot say enough about the volunteers of this organization.” The work that Catherine does when she deploys continues to inspire her. As an APAT (Advanced Public Affairs Team) Volunteer, Catherine’s job is to tell the story and connect the dots. “I’m not only helping the media tell our story, but I am helping families find Red Cross resources to ensure the community affected gets what it needs.”

Catherine Barde-Leventhal (seated) monitors social
media at the Red Cross Digital Operations Center in
Dallas, TX in May 2015. Photo credit American
Red Cross
It is that experience of gathering and telling stories that motivates her generosity. “Having worked with people at a time of their greatest need, I see the donation at work – providing food and shelter, I see how money is used.” Catherine’s generosity qualifies her to be a member of our Tiffany Circle, a group of women who give $10,000 or more annually to the American Red Cross. Catherine recently leveraged her volunteerism in a new way and hosted an exclusive donor event during a visit from national CEO Gail McGovern at her home. “It is not just the money, but the support of my family that makes it happen.” When deploying on a Disaster Response Operation, or DRO, volunteers commit a minimum of 10 days. “My husband will lose me for weeks at a time when I deploy,” she says, and that fact is true of every volunteer that deploys for the American Red Cross. “I love the mission, I love the heart [of the American Red Cross],” she says, and thanks her family for their support and empowerment as she continues to give us her all.

1 comment:

  1. This woman is inspiring! The Red Cross should hire her on as a full time employee!