Laura Sullivan field interview

NPR Reporter Exposes Charity’s Failings

The Red Cross spent a quarter of the donations it received after the 2010 Haiti quake on internal expenses — some $125 million. That’s according to a new report from Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. The Republican lawmaker said that he didn’t get satisfying answers after a year of back-and-forth with the charity, and concluded that there are “substantial and fundamental concerns about [the Red Cross] as an organization.”

Similar concerns were raised last year by NPR investigative correspondent Laura Sullivan and ProPublica. They unearthed scathing reports about how the Red Cross responded to the Haiti quake and Superstorm Sandy, which slammed the American East Coast in 2012.

“They were spending a lot of their time and money on public relations. And they had diverted a number of assets in Sandy — and in a couple of other hurricanes — to PR efforts and not to helping people,” Sullivan tells us.

Sullivan discusses why aid organizations are not completely transparent about how they spend donor dollars. “I think that the numbers aren’t pretty, and I think they know that Americans would be frustrated by them.”

Featured image: Laura Sullivan reporting from Haiti, on the Red Cross’ response to the 2010 earthquake. Photo courtesy of Sullivan.

Additional Resources

Sullivan on Twitter

Red Cross Spent 25 Percent Of Haiti Donations On Internal Expenses

Red Cross ‘Diverted Assets’ During Storms’ Aftermath To Focus On Image

Correspondent Profile: ‘If I Won the Lottery, I’d Work Here for Free.’

The Business Of Disaster: Insurance Firms Profited $400 Million After Sandy

Three Students Help Free Four Death Row Inmates

ProPublica’s effort to help journalists report on the Red Cross

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