Dec 15, 2005

Red Cross Head Resigns.

More evidence that my criticism and skepticism of the Red Cross were not wholly unwarranted.


Anonymous said...

I followed your links about your criticism of the Red Cross, but as far as I can tell, you are criticizing FEMA throughout the article, but not the Red Cross. From what I've seen, private charities like the Red Cross far outstripped the the government in compassion, effectiveness, and timeliness.

Rage said...

I guess I didn't write as much about the Red Cross as I thought - will have to see where that stuff is. But my experience with the Red Cross has been mixed at best, from working regularly with them in the relief effort after September 11th. They were not nearly as transparent as the September 11th Fund, created jointly by the United Way of NYC and New York Community Trust, they were initially not clear that donations that came in for Sept. 11 relief were not earmarked exclusively for Sept. 11 relief work (though that firestorm resulted in a major shakedown and a lot of bad press).

They were unwilling to relinquish control of the funds that were granted to them to other organizations and groups in the area who were more likely to work directly with communities that were affected. They were extemely difficult to work with once they finally became grant-makers, partially because they didn't have a track record of grant-making.

They had a terrible bureaucracy that made it difficult to get a straight answer, because their national headquarters policy office and fiscal office didn't communicate well, and neither spoke with the local office that we had to deal with (who didn't have ultimate control over policy). As a result, a lot of time was wasted trying to figure out who was in control, and they weren't accountable as government ultimately should be.

I think that the Red Cross is an important organization because it mobilizes people in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. I think that it's good because it's immediately recognizable and people trust it, so they give. But I think that they have a lot of kinks to work out to be more tuned into local community needs.

flygirl said...

Happy New Year, Rage! Look forward to your posts this year :-)

Re: The Red Cross: heard similar things, particularly with management and distribution of funds. They sound like they need a massive overhaul.

Rage said...

Cheers, flygirl. Here's to more posting in the new year, hopefully.