Tell me what you think about the American Red Cross!!

  1. I am a board member for a local chapter of the American Red Cross. Many local Red Cross Chapters are suffering some dark times in the wake of 9/11. Our chapter and national donations are way down and it is getting difficult for some of us to continue our work in the multiple areas in which we operate (disaster, health and safety ed, community services).

    I am particularly interested in hearing how you view the Liberty Fund, the millions of dollars that have been donated and now pledged to the care of 9/11 victims and families. This is an unprecendented use of disaster related donations and nothing like it was done for Oklahoma city victims. I will candidly tell you that _I believe_ (and my opinion is mine alone) it may impact our ability to respond to future victims of disasters.

    Have you donated to the Red Cross in the past? If yes, have you donated in this calendar year? Why or why not?

    Do you regard the Red Ccross as a safe and good place to donate dollars to?

    thanks for your input.
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   Huganurse
    I used to hold the ARC in high regaurd until: I found out what the top managers/CEOs are paid. I used to think the ARC was a non profit org, there to help people.

    The funds that came in d/t 9-11 belong to the ARC to do as they see fit. Now that everything is cleaned up, why would they still be involved? ARC is to help people after a disaster and to provide relief in areas of our world to those in need. I'm not sure I agree with the way they took advantage of 9-11 to market for funds....but what else can they do...they need money to run the show....if they don't take advantage when they are able....they would only miss out on funds needed to help others. But, it does make them look bad imo. I have not seen commercails since the big post 9-11 campaign that brought them in millions of dollars. What? Do they have enough money now and no longer need to ask the public for assistance? I think NOT, they are just laying low b/c they don't know what else to do.
    I do not give my money to organizations where the boses are there to make the big buck and make 6 figure incomes. I'll stick with giving my money to people who truly want to help others and do not take advantage of givers money for personal gain. There are plenty of local groups and programs that would help my community so much more than the ARC. Soup kitchens, runaway shelters, womans shelters for those running from abuse, teen prego clinics, free clinics, etc. The people who work in those places, do it for the ability to help others and not pocket the bucks into there own. Those places where the top people drive jags and live in mansions b/c of thier incomes from working at a non profit org, will never get my hard earned buck and that includes the ARC.
    Last edit by Huganurse on Jun 30, '02
  4. by   traumaRUs
    I too think that the bigwigs in the ARC are paid waaay too much. I also give my money to local causes. My 17 y/o son is mentally ill and has run away several times. He has always received help: food, use of a telephone, etc from our local mission. So...that's where my money goes. I also give to mental health causes.
  5. by   amblessing
    ARC has done a wonderful job over the years in helping victims of disaster and tragedy. In 1994, I lived in California about 15 miles from the epicenter of the Northridge Earthquake. ARC was there to help with food and shelter for the victims and the rescue workers. I now live in Oklahoma City and I can't tell you (unfortunately) how many times the ARC has been to this area! The ARC was there OKC bombing of 1995 and the F5 tornado of 1999. Although, churches and just good folks go out of their way to help victims here, we would be helpless without the ARC. They are there night and day for as long as it takes to see that everyone, including rescue workers are taken care of.
  6. by   Stargazer
    I was disappointed and disgusted with the Red Cross's handling of 9/11. Although I appreciate that the national organization has made some efforts to restructure how they handle money--and the departure of CEO Bernadine Healy was a big step in the right direction.

    However, 60 Minutes II just did a segment last week on the San Diego branch of the ARC, whose horrendous mishandling of a major local disaster had resulted in public outrage, much unfavorable publicity, an investigation by the national organization and the summary dismissal of every single member of San Diego's board of directors. The piece pointed out that the local branches have minimal contact with and virtually no accountability (financial or otherwise) to the national organization.

    That, to me, seems to be a rather glaring systemic problem. To be honest, after watching that piece, in addition to the Liberty Fund mess, I've decided I will be donating to local organizations--and NOT the local Red Cross--from now on. I sincerely doubt I would ever trust them with my money again.

    Sorry!
  7. by   Huganurse
    Is the ARC a international organization or American (USA) organization??
  8. by   sunnygirl272
    i have no respect for the way they handle their $$...i prefer to give on a more local level...fundraisers for local cancer/transplant/etc victims...or we adopt certain pts at holidays... all anonymously..but more sure that the $$ is going where it should go...
  9. by   911fltrn
    I also saw the 60 minutes special on the Red Cross. With no accountability and 6 figure incomes. I will never give another cent to the Red Cross. In case of severe emergency/disaster i would provide nursing care. I sorry to say I think the Red Cross will continue to have problems for some time to come
  10. by   km rn
    I also saw the 60 minutes piece which changed my mind about the red cross. In addition the 9 - 11 controversary only strengthened my view point. I am also shocked by how much the administrators of the Red Cross make - yet depend on volunteer nurses, etc. to do the actual in the trenches work.

