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Red Cross Falls Short of Fund-Raising Goal : Giving: The recession has slowed contributions, so officials will extend deadline for emergency campaign.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Orange County’s American Red Cross chapter raised only about a third of its $1-million goal in a four-month emergency campaign that ended Monday, and the group’s directors have decided to extend the drive into November.

“By the time we got rolling, the deadline was up,” said campaign co-chairman Rod Hayden, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor America in Fountain Valley. “When things like this get started, it just takes time, you have to build momentum.”

The Red Cross’ one-on-one solicitation effort to local businesses has come up with $250,000 in cash donations since the campaign’s official kickoff March 5, according to Red Cross spokeswoman Judy Iannaccone. More than 100 of the 600 businesses contacted have contributed, she said.

In addition, Hyundai Motor America has given the chapter five cars, and State Farm Insurance is producing a disaster preparedness video, items that Iannaccone said would have cost $100,000.

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Hayden and campaign co-chairman Terry Harthshorn will announce the results of the campaign and the plan to extend the deadline at the annual meeting of the Red Cross chapter’s board of directors Wednesday.

“I would have liked to replenish the reserves earlier, (but) we’re on the way there,” Hayden said.

Faced with a deficit of nearly $300,000 for 1991, Red Cross leaders launched the emergency campaign to offset a shortfall in United Way funding and a decline in individual contributions caused by the recession. Grants from United Way have dropped almost $2 million since 1986, and the Red Cross is one of many Orange County charities that has suffered from decreased giving over the past two years.

“It’s a sign of the times,” said attorney Bruce Englebrecht, the board of directors’ vice chairman of support. “Doing more with less seems to be the motto of the ‘90s.”

The Orange County chapter has an annual budget of $3.5 million, Iannaccone said, adding that the group expects a surplus of $80,000 when the fiscal year ends June 30.

Red Cross officials say that if they do not raise the $1 million, services such as disaster aid after earthquakes, hurricanes and floods would have to be slimmed down, and other programs, including health prevention and education, might have to be eliminated.

“If the money’s not there the services will have to be curtailed,” Englebrecht said.

“There are services that happen throughout the year that get little or no publicity,” he pointed out, explaining that the community generally supports Red Cross disaster efforts, but people often forget about the group’s routine help for victims of small fires or AIDS prevention activities. “This requires money.”

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Hayden said he is worried that if Orange County encountered a major disaster, the Red Cross chapter would not be able to respond adequately. “Do we have the funds ready? The answer is no.”

Despite the failure to meet the initial deadline, campaign organizers are confident that their goal will be met in time. They do not plan any change in fund-raising strategy and but will simply keep sending teams of volunteers and members of the board of directors on targeted solicitations in the business community.

“It’s not like the Red Cross is a business and we’re going to lock the doors and go out of business,” Hayden said. “The Red Cross is always going to be here. We’re always going to serve the people who need us. We’re going to find a way to get the funds together.”


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