American Red Cross
The tradition of March is Red Cross month started in 1943 during World War II. Prior to that, the Red Cross ran Roll Call campaigns.
Begun during World War I, these fundraising campaigns were done in the fall.
When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, the Red Cross had just completed a successful Roll Call, but the war effort placed additional financial demands on the organization and they immediately implemented a War Fund drive. The War Fund campaign was very successful and by June 1942 had raised $66 million.
The Red Cross canceled its 1942 Roll Call and waited until 1943. After discussions with President Franklin Roosevelt, the honorary chairman of the Red Cross, the whole month of March 1943 was declared “Red Cross Month” and a goal of $125 million was set.
1943–Washington, DC, Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the proclamation naming March the official Red Cross month.
In less than six weeks, Red Cross reached the target and by June 1943 donations totaled nearly $146 million. Roosevelt called it the “ . . . greatest single crusade of mercy in all of history.”
Washington, DC, 1961, Feb. 28, 1961—President John F. Kennedy, as honorary chairman of the American Red Cross, launches the annual Red Cross fundraising campaign.
Throughout the war years and ever since, the Red Cross has continued the tradition of using March as Red Cross Month for its annual fundraising effort.
2009 Presidential proclamation signed by President Barack Obama declaring March is Red Month.
As part of the tradition, the President customarily issues a proclamation each year declaring March as Red Cross Month!