NYT Editorial, Letter To Editor Discuss Red Cross’s Humanitarian Relief Efforts In Haiti

New York Times: Trust Deficit at the Red Cross
Editorial Board

“After calamities, people donate millions of dollars to the American Red Cross, believing it is uniquely equipped to provide prompt humanitarian aid. The latest evidence that their faith has been misplaced came this week in a report by Senator Charles Grassley about the charity’s poor response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. … Senate investigators found that the Red Cross spent about 25 percent of the $488 million raised for Haiti relief on administrative costs and fundraising. That is unusually high … [The organization] should … significantly beef up its oversight and accounting operations and provide detailed, timely information about how it spends and accounts for relief funding. Early this month, it took a step in the right direction by releasing a breakdown of the money it had spent on Haiti relief. It would be unfortunate if Americans were hesitant to donate after the next catastrophe. The Red Cross should make every effort to win their confidence” (6/17).

New York Times: The Red Cross’s Defense of Its Haiti Relief Efforts
Gail J. McGovern, president and chief executive at the American Red Cross

“…Your editorial misses the mark … by not scrutinizing the assertion that 25 percent of the $488 million donated to the American Red Cross for Haiti relief went only to administrative costs and fundraising. Only nine percent went for management, general, and fundraising expenses, sometimes called overhead. The rest went for costs vital to providing humanitarian aid. These costs include paying for staff members (a majority of whom are Haitian) and infrastructure to help manage and oversee approximately 100 projects we funded. This isn’t ‘overhead’ — it is what makes the delivery of humanitarian aid possible. … While our response has been examined closely, there have been no findings of fraud or abuse. We believe that our disaster response efforts remain worthy of the public’s trust” (6/21).

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