Monday, August 18, 2014

American Red Cross Reverses Itself On 'Trade Secrets'

by Gary Snyder

Under immense amount of pressure from the New York attorney general's office and ProPublica, the American Red Cross reversed itself and has released new details  on how the American Red Cross spent the more than $300 million it raised following Superstorm Sandy. Previously, the charity suggested that such information was a 'trade secret'. 

The revelations are part of a 108-page document the Red Cross sent ProPublica, which for months has been pushing the group to further explain how it distributed funds earmarked for Sandy relief. 

In an additional note provided with the letter, the Red Cross said that as of June 30, 2014, it had spent $239 million on post-Sandy relief and made "firm commitments" to spend almost all of the rest of the $312 million raised. It also broke its expenditures into seven categories, a level of detail not given in its annual reports or tax filings.

More than half the money spent, $129.6 million, went to financial assistance, food, and other relief items, the Red Cross said. The next-largest expenditures were $46.1 million for "deployment of staff and volunteers (e.g. air travel, rental vehicles, meals, lodging for volunteers)" and $30 million for "costs of permanent program resources included in Superstorm Sandy response."

The group said it spent smaller amounts to pay temporary disaster workers, to acquire or rent equipment, and on miscellaneous operational costs. Nearly $5 million went to professional and consulting services for events like telethons and direct mail fundraising.

The full letter from the Red Cross on Sandy fundraising and spending can be read here.







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