Friday, June 19, 2015

What Has the Red Cross Done with Almost Half a Billion Dollars of Donations?

After the 2011 earthquake in Haiti, the American Red Cross raised half a billion dollars and announced plans to build hundreds of permanent homes in Haiti. However, according to an article by Pro Publica, co-published with NPR, to this day the Red Cross has completed only six homes. Where has the half a billion dollars in donations gone?

For starters, before the earthquake in Haiti, the Red Cross had a deficit of more than $100 million. However, the article states that after having received the donations for Haiti, they are no longer reporting that deficit. In addition, the article explains that the Red Cross said that only 9% of donations for Haiti would go toward overhead expenses. However, according to the article, the Red Cross gave some of their donations to other organizations to do part of the work in Haiti. As a result, each of these organizations also took out a portion for overhead, leading to 40% of total donations going to overhead expenses.

The article explains that the Red Cross announced in promotional materials that they provided homes to more than 130,000 people and helped more than 4.5 million Haitians “get back on their feet.” According to the article, when Haiti’s Prime Minister heard these figures, he pointed out that the entire population of Haiti is only about 10 million and said, “It’s not possible.” 

The article also points out that when the Red Cross announced that they provided homes to more than 130,000 people, they were including in that number people who were not actually given a home, but who were “trained in proper construction techniques.” 

It would be interesting to see exactly how every dollar is being spent by the Red Cross, and how much of it is actually going toward the purpose of helping Haitians have permanent homes and a better life. Sadly, this country needs all the help it can get but it doesn't seem to be getting much.

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