Northeast Ohio’s Mabel Boardman built strong foundation for today’s Red Cross

Women’s History Month profile of Clara Barton’s successor

By: Olivia Wyles, American Red Cross Volunteer

March is recognized not only as Red Cross Month, but also as Women’s History Month, and the Red Cross has a powerhouse of a woman to recognize. One of Northeast Ohio’s very own, Mabel Boardman, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1860 and passed away from coronary thrombosis in 1946. During her 86 years of life, Mabel lived an exciting and innovative life, with much of the fruits of her labor being the development of the sturdy framework that the Red Cross has today.

Mabel Boardman served with numerous social philanthropies throughout her life, one of which was serving on the executive committee of the Red Cross. After Clara Barton’s resignation in 1904, the Red Cross received a formal federal charter under President Woodrow Wilson, and although Boardman’s name was listed on the list of incorporators, she claims to have never given her consent. She was commonly referred to as the “administrative genius” of the Red Cross and was the acting leader of the organization, but she humbly refused any formal recognitions because of her fear that having a woman as a leader would harm the public’s confidence in the organization and diminish its credibility.

Mabel Boardman

The achievements that Boardman spearheaded for the Red Cross are numerous, but one of the most notable is that she was able to establish a large, permanent endowment fund for the organization that would give it a strong, reliable financial foundation for the future. In addition, she established Red Cross branches across the country, which directly impacted the global presence that the organization would come to have. Boardman established cooperation with other groups, like the American Nursing Association, that resulted in improved services, and she also developed the readiness of the Red Cross to respond quickly to disasters. Boardman organized the Volunteer Special Services division and served as the director in 1923 and retired 17 years later in 1940 after the membership roll in Volunteer Services reached 2.72 million.

Much of the Red Cross’ successes and developments can be traced back to Boardman and her ability to transform a 300-member society into an innovative and flourishing institution with over 29 million junior and senior members. She received the first Distinguished Service Medal ever awarded by the Red Cross. She definitely wins our vote to be recognized as a notable Northeast Ohio woman this Women’s History Month.

Edited by: Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer

Celebrating Red Cross Month: Volunteer shares reasons why role is fulfilling, invites others to join

By Chris Chmura, American Red Cross volunteer

Throughout the month of March, we honor people like you who make the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross possible — the individuals across the country who turn compassion into action, helping others in times of crisis. Our Red Cross Month celebration has been an annual tradition since 1943, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the first Red Cross Month proclamation.

 My Volunteer Story

For close to a year, I have been an American Red Cross Transportation Specialist. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically challenged all of us in our daily lives but has also resulted in many learning what is important in their personal lives—family, friends and local communities. I was searching for a way to give back with the extra time I had during the stay-at-home orders. The Transportation Specialist role was a great match.

Volunteer Transportation Specialists deliver lifesaving blood products from Red Cross distribution facilities to hospitals, using a Red Cross-owned vehicle. Simply put, you pick up processed blood at a distribution center, drive it to assigned hospitals and return to drop off empty boxes that you collect.

Chris Chmura delivers blood to a local hospital in his role as a volunteer transportation specialist with the American Red Cross.

My commitment is two to four shifts per month (or more if I can) based on my personal and professional schedule. Typical shifts are about four hours, so I usually schedule to cover routes in the evening /night after work. The Red Cross offers training online and then time spent with a veteran driver to shadow a few days. The amazing employees at the Red Cross support you by answering questions, helping to work with your schedule and steer you in the right direction as you learn your role.  

A few reasons I enjoy the role:

  • My day job is not in the medical field, and I find visiting the Red Cross lab and various hospitals interesting to learn about. You get to experience “behind the scenes” how the Red Cross collects donated blood, how they prepare it for hospitals and see first-hand who it goes to. My favorite route is delivering to Akron Children’s Hospital.
  • You feel a pride and satisfaction volunteering.
  • When I donate blood, I feel a connection to the group who supports the whole process.
  • Other volunteers are welcoming, fun to connect with and build relationships with.
  • I enjoy meeting various people throughout the Red Cross and hospitals that I visit across Northeast Ohio.
  • A large percentage of my time volunteering is drive time, so I relax by listening to podcasts, sports radio or music. 

