The Red Cross In the News
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How well do you know the
American Red Cross?

The facts about singing
"God Bless America"
and the American Red Cross

Most frequently asked questions
about Red Cross issues


Opportunities to volunteer include
becoming a Disaster Action Team member.

How well do you know the American Red Cross? Inaccuracies in the media.
On Sunday, March 10th, the show "60 Minutes" aired a not so flattering segment on the Red Cross focusing on three incidents. What was reported on "60 Minutes" was not only inaccurate but also misleading and completely misrepresenting the life-saving work staff and volunteers do everyday across the nation and around the world.


60 Minutes reported that the San Diego chapter has not provided a financial report to Supervisor Jacob and the fire victims. The fact is that the chapter has issued regular reports since the national audit last summer. The most recent report issued in the last couple of weeks found that $242,021 has been spent on immediate disaster relief and in direct support of the families affected by the fire of the $343,000 designated by donors for the Alpine/Viejas fires, more than two-thirds of the donations.

60 Minutes also reported that there is no financial reporting and accountability of the chapters to the national Red Cross. The fact is:

All chapters are required to have an independent annual financial review. Any chapter over $100,000 in annual revenue is required to have an external audit.

The 126 largest chapters must send quarterly financial reports to the national Red Cross.

The internal audit unit of Red Cross does regular audits of chapters. This year, they will audit 140 audits.

Chapters also have to meet specific national guidelines to maintain their charters every 5 years or they will lose their charter and ability to operate as the Red Cross.

60 Minutes reported that the "this and other disaster policy" is written in fine print, yet the West Virginia flood ad they showed had this language in the same size type as the rest of the copy in the advertisement.

60 Minutes reported that the national audit of San Diego found that the chapter had misspent $112,000. The fact is that no funds were misspent. National Red Cross and the chapter agreed that indirect costs associated with the Alpine Fire, such things as the cost of telephones to service this disaster, would not be counted, to maximize the funds available for the fire victims.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did a Red Cross chapter in California deny students the right to sing "God Bless America?"
See also "The Real Story" at right.

The Orange County, CA, chapter's decision was based on that chapter's interpretation -- theirs alone -- of the Red Cross guiding principles of impartiality and neutrality to which all chapters must adhere. Their attempt to create an "inclusive" environment for people of all beliefs attending the event, though well intentioned, was in excess of the interpretation called for by our national organization.

The Central Maryland Red Cross believes that it is perfectly right and proper to sing patriotic songs, display the American flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and refer to God at Red Cross events, and frequently does, without violating the fundamental principles of our national organization.

It is important for people to know that they can turn to the Red Cross for help regardless of their ethnic, national or religious backgrounds. The Fundamental Principles that guide the American Red Cross--Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Volunteerism, Unity and Universality--are more important today than ever before. These fundamental principles, however, do not prohibit us from acknowledging our pride in being Americans. There is room for faith and patriotism at Red Cross events without violating our principles of neutrality and impartiality.

Frequently Asked Questions

The American Red Cross welcomes workers,
volunteers, staff and supporters of
every nationality, culture and religion.

The Real Story: "God Bless America" and the Red Cross

California's Orange County chapter had planned to open their volunteer appreciation event with the raising of the American flag and the singing of "The Star Spangled Banner." When the school's choir director suggested adding "God Bless America" and Prayer for the Children," the Orange County representative suggested that the program incorporate other, more culturally inclusive selections that would reflect the diversity of their community.

In a statement released on March 11, 2002, the Orange County chapter apologized for the unintended hurt and disappointment caused by their actions, and called the judgment they used misguided. Their actions were clearly never intended as anti-Christian or anti-God.

Frequently Asked Questions

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