Board Member Spotlight: Jesse Gordon Long Energizes Red Cross

Colleen Hathaway/Red Cross Cascades Region

I recently chatted with Jesse Gordon Long, the newest of fourteen Red Cross Cascades Region board members, who graciously gave me some of his time for this blog post.  

Jesse was raised in Salem and attended the University of Oregon.  He began his career in Marketing at Wieden+Kennedy’s Portland office and moved to their Amsterdam office in 2006. While in the Netherlands, Jesse moved to Nike’s European HQ in 2011, eventually returning to Nike’s World HQ in Oregon, where he now works as a Senior Director in Global Brand Planning.  

In addition to the Red Cross, Jesse is on the board of the Sheltersuit Foundation, an international organization that creates and produces specialized, upcycled gear for people who are homeless.  The Sheltersuit Foundation collaborates with homeless shelters and other humanitarian organizations such as the Red Cross.  

Jesse loves travel, photography, films/editing, and sport, especially cycling.  As part of Nike’s L’Etape Du Tour cycling team, he (slowly, he said) completed five stages of the Tour Du France and led the team’s annual philanthropy drive, raising money and awareness for ALS.

Our newest board member considers himself to be a “pragmatic” philanthropist.  He is energized by, and brings energy to, the tangible, everyday work of the Red Cross that brings help to people in need. 

What does a Board member do for the Red Cross?

Board members can contribute in a ton of different ways and our CEO, Priscilla Fuentes, is very open to new ideas, which is really empowering. 

Personally, I’m passionate about blood donation, so I donate my own blood and encourage others to donate as well (not limited to my wife, who joined me recently for a board blood drive).  I connect with donors to thank them for contributing.  I’m a new member on the board’s DEI Committee and I have participated in Sound the Alarm  with my daughter.  As someone that loves photography, I have photographed blood drives, Sound the Alarm events, board retreats, and more for usage by the Red Cross (I promise they aren’t all selfies).

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One thing I’ve yet to do is deploy as part of a disaster relief effort. One of our board members went to Lahaina following last summer’s fire and was there for a few weeks, which was super inspiring and something I hope to do in the future.1

Is there anything you would say to people who may be considering donating blood but aren’t sure or have reservations about it?

It’s a fine line for me. I don’t want to make people feel pressured so I try and talk about my experience giving blood and why I do it. Specifically, I talk about how it’s quick, easy, doesn’t hurt and is a free way to give back. I also try and talk about the many uses of donated blood, as chances are, everyone will know at least one person that has needed a blood transfusion for moments like a surgery, chemotherapy, child labor, etc.

I’m lucky as my work hosts blood drives so it’s super convenient for me to pop over and donate. I also take the opportunity to tell my colleagues and other teams about upcoming drives in case they want to donate as well. 

One thing I like about donating blood is anyone can do it. I’ve been donating since I was 18. I couldn’t really afford to donate much financially back then, but I could donate my blood.

When was the first time you volunteered with the Red Cross?

Technically I wasn’t an official ARC volunteer, but early in my career at Wieden+Kennedy, I had the opportunity to help organize and recruit for a Red Cross blood drive hosted at the office. I ended up creating ten “commercials” to inspire folks to donate and I emailed two a day to the whole office for the five days leading up to the drive. 

They were terrible, and two a day was far too many, but we got a lot of people signed up. 

What do you think are some of the Red Cross’ priorities right now?

That’s tough to narrow down. Our mission is to “prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors,” which leaves a lot of room for things to prioritize. If I had to narrow it down:

  1. The current blood shortage is a huge priority. Blood donations are at their lowest in the past twenty years which can result in delays to lifesaving medical procedures. We need to get more people donating and continuing to donate.
  2. As weather events become more extreme, the damage caused by forest fires is intensifying in the summers as is the severity of flooding and ice storms in the winter. These events result in needs for things like shelter, food, and medicine, and that’s when the Red Cross shows up. 

If anyone wants to learn more about the Red Cross and how to get involved, take a look here:


Jesse lives in Portland with his wife, Kindra, and their children Sophia and Theo.



  1. ↩︎

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii experienced a devastating wildfire in August 2023.  Board member Darrell Fuller wrote about his time volunteering in Lahaina on this blog.