Charities of Choice 2006, Part II: The American Red Cross

The second charity that we are focusing on this year is the American Red Cross. I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for the Red Cross ever since our second son was born. Due to complications during her C-section, my wife ended up needing multiple blood transfusions, and the blood was supplied by none other than the Red Cross blood bank. The Red Cross also does a tremendous amount of disaster relief work. While they do a lot of high profile work in response to huge disasters that hit the front page of the paper (e.g., Hurricane Katrina), they also help a huge number of people that are suffering through individual disasters (e.g., home fires).

Beyond all the good that they do, the American Red Cross is a highly efficient charity. In fact, Charity Navigator give them four (out of a possible four) stars, and they spend just under 92% of all funds on program expenses, with just 5% going to administrative expenses and 3.5% going toward fundraising.

If you choose to donate to the American Red Cross, you can actually specify how you want the money used. For example, you can ask that your contribution go toward their national disaster relief fund, their international response fund, your local Red Cross chapter, their military services, their measles initiative, or their blood services campaign. Alternatively, you can ask that your contribution be used wherever the need is greatest — this is what we always do.

In case you’re curious, here’s their mission statement:

The American Red Cross has helped people mobilize to help their neighbors for 125 years. Last year, victims of a record 72, 883 disasters, most of them fires, turned to the Red Cross for help and hope. Through more than 800 locally supported chapters, more than 15 million people each year gain the skills they need to prepare for and respond to emergencies in their homes, communities and world. Almost four million people give blood – the gift of life – through the Red Cross, making it the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the U.S. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a global network of more than 180 national societies, the Red Cross helps restore hope and dignity to the world’s most vulnerable people.

If you’re looking for a worthy charity to support, please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross.

See also:
Part I (Modest Needs)
Part III (Our Local Food Bank)
Part IV (The Conservation Fund)

3 Responses to “Charities of Choice 2006, Part II: The American Red Cross”

  1. Anonymous

    I was glad to see you recommend the American Red Cross as a charity. As a volunteer for this organization for almost 30 years, I can attest to the important humanitarian work that is done each and every day. The Red Cross teaches CPR, first aid, and lifeguarding classes, facilitates communications and other services for those serving in the armed forces, helps to keep our national blood supply healthy, and prepares for and responds to disasters of many kinds – from local house fires to huge hurricanes and major floods.

    All of the disaster relief services that the Red Cross provides is free. It is an independent organization that relies on the generosity of the American people. Unfortunately, disasters always happen. This was a particularly bad year. The need for financial support is great right now – so please give if you can. Your donations have enabled me (and thousands of others like me) to do disaster relief work in my local community as well as responding to larger events such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. This September I spent almost a month working in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav, I worked in a shelter (which served almost 1700 residents at it’s peak), helped to distribute clean up supplies, as well as doing outreach client casework in flood damaged homes.

    This is a great organization and I plan on being a part of it for a long time. Hopefully you will never be in need of it’s disaster services but should you have that need – then you will truly come to realize just how essential and how important it is. Supporting the American Red Cross is a great way to give back to your community. If you are not able to make a monetary donation then please consider participating in a blood drive or volunteering some of your time.

  2. Anonymous

    I couldn’t agree more with the American Red Cross. Being a Southern California resident, I’ve seen the amazing work they do during the wildfires we’ve experienced here in recent years.

    Please bear in mind that if you do designate your donation to specific disasters, please, please remember to support your local chapter. They will honor your request to designate your donation to the disaster you ask but remember that there are local disasters too! For every house fire, the American Red Cross accompany the fire department. Local Disaster Funds are always low.

  3. Anonymous

    I posted yesterday about how students and fresh graduates with modest financial means can still participate in charity. Your post today is a timely reminder of one of the opportunities I missed earlier.

    […] Update 12/28/2006: Five Cent Nickel today has a post about American Red Cross, which made me think of one more. Organize and/or participate in blood drives. This may not be for everyone, but those who are healthy enough, think about it – you really can save lives! […]

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