 Is this Position for You?

Do you enjoy helping your neighbors, giving back to your community and want to enhance your life by using your talents? The Transportation Specialist position might be a good fit for you. You will also need to meet these qualifications to become one:

  • Have a valid state driver’s license and proof of insurance
  • Have three years driving experience and a clean driving record
  • Ability to lift up to 45 lbs.

Check out more details here: https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/volunteer-opportunities/deliver-blood.html.

The Men and Women Behind Our Mission

 We invite you and others to join the Red Cross mission by volunteering, giving blood, learning lifesaving skills or making a financial donation. We are ordinary individuals with the innate desire to do extraordinary things. Red Cross staff and volunteers bring their diverse backgrounds and skills to the table, united by the passion we share for our mission—to prevent and alleviate suffering in the face of emergencies.

 Safety First!

Interested in serving to meet essential service needs in the public? Be sure to review the CDC guidance for people who are at higher risk for severe illness, consult your health care provider and follow local guidance. The number one priority of the American Red Cross is the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, blood donors and recipients, and the people we serve. 

Blood Donations

Don’t forget to donate blood! You don’t need a special reason to give blood. You just need your own reason.

  • Some of us give blood because we were asked by a friend.
  • Some know that a family member or a friend might need blood someday.
  • Some believe it is the right thing to do.
  • Some do it for the free cookies and juice.

To find a blood drive near you, visit https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive.

Everyone can experience and enjoy the great feeling of helping save lives!

When the world stopped, the Red Cross didn’t

Reflections on the response to the pandemic on the one-year anniversary

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

March 2020 would prove to be one of my most memorable volunteer months with the American Red Cross. Within weeks, the world began to see signs like this everywhere.

Everywhere, except at the Red Cross.

Let’s go back to March 1, 2020. This was the day the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the United States, in New York. By then, we had heard about the 400 Americans trapped on a ship in Japan, but we didn’t really consider that the virus was a U.S. problem at the time.

Two days later, everyone forgot about that story when multiple tornadoes ripped through central Tennessee, killing at least 25 people. I recall getting the call that morning and leaving immediately for Nashville to cover the details of the cleanup effort, the sheltering and feeding of hundreds of now homeless people and the mobilization of hundreds of truckloads of supplies.

As I drove home on March 10, New York Governor Cuomo had called on the National Guard to stop traffic around New Rochelle, where 108 cases had been discovered. COVID-19 was now a United States problem.

Just one day later, March 11, the WHO (World Health Organization) would declare this to be an official pandemic with more than 120,000 cases worldwide. That started a landslide of events, and before day’s end:

  • The NBA suspended the 2019-20 season until further notice
  • The NHL paused its 2019-20 season
  • The Dow Jones Industrial 30-day average plunged 20%, ending an 11-year bull market

But what didn’t come crashing to a stop…the Red Cross. 

That same day, President of the American Red Cross Gail McGovern, issued a long memo to all Red Cross volunteers.

In it, she detailed how we would be making all sorts of changes to our day-to-day operations, but what would not change, was our mission to deliver services to those in need.

Blood drives needed to be rescheduled as many businesses closed down, but the need for blood didn’t slow down. By finding larger venues where people could be scheduled and kept socially distanced, the flow of blood continued.

Fires and disasters didn’t stop, but our Humanitarian Services division devised new ways to house people in motels instead of congregate shelters, and our Disaster Action Teams learned to respond virtually using electronic funds transfers to get money quickly into the hands of those left homeless from fires and floods. 

As the rest of the world came to a virtual standstill one year ago today, the Red Cross quickly pivoted to maintain our services to those most in need. If you’d like to help, consider becoming a volunteer or make a contribution to the Red Cross to support our ongoing mission to alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. 

