Red Cross Sitting on a Third of Sandy Donations

$110M remains unspent

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted May 28, 2013 7:07 AM CDT | Updated May 28, 2013 7:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Red Cross was the top recipient of donations after Superstorm Sandy, bringing in $303 million to help victims. But as of mid-April, $110 million of that remained unused, the organization says. Though the Red Cross—and some disaster relief experts—says that's a good move, allowing it to assist with needs that weren't obvious seven months ago, not everyone is convinced. This past winter, some storm victims "were cold. Homes mildewed. There wasn't enough decent housing," says the director of the Center for the Study of Philanthropy and Civil Society at CUNY. "Given the lingering despair, it's hard to understand the argument that 'We are setting that money aside.'"

Red Cross officials have promised to use all of the Sandy relief money for Sandy recovery, as opposed to using it for other disasters or general operations, but "the Red Cross has never been a recovery operation. Their responsibility has always been mass care" in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, says the executive director of a nonprofit that monitors aid groups. "Stick with what you're good at." Other organizations that raised money for Sandy relief have also waited on spending large portions of it, points out the AP. The news comes as Americans are again giving to the Red Cross in the wake of the tornado in Moore, Okla.; it had raised $15 million as of Thursday.

A Red Cross worker hands up prepared Thanksgiving dinners for linemen as they work Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, in Seaside Heights, NJ, to repair damage from Superstorm Sandy.
A Red Cross worker hands up prepared Thanksgiving dinners for linemen as they work Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, in Seaside Heights, NJ, to repair damage from Superstorm Sandy.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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