Red Cross scam in Haiti? Time to Investigate the Red Cross

Editor’s note: In my “former life” of fund raising, in the weeks after the Indonesian Tsunami, I organized a fund raiser called “Open Your Hearts”.  I gathered a wide range of organizations to support the gala event and raised $50,000.

Out of all the details involved with such an effort, can you guess what was the most difficult?  Was is getting the scallops, steaks or lamb donations?  The live auction items, valued at $1000+ each? The ice sculptures? The libations? The 10-piece band, the dinner music pianist, floral arrangements or auctioneer?  Twenty of the best chefs in the area to donate their time on a Friday night?  The dozens of servers who also donated their time on a Friday night? The hundreds who attended to purchase the expensive tickets?

No.  Those things were ‘easy’, and except the postage for the invitations–there were absolutely NO expenses! We were able to pass along $50,000 in checks made out to the Salvation Army on the Valentine’s Day following the December 26 tsunami. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Of all of the challenges an event which is organized over the course of only 5 weeks poses, the most difficult task in this case was finding an appropriate organization which would actually accept the money.  

I had a mutual friend of the local Red Cross President (actually, I knew his mother).  After days, then weeks of unreturned phone calls to him (where I all wanted to know was how to give his organization money through this fund raiser) I was finally forced to look elsewhere to send our money.  We ended up working with the Salvation Army, and although the Salvation Army had never had anyone hold a fund raiser like that before (they have a strict alcohol abstention rules) we worked out a solution where they could attend the gala and participate in the process.

My point is, it is tough to think that such a charitable organization could be fraudulent, but my limited experience with the Red Cross, suggests there might be something to it.

The Red Cross raised over $450 million on behalf of victims of the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti.

They say they’ve spent $106 million.

A Haitian goes in search of evidence that the money was spent to help Haitians.

What about the other $344 million. The Red Cross says it has “long term” plans for that money.

Long term plans when there are people going without food, water, medical care and basic tent housing.

Isn’t it about time some Red Cross people went to jail for fraud?

Two groups we know and have faith in:

Real help for Haiti

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