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New Executive Director Brings Fresh Perspective to Mid-Alabama Chapter


BIRMINGHAM, AL (Mar. 17, 2023) - The American Red Cross of Alabama and Mississippi welcomes Birmingham native and respected leader, Anne Wright Rygiel, as executive director for the Mid-Alabama chapter serving the counties of Blount, Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, Jefferson, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair and Talladega counties.

Prior to joining the Red Cross, Rygiel served as Executive Director of Firehouse Ministries for 11 years, a local nonprofit serving chronically homeless men through emergency sheltering, direct services, and housing. During her tenure at The Firehouse, Rygiel led a successful campaign resulting in a new and improved homeless shelter and a state-of-the-art pavilion used to provide outdoor services. She also secured funding for the only respite shelter in Alabama and added new housing programs for people experiencing homelessness and chronic disabilities.

Rygiel has received numerous awards for her service and leadership, including the White Wolf award for homeless advocacy, BBJ Top 40 Under 40, Nonprofit of the Year award, and was a finalist for CEO of the Year. She served as Co-chair for Homelessness and Housing for Mayor Woodfin’s transition team in 2021 and remains active in the collaborative, City of Birmingham driven plan to bring micro shelter housing for the hardest to house individuals in our community. She is also active in TEDx Birmingham, first as a speaker and now as a speaker’s coach. In her new role, Rygiel is responsible for strengthening and cultivating relationships with community partners, elected officials, board of directors, volunteers, donors and will serve as the face of the community throughout Mid-Alabama. Her intimate knowledge of the community and engagement with civic leaders is extensive and she expects it will provide valuable insight into the needs of the community.

As part of its humanitarian mission, the Red Cross provides emergency relief to residents impacted by disasters and supports our military members and their families. It strives to make communities safer and more resilient through lifesaving blood collection and distribution; free smoke alarm installations; equipping people with CPR, water safety and first aid skills; and empowering residents with emergency preparedness skills and plans.

“Once I learned about the mission and breadth of services offered by the Red Cross, the decision was an easy one to make. My passion is people and making sure every person has their needs met in times of crisis- be it natural disaster, home fire, issues during deployment, medical crisis, or home fire”, said Rygiel. “I have built my life around equity and service, so joining the Red Cross was a natural fit and I am so excited to help the Mid-Alabama chapter of the Red Cross continue to grow and thrive!”

Rygiel has a bachelor’s degree from Burlington College and received her master’s degree from the University of Alabama. Rygiel and husband, Steve, reside in Birmingham with their son, Hunter (18), two rescue dogs and a cat.

*Anne is available for interviews Monday-Friday. Please reach out to Annette Rowland to schedule.

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