Edited by Glenda Bogar, Red Cross Volunteer

Caring for our troops never gets old…even after 140 years

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

While not as high profile as conducting blood drives and setting up disaster shelters, the American Red Cross’ origin was taking care of military personnel.  Clara Barton, who founded the Red Cross, made a name for herself by her heroic volunteer efforts comforting and providing assistance to fallen soldiers during the Civil War.

Even now, as we celebrate Red Cross Month, Service to the Armed Forces is still a key pillar of the five service branches of the Red Cross. Not only do we care for the troops, but the Red Cross provides an indispensable range of services for the families of the servicepeople while deployed…and afterwards.

Worldwide Effort

The Red Cross provides 24/7/365 emergency communication services for military personnel and their families, no matter where on the globe they might be located. In addition:

The Commitment Never Ends

Since 9/11, the Red Cross has cared for more than one million military families. Today, we continue to provide support for those families before, during and after deployment. 

Besides emergency communications while deployed, military members and their families benefit from information referrals, some financial assistance, and other non-emergency resources.

“The Red Cross helps members of the military, veterans and their families in a wide variety of ways,” said Jessica Tischler, Regional Service to the Armed Forces Program Director.  “And we are continuing to provide services, thanks to our volunteer caseworkers, despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic.”

During Red Cross Month, download the free Hero Care App (for both iOS and Android) to learn more about the services available, consider helping us with this work as a volunteer, or make a contribution to the Red Cross to help with this continuing need.  

March is Red Cross Month because #HelpCantWait

By: Eilene Guy, American Red Cross volunteer

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed March “Red Cross Month” in 1943, he called on Americans to join a movement that was providing vital services to the nation’s war effort.

“I request that during that month (March) our people rededicate themselves to the splendid aims and activities of the Red Cross,” FDR declared.

During World War II alone, the American Red Cross recruited more than 104,000 nurses for the armed forces and sent more than 300,000 tons of supplies overseas. It launched a national blood donation program to support U.S. armed forces; by the end of the war, it had collected more than 13 million pints of lifesaving blood!

FDR knew the Red Cross could muster Americans for a heroic cause.

That’s still true today, because #HelpCantWait.

As COVID-19 continues to upend our lives, families across the country rely on the Red Cross for lifesaving blood, comfort and care after disasters, support for the military and veterans, and lifesaving training and preparedness skills.

With nearly 140 years of experience under its belt, the Red Cross knows how to pivot to meet unprecedented challenges – and this past year has been no exception.

New guidelines are in place to ensure the safety of Red Crossers – 90% of them volunteers – as well as those receiving services. And Americans have stepped up, just as they did in FDR’s time: Last year, more than 70,000 people across the country became new Red Cross volunteers, including more than 550 in Northern Ohio.

And we still need more folks to join us.

“We have plenty of opportunities for blood donor ambassadors to greet donors, take their temperatures and brief them on how to donate safely,” said Gail Wernick, who heads up volunteer services for the Red Cross in northern Ohio.

“And we need more blood transportation specialists to drive blood products from collection sites to our processing labs or to hospitals where patients need them.”

Unfortunately, there’s never a break from home fires and other local disasters, so the Red Cross is always looking to train more Disaster Action Team members to provide comfort and care to those in distress. Now, that’s being done virtually so volunteers can “respond” from the safety of their own homes.

August 30, 2020. Cameron, Louisiana Pamela Harris of the American Red Cross looks out on a home destroyed by Hurricane Laura in Cameron Parish, LA, one of the hardest hit areas, on Sunday, August 30, 2020. Photo by Scott Dalton/American Red Cross

Hero Care caseworker volunteers also help from home, fielding calls from military and veterans’ families for Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces aid.

