In 1917, the United States entered World War I. After declaring war, President Woodrow Wilson ordered the American Red Cross to raise funds to support its aid to the military and civilians affected by war, as Congress had mandated. In response, the Red Cross held its first national War Fund drive in June 1917 and set $100 million as its goal, an astoundingly large sum at the time. The public response was immediate and overwhelming.
In November 1941, with war in Europe, the Red Cross conducted a highly successful 25th Annual Roll Call. A few days later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II. The American Red Cross responded immediately by declaring a War Fund campaign. By June 1942, it had raised more than $66 million.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the month of March 1943 as “Red Cross Month.” The Red Cross set a goal of $145 million, the largest amount ever requested in one campaign by an American
organization. Again, the response was overwhelming. It took less than six weeks to reach the target. By June 1943, donations totaled nearly $146 million. Roosevelt called it “the greatest single crusade of mercy in all of history.”
As part of the tradition, the President customarily issues a proclamation each year declaring March as Red Cross Month. This Red Cross Month go to www.redcross.org and learn more about how you can get involved.