Days after former President Barack Obama urged his Twitter followers to assist the victims of Hurricane Harvey by donating to the Red Cross, multiple reports re-emerged suggesting donating to the humanitarian organization might not be the wisest option.
Thank you to all the first responders and people helping each other out. That’s what we do as Americans. Here’s one way you can help now. https://t.co/iGfE8rAoAu
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 27, 2017
NPR pointed out that according to a 2016 study released by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the Red Cross bungled its response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, wasting at least a quarter of donations on internal expenses alone.
Meanwhile, a 2015 investigation by ProPublica revealed that though the Red Cross claimed to have built 130,000 homes in Haiti with the half a billion dollars it raised, the humanitarian organization only built six.
“Confidential memos, emails from worried top officers, and accounts of a dozen frustrated and disappointed insiders show the charity has broken promises, squandered donations, and made dubious claims of success,” ProPublica reported.
The Red Cross also reportedly mishandled its response to the 2015 California wildfires, “showing up unequipped and unprepared, shutting down other volunteer operations, and then failing to provide promised food or shelter on its own,” according to Slate.
Similar mishaps were reported to have occurred after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.
During an appearance Wednesday on NPR’s Morning Edition, Red Cross executive Brad Kieserman only added to the concerns by refusing to specify what percentage of each dollar donated to the organization goes to relief efforts.
“Yeah, I don’t think I know the answer to that any better than the chief fundraiser knows how many, how much it costs to put a volunteer downrange for a week and how many emergency response vehicles I have on the road today,” he told host Ailsa Chang.
When pressed by Chang about reports Red Cross spent only 25 percent of donated funds during the Haiti crisis, Kieserman continued to deflect, claiming he lacks “visibility” vis-à-vis the organization’s finances.
Some have suggested it would be better to donate to churches and local charities.
Before you send money to the Red Cross (my advice: don’t) re Texas read ProPublica’s advice on disaster charity. https://t.co/kcwlxt6gto
— Dan Gillmor (@dangillmor) August 27, 2017
People looking to donate should “(t)ake the time to read up on” the group and “demand meaningful transparency,” ProPublica said.
“(I)f you’re willing to put in a bit of time, you can be a more informed donor and increase the chances that your money will reach those in need.”
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source: Western Journalism