April 07, 2010
NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams reported on the American Red Cross in Haiti last week. The American Red Cross has received almost $400 million in donations since the earthquake, but in previous disasters has come under fire for how it allocates its funding. NBC correspondent Robert Bazell points out that a Government Accountability Office report from 2007 found that “the Red Cross lacked adequate plans for providing shelter and temporary housing to victims of catastrophic disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.” Razell also points out that after 9/11, the American Red Cross came under fire from Congress after they diverted donations to their general operating fund.
Bazell reports that on the ground in Haiti he saw little evidence of the American Red Cross’ presence, but when he spoke with CEO Gail McGovern she replied, “What you’re saying doesn’t surprise me. Our philosophy here is that we send a core group of people that they are helping orchestrate the distribution of supplies.”
In response to NBC’s requests, the American Red Cross provided some details about their spending:
In response to our request, the American Red Cross said it has spent $106 million so far, and gave amounts for food, water, shelter, health and family services. In spite of repeated requests, it did not supply any more specifics. The group says it takes in 9 cents out of every dollar as overhead, a percentage other charities say is reasonable. What about the remaining $300 million? McGovern says it could take years, but it will be spent properly.
To view the entire report, click here.