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Montana Red Cross recently received a $100,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Trust that will help the humanitarian organization replace aging equipment used to store and process lifesaving blood.

The grant will be used to replace a blast freezer, walk-in refrigerator and walk-in freezer in the organization’s only Montana lab, located in Great Falls. The blast freezer, which freezes plasma separated from whole blood, has been in use for more than 15 years. The walk-in refrigerator, which stores red blood cells that are ready for hospital use, and the walk-in freezer, used for storing plasma, were both purchased in 1978.

“This generous gift enables us to replace critical equipment and ensure blood is available whenever and wherever it’s needed,” Montana Red Cross Executive Director Diane Wright said. “Blood is perishable and has a limited shelf life so reliable refrigeration equipment is essential as we continue our legacy of providing blood safely and efficiently in Montana and across the country.”

Montana Red Cross and its donors provide blood products to 33 hospitals and medical centers across the state, many of them in rural areas. Last year alone, the Red Cross collected more than 37,700 units, which is transported back to the Great Falls lab for testing and processing before arriving on hospital shelves. That blood is used by cancer patients, accident victims, expecting mothers and countless others.

The Otto Bremer Trust is a bank holding company and a private charitable trust based in Saint Paul, Minn., that works at the intersection of finance and philanthropy. Created in 1944 by Otto Bremer, it is today one of the nation’s largest philanthropic organizations and is committed to supporting a better quality of life for residents of Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. OBT is the majority owner of Bremer Financial Corporation, a regional financial services company; manages a diversified investment portfolio; and operates Community Benefit Financial Company, a financial resources subsidiary. Since its founding, OBT has invested more than $841 million in people, places, and opportunities in the region.

“Modern equipment used for testing, processing, and storing lifesaving blood is critical to Montana’s medical centers,” said Brian Lipschultz, co-CEO and trustee, Otto Bremer Trust. “This investment will help Montana Red Cross make important upgrades to its operations.”

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs lifesaving blood. To find a blood drive near you and schedule an appointment, visit or call 800-RED-CROSS.

If your business, organization or community group is interested in hosting a Red Cross blood drive, contact Carmen Madsen at, call 406-868-7202 or visit to learn more.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or


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