LDS Charities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave a $1.8 million donation to the American Red Cross Thursday from the proceeds of “Meet the Mormons,” a film the Church released last October. Gary E. Stevenson, the Church’s presiding bishop, presented the check to Cliff Holtz, president of Humanitarian Services of the American Red Cross, at an event in Salt Lake City.
“Because of this long-standing relationship [with the American Red Cross],” said Bishop Stevenson, “it was decided that when ‘Meet the Mormons’ was released we would take the net proceeds of the movie and give it to the American Red Cross.
“The release of ‘Meet the Mormons’ exceeded everyone’s expectations.”
The feature-length documentary opened in theaters October 10, 2014, and was shown in more than 400 theaters across the country.
“Meet the Mormons” was the number one film in over 100 locations, with sold-out showings reported across the country, including New York City, Detroit, Miami, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Dallas, Phoenix and various locations in California.
Addressing how the Church has responded so many times when disaster hits areas of the world, Gail J. McGovern, CEO and president of the American Red Cross, said in a video, “There is no one who can mobilize people to help than the LDS Church.”
Heidi Ruster, chief executive officer of the Utah region of the Red Cross, remarked how the Church has been an active partner not only in Utah but around the world. She said, “A surprise this year from the Church was the donation of the net proceeds from ‘Meet the Mormons.’ We are so thankful and grateful for that.”
From the start, the Church announced that the movie’s net box office proceeds would be given to the American Red Cross. U.S. box office receipts totaled just over $6 million, making it one of the top 40 documentaries of all time. After theater and distribution costs, net proceeds came in just under $1.8 million. The Church’s donation to the Red Cross was an even $1.8 million.
The Red Cross and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have worked together to help people in need for nearly 100 years. During World War I, the Church’s women’s Relief Society organization joined with the Red Cross as they participated in food production and conservation, fund drives, sanitation, child welfare work and other service. The Relief Society also collaborated with the Red Cross in the early 1900s when more than 10,000 Relief Society sisters completed Red Cross courses in home nursing, first aid and nutrition.
“Meet the Mormons” is currently available on TV channels and digital providers in the United States and is showing at Church visitors’ centers and historic sites. DVD and Blu-ray versions of the movie will be available at the end of this month. The film will also be available worldwide on Netflix later this year. “Meet the Mormons” is also showing in other countries.
The Church was among 15 community organizations and individuals recognized for acts of service at the 2015 heroes luncheon. Sharon Eubank, director of Humanitarian Services, received the Outstanding Community Partner award on behalf of the Church.