COMMENT: Why I Will Never Donate Money To The Red Cross, Inquiry Called For
COMMENT: Brand and building up the perception that they can be trusted is what the Red Cross is good at, the only problem is they are an organisation that cannot be trusted and for decades, questions have been asked as to what has happened to the money that people have donated to this questionable organisation.
The answer as is the case in a recent Brisbane incident questioning missing donation, is silence or the Red Cross spin doctors are engaged to hose down questions about this so-called charity organisation that actually sells blood to make a profit.
The latest scandal involves one of Australia’s richest men who has called for an inquiry into how charities use donated money after his $1 million was not spent how he intended by the Red Cross who use social media and online sites to spruik donations.
Founder of the Property Group Kevin Young gave $1 million to the Red Cross in 2010 for what he claims was to help build a centre for homeless young people in Brisbane.
The only problem is that the money was banked by the Australian Red Cross and the home failed to materialise.
Social media, new generation apps and pop-up web sites, allows the Red Cross to raise money quickly when a crisis like when the bush fires in NSW happened or during the recent NSW and Queensland flood appeals.
The Red Cross raised $90M during the bush fire appeal they then admitted that they were only allocating $30M to those genuinely in need in need of assistance, this angered one former NSW politician who is now standing for a Federal seat.
Organisations such as the Red Cross appear to be morally corrupt and more interest in future administration costs and the payment of fees to executives running the Red Cross than the immediate allocation of relief to those in need.
There spin is often based on “We put money away for a future crisis” despite the money being raised for the immediate crisis such as the NSW and Queensland floods.
I have been a journalist working in war zones for decades, I was 500 metres from the towers in New York when they went up and I was one of the first journalists on the ground when Cyclone Tracy hit in Darwin.
I have seen first-hand the people who turn up during a crisis, and who are the real contributors in the hour of need.
One of those organisations is the Salvation Army who were there during 911 and were on the ground in Darwin and are seen every day on the streets of Australia helping those in need.
What is happening in Australia with Red Cross Australia is exactly what happened in New York with 911.
The American Red Cross raised over $1.2 Billion during the 911 terrorist attacks they then faced vociferous questioning over its integrity, management, and fundraising tactics when the money was initially not spent on disaster relief in New York.
Its problems were immediate.
Amid the maelstrom of the disaster, as millions of dollars poured in from all over the world, American Red Cross president Bernadine Healy diverted donations from the existing disaster fund – in which money could be spent on the priorities of any future crisis – into a separate so called Liberty Fund.
The Guardian reported that while the organisation continued to fundraise way beyond its own $400m target, it emerged that Healy had grandiose plans to invest sizeable sums in Red Cross infrastructure, including telecommunications and blood systems.
Public and political pressure forced rededication of the Liberty Fund to 9/11 alone with a commitment to spend 90% within a year.
It’s also been revealed that the Red Cross sells blood to hospitals despite the blood being donated for free.
In the latest scandal the Brisbane based Red Cross has been accused of taking a million-dollar donation for street kids and then failing to build the building that the money was donated for.
“It was supposed to be a purpose-built building that would take people off the street and transform them and help them get a job,” Mr Young told News Corporation.
Council land in Fortitude Valley was donated in 2010 and the federal government chipped in $14 million to build low-cost housing on the site. Mr Young put up $1m for “The Young Centre” to be established with the Red Cross to run the service.
“We want to ensure at-risk young people receive all the support they need to get back on track and achieve their life goals,” Red Cross Queensland executive director Kevin Keeffe was quoted saying at the time.
“The land was donated for the building and I donated the money for the building. The idea was a transition place to help young people,” Mr Young said.
“They now don’t return my calls. I’ve been trying to speak to them for the last 12 months and they just haven’t returned my calls.” Mr Young told News Corp.
Like several other people he is questioning the ethics of the Red Cross and their Charity raising.
This is an organisation that has on standby PR and digital marketing Companies who are tasked with taking advantage of a situation such as the recent floods in NSW and Queensland to raise as much money as fast as they can.
Recently the International Committee of the Red Cross announced the decision to open an office in Russian Rostov to assist Russian terrorists in what has been described as the illegal deportation of Ukrainian citizens.
Roman Rukomeda a Ukrainian political analyst claims the International Red Cross is keeping silent about Russian filtration camps for captured Ukrainian citizens and is denying people access to Ukrainian war prisoners.
He said “It looks bizarre and unacceptable in the current situation that the Red Cross has taken the Russian side despite the war crimes these terrorists commit each day in Ukraine. Hopefully, there will be a reasonable explanation for such behaviour” he wrote.
In 2018/2019 Red Cross Australia reported total revenue of $867.401 million of which $642.927 million funded the Blood Service and $224.474 million was for what they label humanitarian services. This is more than a billion dollars. This is an organisation that also owns properties in major Australian Cities.
Back in 2011 New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said at a hearing into the Red Cross fund raising methods “I see the Red Cross, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars that was intended by the donating public to be used for the victims of September 11 — I see those funds being sequestered into long-term plans for an organization,” he testified.
At the time Red Cross officials tried to defend their actions claiming that the 911 fund raising went toward helping communities learn how to deal with other threats such as anthrax.
The hearing was contentious, with panel members trying to get at the issue of donor intent and whether the Red Cross misled donors.
When the NSW bushfires hit, Red Cross Australia admitted it could “take years” to disburse the entire amount and did not rule out the possibility of quarantining some of the funds for future natural disasters such as floods and cyclones.
The admission has angered NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance, who nearly lost his home in Batemans Bay to the fires.
In their latest 2021 financial report the Australian Red Cross said during the FY2021 the Australian public donated $89.696M (FY20 $303.538M mainly due to Bushfire support) to help us deliver programs, strengthen communities, and support our everyday work and specific causes.
The report then went on to say that they only spent $58.151M to support communities affected by the devastating
Overall government funding to Red Cross increased by $62.652M in comparison to FY2020.
The Red Cross Humanitarian Services revenue includes $74.055M from Commonwealth government grants and $89.274M from State and Territory government grants.
The Red Cross also received $14.843M of JobKeeper income to support our short-term financial position
mitigating the financial effect of lockdowns during the year that led to restricted operating conditions
and fundraising activities.
The Australian Red Cross has cash reserves of $137.030M ($62.988m committed for future program delivery) and investments of $60.701M.
Management claim that these funds provide the basis for stable operations in the coming year.
As for the latest scandal involving the Red Cross in Australia, Mr Young said he now regrets his decision to donate the money.
“My $1m was not to duplicate a night kitchen,” Mr Young said.
“I should have gone ahead and done it myself.”