March is the ideal time to step up and “do your bit” as we all battle through this coronavirus siege. If you’re healthy, there’s no better feeling than giving the gift of life with a blood donation. Those who have recovered from COVID-19 are especially needed for their convalescent plasma, which is being used to treat acute COVID cases.

March 31, 2020. Washington, DC Blood donation at Dr. Charles Drew Donation Center during COVID-19. Photo by Jeanette Ortiz-Osorio/American Red Cross

If you can’t give time or blood, you can support Red Cross disaster relief activities financially on Giving Day, March 24. Every eight minutes, the Red Cross responds to a home fire or other disaster. A gift of $95, for example, will feed a family of three for a day and provide blankets and other essentials when they need them most.

To learn more about volunteering here in northern Ohio, reach out to Melanie Collins at melanie.collins4@redcross.org or 330-204-6615. To schedule a blood donation, check out redcross.org/blood or download the free Red Cross blood app from your app store. And to make a financial gift, go to redcross.org/donate or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

Northeast Ohio Region weekend disaster report: February 28-March 1, 2020

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

March 2, 2020-  To kickoff March is Red Cross Month, the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio responded to 11 separate local disasters, including several home fires across the region.

California Wildfires 2019

As the calendar changed from February to March, Disaster Action Team members assisted 45 individuals in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Summit, Tuscarawas and Wayne counties. The Red Cross also provided more than $9,000 in immediate financial assistance.

In 2014, the Red Cross launched the Home Fire Campaign, a nationwide initiative to reduce the number of fire-related deaths by 25 percent. As of the current date, 715 lives have been saved across the country through the Home Fire Campaign, including 15 in Northeast Ohio.

DAT home fire responses Atlanta, Georgia video screenshots 2019

As part of the Home Fire Campaign, the Red Cross will be installing smoke alarms in communities across the country from April 18 to May 3 during an initiative called Sound the Alarm, Save a Life. In just six years, our home visits have accomplished so much, including the installation of more than 2 million smoke alarms.

Watch below to hear Doreen and Lial McCullough story to learn how a smoked alarm saved their lives during a home fire:

For more information on Sound the Alarm and to sign up to volunteer at a smoke alarm installation event near you, visit SoundTheAlarm.org.

March is Red Cross Month

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

February 28, 2020- You’ve probably seen the American Red Cross blood drive signs across town, and you’ve probably passed a Red Cross vehicle or two recently. But did you know that March is Red Cross Month?

The first nationally proclaimed Red Cross Month was the idea of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943. He said, “I request that during that month (March) our people rededicate themselves to the splendid aims and activities of the Red Cross.” It’s been remembered each year since.

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Every day the Red Cross answers the calls from those in need in many ways. Our blood collection unit supplies about 40% of the blood requirements of the United States. Each unit of blood can save as many as three lives.

Our Service to the Armed Forces unit helps military members, veterans and their families in many ways, including making contact military members when there is a family emergency.

Our disaster services team responds to local, national and international emergencies. Regionally, we respond to an average of three home fires every 24 hours.

What most people don’t realize is that the Red Cross is a charitable organization, not a government agency. It depends on volunteers and the generosity of people like you to perform our mission. Another interesting fact is that the Red Cross is part of the world’s largest volunteer network, found in 187 counties.

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WWFDRS?  (What would FDR say?)

His idea was for everyone to adopt the aim and activities of the Red Cross. For some, that might mean a donation if they don’t have time to serve. You can always make a donation here.

But if you really want to make a difference, consider volunteering. It will make a difference in someone else’s life as well as your own. There’s no better feeling than being able to assist someone when they are at their lowest hour.

Volunteer opportunities exist now for many talents. But we are especially in need of people to:

1) Join the Disaster Action Team, which goes out in pairs after a local fire or flood to provide financial and emotional support.

2) Become a Home Fire Campaign volunteer to spend an afternoon assisting with the installation of free smoke alarms in local neighborhoods.

3) Serve as drivers to Transport Blood products from blood drives to our main office and then to hospitals. Clean driving record needed. Vehicles provided.

