Amongst many an angry post we’ve seen today about where exactly the Red Cross donations for the bushfires are headed, the team here at Glam Adelaide received an email. The email was from the Red Cross, and wanted to clarify what they were doing the donations. As we haven’t seen a single publication represent the Red Cross and their side of the story, we thought it was worth sharing their information.
Here’s what they had to say:
I want to help you clarify what we are doing with the $115 million (and counting) that people have generously given us. And to clear up misinformation circulating in the media and online.
· Every cent donated to the Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund goes to the humanitarian response to disasters in Australia this year. Obviously the vast majority will go towards the bushfires we’ve seen this summer, but I’m sure you know that bushfire season is far from over and cyclones have started to hit.
· We’ve committed $30 million right now to help people whose homes were destroyed meet immediate needs. Our emergency grants program opened two weeks ago – when we first knew we had the funds to make it happen – and as of today we’ve paid almost 700 grants which is $7 million.
· For the last few days, we’ve been paying an average of $1 million per day in grants. That’s because of the superhuman efforts of those of you who’ve been processing applications, weeding out fakes and bots, calling people to collect information, and notifying people that money is on the way.
· The rest of the money is absolutely going to help bushfire-affected communities. How exactly that happens is being informed by the communities themselves and their leaders, and guided by four independent experts – who between them have years of professional expertise and lived experience in disaster recovery. More financial assistance *is* coming, together with all of the other things people need to recover well.
· We don’t charge ‘admin fees’ on donations. But we do need systems that process grants securely and quickly. We do need office space for you to work in, and fuel for the cars, and equipment to collect information. Less than 10 cents in the dollar – probably a lot less – will go to those costs.
· Any interest earned on money in the Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund goes right back to the relief and recovery effort. We’re not using it for anything else.
· The recovery effort will take time. It will take years. It doesn’t help affected communities to give away all the money now and leave none for the hard months and years that are yet to come. That’s what every disaster-affected community we’ve worked in has told us.
You can keep track of our plans and spending at www.redcross.org.au/bushfirefunds.