    No more money from me. I will also be re-evaluating my donation to the United Way.
  11. by   Nurse Ratched
    I give to the Red Cross but earmark it for local use. I have been a Red Cross volunteer for 4 years as a community CPR instructor and have given blood through them since age 17. I think the local chapters do excellent work but, as in most situations, at the corporate level things get messed up.
  12. by   fedupnurse
    No I do not donate to any "charitable" organization that has CEO's or directors that get 6 figure salaries. Never have and never will. I use to donate to MADD when Candy Lightner started and ran it. Then 99 cents of every dollar went to public education. As soon as it went corporate, I stopped and I told them why (less than a dime of every dollar to public education). I donate food and supplies to my local animal shelters. I assist neighbors as needed.
    I can see why people were upset about the 9/11 fund. People thought it was going to be going soley to those directly affected by the Pentagon, plane and World Trade Center tragedies. I didn't pick up a phone and give money then because, call me a cynic (I prefer the word realist), I saw this coming! I'd rather give support to those I know that were directly affected, emotional or financial, rather than give it over to an organization and not know where it is going.
    I think the work the volunteers of the American Red Cross are wonderful people and do a wonderful job, but I refuse to contribute to the exorbanent salaries of CEO's.
  13. by   Momto2monsters
    My aunt is the head of a local chapter in another state and I am sickened by what she does! A local department store in her area donated a crap load of clothes to the Red Cross. She picked thru the designer clothes and took some for herself and also gave some to her son for his modeling agency use. God only knows what else she pilfers!
  14. by   MollyJ
    Thanks to all of you for your candid responses.

    I am hoping that all of you will have enough patience to read my response and I will try to keep it brief.

    Local Chapters are bound by Charter to the American Red Cross, which is part of the network that includes the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent Society. Local Chapters get support in the way of development of materials, guidance and oversight from the National HQ. As a board member for a local chapter, I can say that we get a tremendous amount of support from HQ, but it is quite a bureaucracy and sometimes I don't think they see US. We pay for that support through fees assessed to us, also. Still, it is an impressive support system. What I'm saying is that the HQ is of great use to us; it comes at a steep price.

    At the National levels, pay scale must be competitive with other charitable organizations in order to be able to access high quality personnel. No one can probably afford to live in work in the cities we are head quartered in unless there is a competitive wage. However, let me tell you that my Executive Director works for an amount of money NONE of you would even consider working for. Since I cannot quote the number with certainty, I won't quote it, but I remember thinking that nurses hadn't made money that poor for a long time. Our full time office support staff makes wages like $8.00 an hour. The local staff are paid pitifully and the benefit package is beyond most of their reaches.

    I personally oppose the Liberty Fund which will allow large chunks of money to be paid directly to families for up to 5 years. It is not that I personally begrudge those folks any money; God knows they've had the pain. It's just that that expenditure could have well gone to meet the future needs of disaster victims.

    Huganurse, I am concerned about your report of closing disaster shelters. Call your local chapter director and ask why this happened. But i will tell you this: with decreased giving in the wake of 9/11 we've had to cut back on our disaster response, too. We've done this in the realm of not responding to less minor fires and such and upped the level of response before we come. Your report saddens me greatly as I bet it did the exec that had to decide it. CALL them and ask what happened.

    I STILL THINK THAT A DONATION EARMARKED FOR YOUR LOCAL RED CROSS IS A GOOD THING TO DO. Know the name of your chapter and donate specifically to that chapter ie "Heartland Chapter ARC" or whatever. That money is earmarked like Nurse Ratched said.

    In our community of 45,000 here is what my ARC chapter does:
    *disaster response in a multi-county area INCLUDING fire, tornadoes, floods and unique disasters WHICH includes feeding disaster responders and sheltering displaced disaster victims and providing emotional support. We will assist fire-displaced and other victims with getting some fundamental clothing and a place to live for a short time. IF their is a death, we assist some immediate family with transportation to come to our town.
    *AFES--which is a system of communication for military dependents
    *We educate essentially all Water Safety Instructors that train life-guards that guard kids in local pools. Our life guards are trained using ARC materials by our WSI.
    *We teach first aid classes to local citizens including middle schoolers in the public school system
    *We are a main provider of CPR classes in our area
    *We administrate (essentially at cost) a program for low income families to assist them in paying their utility bills
    *We give away fans to low income families to assist them with coping with the summer heat
    *We man first aid booths at local major events
    *We teach local teens about babysitting and lawnmower safety
    *We coordinate with regional blood services to do multiple blood drives
    *Our exec director networks with local service providers to make sure that the needs of our local community are met and that we undertake to do what the community needs if it is our domain.
    *This is a partial list

    Finally, a word about oversight and internal auditing. The Red Cross has an exhaustive and almost overwhelming system of cost-accounting and internal auditing. We (our local chapter) are audited annually by an independent accounting firm. The National ARC is audited annually. We submit annually to the congress a report of what we do (no other organization like us does that). A huge portion of what a board does is financial oversight. In addition, most of us are United Way recipients and we submit to their auditing and quality control measures. I didn't see the Sixty Minutes program, but I understandably feel that they WAY understated our system of accountability.

    Again, the Red Cross isn't perfect. I certainly have my frustrating moments but I still believe that donating to your local Red Cross supports local activities that have benefited and will benefit you and your neighbords. Talk to your local chapter execs. Learn about them. Ask them about their internal auditing measures. My chapter is in compliance with ARC rules and it works hard to stay there.

    Thanks for reading.

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