Help the Red Cross?

September 11 controversy

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Red Cross, like many charitable organizations, solicited funds and blood donations for Red Cross activities for the victims of the attacks. Dr. Bernadine Healy, the president of the American Red Cross, appeared on telethons urging individuals to give generously.[citation needed] However, according to America’s Blood Centers, the non-profit consortium that provides the other 50% of the United States blood supply, no national blood drive was needed, since localized blood drives in the affected areas would be sufficient to meet the demand. The American Red Cross felt that the terrorist attacks were a sign of increased instability and urged people to donate blood, even though it wasn’t needed at that time. In the end, some unused blood was destroyed.[citation needed]

Also, the American Red Cross created the Liberty Fund that was ostensibly designed for relief for victims of the terrorist attacks. However, when the fund was closed in October, after exceeding the goals of donations, only 30% of the $547 million received was spent as the standard disaster relief guidelines for meeting victims needs had been supplied to them. Dr. Healy announced that the majority of the remainder of the money would be used to increase blood supply, improve telecommunications, and prepare for terror attacks in other parts of the country.

In February 2002, The New Yorker magazine reported that American Red Cross representatives were visiting upscale apartment buildings in wealthy Manhattan neighborhoods and distributing donated money (up to three months’ rent or mortgage payments) to New Yorkers who had been “displaced, traumatized, or merely inconvenienced” by the terrorist attacks, without any regard to whether the recipients were actually in financial need.

Many donors felt that they had donated specifically to the victims of the September 11 attacks and objected to Healy’s official plan for the diversion of funds. Survivors complained of the bureaucratic process involved in requesting funds and the slow delivery of the checks to meet immediate needs. Congressional hearings were called and New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer investigated the Red Cross. In the end, the American Red Cross appointed former U.S. senator George Mitchell to handle distribution of the funds. Dr. Healy was forced to resign for her role in the situation, and the Red Cross pledged that all funds would go to directly benefit the victims of the September 11 attacks.[40] Healy received a severance payment of $1,569,630.[41] In the end, out of the $961 million received, 71% went as cash assistance to those directly affected, 15% went for long term mental care and hospital care for the victims and people in the affected region, and 10% went for immediate disaster relief like shelters, food, and health care. The remaining 4% went for administration.[citation needed] Significant changes to Red Cross fundraising collection and policy have since been implemented after the Liberty Fund debacle. Numerous watchdog organizations, such as Charity Navigator, have since given high praise to the improved system of honoring donor’s intent and minimizing administration costs.[citation needed]

Why is it that people will donate so generously their money to a “Corporation” that vows to help, when in the past all they have done is misused or even profited from disaster, ask yourself that when you go to write a check for the Haitians. They do not need money, they need help.

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~ by shelnutt on January 24, 2010.

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