Thursday, January 17, 2008
The New York Time reports that the American Red Cross is facing a $200 million operating deficit, which will force it to lay off up to 1,000 of its employees or one-third of its headquarters staff, as well as some regional staff. The Red Cross had a total budget of $3.45 billion in 2007. The organization also has an endowment of $800 million, but it will not be tapped to cover the deficit according to Suzy C. DeFrancis, the Red Cross's chief public affairs officer. Ms. DeFrancis declined to discuss fund-raising problems, other than to state that the organization had not raised enough funds to cover costs. The article notes, however, that the Red Cross struggled with fund-raising in the wake of negative publicity regarding its handling of contributions for 9/11 victims. The article also cites former and current executives as blaming the fund-raising shortfall at least in part on the lack of a major disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, while myriad small and mid-sized disasters that do not attract donors' attention continued to place demands on the Red Cross's budget.