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Red Cross response criticized

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The American Red Cross has received the bulk of Katrina donations, but questions are being raised about the charity’s stewardship.

* The American Red Cross has raised almost $750 million, the vast majority of the more than $1 billion given in Katrina aid to date, but criticism of the group’s response to the devastation in the Gulf region is mounting, The New York Times reported Sept. 20.

* Corporate giving in response to Katrina is on track to eclipse tsunami giving, with cash donations and employee matching already exceeding tsunami totals, the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy said based on a survey of 40 member groups.

* Charitable giving has reached $1.06 billion, including $408 million in donations from corporations and foundations, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported Sept. 20.

* As corporate giving mounts in response to Hurricane Katrina, businesses are finding that giving back can have profitable side effect, including projecting a caring image to customers, energizing employees and utilizing existing tax breaks, The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., reported Sept. 22.

* Corporations and foundations continue to donate:

  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation announced $12 million grant package to provide immediate recovery support for Katrina victims.
  • FoundationsforRecovery.org, launched by Baton Rouge Area Foundation and Greater New Orleans Foundation, has received gifts from foundations totaling $4.25 million.
  • John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded $1 million strategic planning grant for rebuilding of Biloxi, Gulfport.
  • Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation providing $1 million to relief efforts for rebuilding nonprofits that provide breast cancer health services in Gulf region; application guidelines now available.
  • Direct Relief International awarded three grants totaling $465,000 to support front-line medical efforts in disaster areas.

* Organizations across the country are helping in a variety of ways:

  • Salvation Army to double duration of its 2005 red kettle holiday fundraising efforts at all Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club locations across country.
  • San Francisco Conservatory of Music hosted concert to benefit Red Cross Katrina relief efforts Sept. 16.
  • CityTeam, nonprofit serving homeless worldwide, sending half its staff to Gulf region to launch six-to-12-month effort, including shelters, childcare, medical care, pastoral care.
  • Safeco Insurance donated $25,000 to Big “I” Katrina Relief Fund created by Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association.
  • New York Regional Association of Grantmakers developed online clearinghouse of information on relief efforts; convened meeting of area grantmakers to discuss short, long-term strategies for tackling relief efforts.
  • CRA Qualified Investment Fund, mutual fund dedicated to community and economic development, announced $50 million of fund assets to be directed to rebuilding efforts in Gulf region.
  • Sloan Consortium, association of colleges and universities, providing more than 1,000 tuition-free online courses for displaced students.
  • Foundation Source, provider of support services to foundations, sharing proprietary Emergency Assistance Application process with private foundations making grants directly to Katrina victims.
  • Network for Good, provider of fundraising software and services to nonprofits, Bethesda, has driven more than $12 million and 100,000 donations to charities.
  • Jewish Federation’s Katrina Relief Fund exceeds $1 million.
  • “Effective Disruption Management Seminar” held at Stanford University to discuss how coordination of nonprofit, for-profit supply chains enhance relief work.
  • ServeNet.org, project of Youth Service America, established new category, “Katrina Relief,” to assist in recruiting volunteers for relief efforts.
  • TechSoup.org published “Restoring IT Infrastructure,” manual for nonprofits on bringing technology systems back up in aftermath of Katrina.
  • MerchShips, provider of healthcare services to the poor, providing one ship to serve as command center and housing for Katrina Relief teams.
  • San Diego Supercomputer Center working with Red Cross to create list to aid in missing person searches; to include data from several relief organizations.
  • Community Voice Mail to provide voicemail services to 120,000 to Katrina evacuees.
  • Independent Sector to add session examining Katrina recovery efforts to annual conference scheduled for Oct. 23-25 in Washington, D.C.
  • Church World Service to offer relocation services for Katrina evacuees through its Immigration and Refugee program.

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