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How AT&T Execs Took Over the Red Cross and Hurt its Ability to Help People

Stashed in: Business Facts, Leadership!, FAIL, life, Philanthropy!, Philanthropy, Refugees United, Interesting Tidbits

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Maybe staffing up the leadership of a well-respected charity with execs picked from a fat, moribund telco is not the optimum strategy? Just spitballin' here, Red Cross board!

Yeah, this is truly dreadful:

This year, the Red Cross quietly made cuts in the formula it uses to determine cash benefits to victims of home fires and other disasters. A family of four whose home burned down previously could have received around $900 in immediate assistance. Now they would get a maximum of $500.

Over the past two years, ProPublica and NPR have examined the charity’s flawed responses to major disasters, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and Superstorm Sandy in 2012. A broader look at McGovern’s seven years as chief executive shows her team has repeatedly fallen short of its own goals to secure the organization’s financial future and improve its delivery of disaster services.

McGovern declared in August 2013 — her fifth anniversary on the job — that she had executed a “turnaround” that made the Red Cross a “financially stable’’ organization with balanced budgets in three of the previous four years.

Behind the scenes, however, losses were mounting. The organization ran a $70 million deficit that same fiscal year and has been in the red ever since. Internal projections say the charity will not break even before 2017.

As part of her effort to run the Red Cross more like a business, McGovern recruited more than 10 former AT&T executives to top positions. The move stirred resentment inside the organization, with some longtime Red Cross hands referring to the charity as the “AT&T retirement program.’’ 

McGovern laid out a vision to increase revenue through “consolidated, powerful, breathtaking marketing.”

“This is a brand to die for,” she often said.

Her team unveiled a five-year blueprint in 2011 that called for expanding the charity’s revenue from $3 billion to $4 billion. In fact, Red Cross receipts have dropped since then and fell below their 2011 level last year.

I can't say I know the truth.  Usually there is more than one truth in a story or situation.  I was appalled when I read this posting and checked in with someone I know inside the Red's what came back:

Yes, I had already seen it, and it’s half-baked and filled with distorted facts. The official statement from the American Red Cross is as follows:

“ProPublica profile on Gail McGovern

During her seven years of service as President and CEO of the American Red Cross, Gail McGovern has worked tirelessly to ensure that this critical humanitarian organization is always there for people in need.

She has used her finance and management skills to bring the Red Cross back from the brink of serious challenges she inherited and has set the Red Cross on the path to financial stability. To ensure it is a good steward of donor dollars, she cut management and general overhead almost in half, but not at the expense of delivering the Red Cross mission every day, and providing extensive services to those in need. For example:

  *   Financial support to victims of home fires and other local disasters has gone up every year for the past three years, including the overall funding and number of cases served;

  *   A new campaign was launched in 2014 to prevent home fires, resulting in the installation to date of more than 215,000 free smoke alarms in nearly 2,600 communities, saving at least 32 lives; and

  *   The American Red Cross continues to respond to nearly 70,000 disasters every year in communities at home and around the world. In 2015, the Red Cross provided more than 34,000 overnight shelter stays, served more than 1.1 million meals and snacks, and responded to more large-scale U.S. disasters than it has in each of the past three years.

Also, McGovern has worked to right-size the Red Cross’ blood operations in light of a significant decline in the demand for blood products, which has led to rapidly declining revenues affecting the entire industry. She has done this without risking the ability of the Red Cross to collect approximately 14,000 units of blood each day to meet the needs of patients across the country.

Under Gail’s leadership, the Red Cross has used new technology to reach more people than ever before with lifesaving information, including a series of award-winning free apps which have been downloaded more than seven million times in the U.S. and translated into 30 languages.

The American Red Cross is stronger today due to McGovern’s efforts in partnership with an amazing team of employees, volunteers, and donors.  She is a humanitarian who cares deeply about the people we serve – never forgetting that we are able to do so because of the generosity of our donors, volunteers, partners and the American public.

To read a letter from the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross, click here<>.

To read more about McGovern’s accomplishments at the Red Cross, click here<>.

To read more about how we help people after disasters including financial assistance, click here<>.”

Chuk, I hope that helps set the record straight. 

(....for you to decide what your own truth is....or dig deeper.  cc)

Perhaps both stories have elements of truth?'s usually the case.....elements of the same truth and different truths about the same elements... the very least....

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