A specialist in dealing with events beyond its control, The American National Red Cross offers disaster relief, shelter, and other humanitarian services through more than 700 chapters nationwide. Although it was chartered by Congress in 1905, the American Red Cross isn't a government agency. The not-for-profit organization relies on the efforts of nearly a million volunteers. Aside from helping victims of about 70,000 US and foreign disasters each year, the American Red Cross teaches CPR, safety, and first aid courses; provides support for US military personnel; and maintains the largest blood and plasma banks nationwide. The group is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Bolstering its blood donor efforts, the American Red Cross acquired the red blood cell collection assets of HemaCare, a provider of blood for hospitals and researchers that has focused on growing its cell therapy collection capabilities. The deal, valued at about $3 million, included HemaCare's equipment, vehicles, business records, and inventory of blood products in Los Angeles and Maine. HemaCare also agreed to supply donor platelets to the American Red Cross.
To fund its activities, the American Red Cross relies largely on its biomedical operation, which supplies blood and blood products to some 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. Corporate, foundation, and individual donations, along with grants from organizations such as the United Way and Congress, account for most of the rest of its revenue. At the end of fiscal 2010 the organization declared that its deficit, which was $209 million in 2008 and stemmed largely from its tremendous response to Hurricane Katrina compounded by the economic recession, had been erased through cost cutting and streamlining operations. In 2010 the organization responded to 62,500 disasters, 33 of which required multiple chapters to assist; it worked in 34 countries besides the US. Home fires are the majority of disasters to which the American Red Cross responds.
In the years since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the organization has been engaged in a campaign to raise the nation's emergency preparedness, both for government agencies and for individuals. It teaches courses on CRP, first aid, care giving, disaster response, and emergency preparedness to more than 15 million each year. – less