Richard M. Walden raises several points about the American Red Cross that I'd like to address.
When a donor designates his contribution to be spent on an event such as the Japan earthquake and tsunami, the Haiti earthquake or Superstorm Sandy, that is exactly where the money goes; it is not put into a general account. The Red Cross spends 91 cents of every dollar donated directly on programs and services. For example, working closely with the Haitian Red Cross, to date the Red Cross has spent, committed or allocated $415 million to recovery, with only 4% of monies donated being held in reserve for unanticipated or emergency needs.
The Red Cross always works with partners on the ground after a catastrophe because no one agency can do it all. In Haiti, the Red Cross had more than 30 partners, all with specific expertise, thus being able to provide a wider range of services to more beneficiaries. For Superstorm Sandy, the Red Cross has worked with more than 60 partners.
Walden also mentions that members of the international Red Cross run hospitals and clinics. Each national Red Cross specializes in activities that are historically and culturally linked to its nation. The American Red Cross is ready when a disaster strikes, and each and every day, we focus on this nation's blood supply, first aid and CPR and other health and safety classes, services to the armed forces and local disaster response.
Three months after Sandy struck, the American Red Cross still has 1,000 workers on the ground. While the Red Cross has spent $145 million on recovery efforts to date, the road to recovery will continue for months and possibly years, and the Red Cross will be there.
The writer is the Los Angeles region chief executive for the American Red Cross.