$22M in Haiti Texts Revive Red Cross
Fundraising bonanza hits formerly cash-strapped charity
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2010 12:23 PM CST
In a Jan. 18, 2010 photo provided by the American Red Cross, Suzanne Puzo, a Canadian Red Cross nurse, removes bandages on Danise Diverge, 10, in Croix Des Prez, Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.   (AP Photo/American Red Cross, Talia Frenkel)

(Newser) – The American Red Cross, which only a year ago turned to the government for a bailout, is now awash in donations thanks to an outpouring of generosity for the Haiti quake victims. The organization had pulled in $103 million as of late Sunday, with $22 million of that coming via text. “I need a better word than ‘unprecedented or ‘amazing’ to describe what’s happened with the text-messaging program,” a spokesman says.

All the giving comes despite controversies over the Cross’ handling of Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 attacks, when the organization struggled to distribute donations effectively, the New York Times points out. “The Red Cross is simply the default group for donors when a disaster like this occurs,” says the head of another relief organization. “They Hoover up all the private funds.” The Red Cross, aware of the controversies, is promising total transparency in Haiti.