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There’s no experience needed for any of these positions, and they can be done by the young as well as the young-at-heart. Hours are flexible and all training is provided. Make FDR proud, and consider joining our mission to alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer 

Don’t assume you can’t donate blood

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

“You can’t do that!”

He heard it more than once, from more than one well-wishing, but uninformed friend and acquaintance.

Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell represents Ward 9, including Glenville and part of University Circle, north of Euclid Avenue. Honored in Washington as National Father of the Year, Conwell has served on City Council since 2001.

Conwell was a frequent blood donor, repeatedly donating since 2004. “I would donate as often as I could,” said Conwell. “We often held blood drives right in the lobby of city hall, that made it easy for us to donate.”

Then Conwell was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2013. With quick detection of the cancer, and treatment at the Cleveland Clinic, Conwell kicked the disease and has been cancer-free for a number of years.

“When I talked about donating again, friends would repeatedly tell me, ‘You can’t donate blood after receiving chemotherapy. There’s no way.’”

Then Conway got a phone call from the American Red Cross, asking if they could schedule a blood donation for him.

“You don’t want my blood,” he said. “I’ve had chemo treatments for colon cancer.”

“Are you still receiving chemo treatments?” the operator asked.

“No, I’ve been done with those for a couple years,” Conway replied.

“Well, good then. Let me make you an appointment. You are clear to donate,” explained the operator.

And he did. And he continues to donate.

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“I tell everyone I talk to at City Council that ‘Yes, you can donate after colon cancer.’ They are usually surprised.”

_ _ _ _ _

It’s a common misconception that certain infections, afflictions or diseases will disqualify you from donating. But don’t assume. There’s an easy way to find out for sure.

Call the Red Cross Donor Suitability line at 1-866-236-3276. Tell them any health concerns you have, and a trained professional will be able to tell you whether you can donate today or if maybe you need to wait a certain amount of time before you donate.

There’s a severe shortage of blood and platelets this year. With the severe winter weather we experienced, many blood drives had to be canceled. Even before that, there was a great demand for blood following many of the national disasters late last year.

Make the call. Only about 40 percent of the population can donate, and merely 10 percent of them actually do.

Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Editor’s note: Councilman Conwell’s story has been shared on the national Red Cross website, with the hope of reaching a wider audience with his message.  You can access the story here. 

March is Red Cross Month: Highlighting the impact of the Red Cross in Northeast Ohio and beyond

February 28, 2019—March is Red Cross Month, and the American Red Cross asks everyone to be a hero in their community by becoming a volunteer, learning lifesaving skills, giving blood or donating to #help1family on Red Cross Giving Day, March 27.

The need to help people is constant—and the past year of busy disaster activity was no exception. For 324 consecutive days, more than 43,000 people relied on the Red Cross for emergency shelter following events like record wildfires, hurricanes, floods and large apartment fires. From April 2018 to February 2019, more than 11,500 Red Cross volunteers left the comfort of their own homes to provide comfort, care and a safe place to sleep for tens of thousands affected by disasters.

Disatser Stats- FBDuring that period of devastating disaster, the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio had 150 disaster volunteers deployed across the country, assisting residents in need and helping spread the Red Cross story, including Doug Bardwell, who was deployed for the first time and was sent to the Camp Fire disaster in California as a public affairs volunteer.

“During Red Cross Month, we honor the volunteer heroes who help families overcome life’s emergencies every day,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “These champions are our neighbors—ordinary people who make an extraordinary difference to ease the suffering of others, whether it’s saving a person’s life with CPR, donating blood for a hospital patient with life-threatening conditions, or comforting a family overwhelmed by a home fire or other crisis. We ask you to consider joining these heroes to answer the call for service in your community.”

WHAT IS RED CROSS MONTH More than 75 years ago, March was first proclaimed Red Cross Month in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to raise awareness of the organization and its humanitarian mission. All U.S. presidents since Roosevelt have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the American Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world through its workforce powered by more than 90 percent volunteers.

