#HurricaneHarvey came through and left parts of Texas underwater. People lost their homes, cars, clothes…and some people even lost their lives. While Americans are coming together to donate millions of dollars to help victims of the hurricane, many people are skeptical about donating money…especially to the Red Cross.
In an interview with Morning Edition host Ailsa Chang, Red Cross executive Brad Kieserman was asked about reports that the charity has unusually high administrative costs.
Kieserman said that as of Wednesday morning the Red Cross had spent $50 million on Harvey relief, mainly on 232 shelters for 66,000 people.
Chang: Through donations, how much of every dollar goes to relief?
Kieserman: 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. So I think if he was on this interview and you were asking how many relief vehicles in Texas, I don’t think he’d know the answer and I don’t know the answer to the financial question I’m afraid.
Ailsa pressed on. She said that NPR had reported that 25 percent of the money donated for Haiti to the American Red Cross after the 2010 earthquake went to internal spending.
Chang: Is that still happening? Such a substantial percentage of donations going to internal administrative costs, rather than to relief?
Kieserman: It’s not something I would have any visibility on. I can talk about what it costs to deliver certain relief services.
Kieserman: But the way the internal revenue stream works, uhh …
Chang: You don’t know what portion of that amount.
Kierserman: Not really.
Chang: You don’t know what portion of that total amount is for relief.
Kieserman: No, I really don’t. I wish I could answer your question, but it’s not something I have visibility on in the role that I play in this organization.
Hmm. This is why I don’t blame people for not donating to the Red Cross. Make sure that the charities you donate to, use the money for the people.