EVERY EIGHT MINUTES, SOMEONE NEEDS HELP The Red Cross responds to more than 62,000 disasters a year, most of which are home fires. In January alone, Red Cross volunteers helped about 24,000 people affected by more than 5,700 home fires across every state.

Disasters can cause other critical needs too. This winter, thousands of blood donations have gone uncollected due to snow storms and extreme cold—underscoring the constant need for eligible individuals to donate blood.

‘VOLUNTEERING WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE’ Joe Apicelli is among the nearly 372,000 individuals who volunteer with the American Red Cross. Following a massive hurricane more than a decade ago, he was inspired to respond with his local chapter upon seeing heartbreaking images of the storm’s aftermath. Ever since, Apicelli has helped people affected by disasters, including last year’s record wildfires in California and Hurricanes Florence and Michael.207701-05-Giving-Day-2019-Social-Media-1200x1200-FB2

“Volunteering will change your life. It will give you an opportunity to work with people from all over the country and change up your lifestyle,” Apicelli said. “If you want to reach out and help others, volunteer and see the difference it can make in your life. I am honored every time I get to work with my fellow Red Crossers. These are people who have given up their vacation and free time to help others.”

HOW YOU CAN #HELP1FAMILY Learn more about how you can help in your area by contacting your local Red Cross chapter or visiting redcross.org/neo:

  • Become a volunteer: Help families affected by disasters and install lifesaving smoke alarms to keep neighbors safe from home fires. In some areas, you can also provide emergency assistance for military members and veterans, or help reconnect families separated by international conflict.
  • Give blood: Make an appointment to donate lifesaving blood or platelets.
  • Learn lifesaving skills: Register for a class to learn first aid, CPR and other skills.
  • Make a financial donation: On March 27—American Red Cross Giving Day—donate at redcross.org/givingdayuniting with thousands of people like you to help families during the first devastating hours of a disaster. Your gift can provide hope and urgent relief like food, shelter and other essentials for families who need it most.

Below is a video explaining the Red Cross’ history and how your support this March impacts your local community here in Northeast Ohio.

 

March is Red Cross Month

Cleveland Mayor Issues Proclamation; Terminal Tower Bathed in Red

giving_day_thank_you_b_1200x1200_final1We at the American Red Cross are recognizing the country’s everyday heroes during Red Cross Month.

March is Red Cross Month, the perfect time to honor our Red Cross volunteers, blood donors and financial contributors who bring hope to people facing life’s emergencies,” said Mike Parks, CEO, Northeast Ohio Region.  “During Red Cross Month, we thank them for their tremendous support.”

March has been recognized as Red Cross Month for more than 70 years. All of our presidents have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the American Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has issued a proclamation recognizing March as Red Cross Month as well.

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And the iconic Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland was bathed in red light to mark the start of Red Cross month on March 1st.

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Volunteers and staff members in Tremont, with the Terminal Tower in the background.  The building was lit in red to recognize March as Red Cross Month.    Photo credit: Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross Volunteer

The Red Cross depends on local heroes to fulfill its mission. Every eight minutes, Red Cross disaster workers respond to a community disaster, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. We provide 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families at home and around the world. Nearly 14,000 donations of blood must be collected every day to meet patient needs. We train millions of people in first aid, water safety and other lifesaving skills. And we support the vaccination of children around the globe against measles and rubella.

In fiscal year 2016, the Northeast Ohio Region responded to 967 local emergencies, assisted 1,641 members of the military and their families and trained 64,598 people in lifesaving skills. And people from this area donated 144,089 units of blood.

“It’s easy to become a Red Cross community hero,” said Parks. “Be ready for an emergency by creating a preparedness plan for your home. Test your smoke alarms and tell your neighbors to do the same. Or sign up to be a Red Cross volunteer or make a financial donation.”

More information about how people can support the organization is available on redcross.org/neo. The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs.