American Red Cross Facts
Founded May 21, 1881 by Clara Barton...
The American Red Cross is a $2.3 billion corporation providing relief
to victims of disasters and helping people prevent, prepare for and
respond to emergencies. Led and supported by more than 1.3 million
volunteers, the American Red Cross is one of the largest humanitarian
organizations in the world.
American Red Cross Activities:
Blood, blood products and tissue services. The American Red
Cross is the nation's largest supplier of blood, plasma and tissue
products in the United States. The Red Cross supplies almost half of the
nation's blood supply by working with more than 4.5 million donors and
3,000 hospitals through its national network of 37 blood regions. In
addition, the Red Cross supplies one-quarter of the nation's tissue for
transplantation through its network of 15 tissue centers nationwide. The
Red Cross operates one of the world's premier blood research facilities,
the Jerome H. Holland Laboratory for the Biomedical Sciences, based in
Rockville, Md., where Red Cross researchers are engaged in cutting-edge
research to develop the next generation of blood products and services.
Each year, the Red Cross invests more than $20 million in research
activities at the Holland Laboratory and in the field. This commitment
to research and development allows the Red Cross to oversee dozens of
scientific research projects, both basic and applied, that have the
potential to improve the safety, purity and efficacy of blood.
Disaster planning, preparedness, education, mitigation and
relief. Chartered by Congress to provide voluntary relief during
times of disaster, the Red Cross is America's premier disaster relief
agency. During major disasters, the Red Cross is responsible, under the
Federal Emergency Response Plan, for providing mass care and emergency
assistance to victims. All Red Cross disaster assistance is provided
free of charge, funded by the generous contributions of the American
In 1997, the Red Cross provided immediate response to more than
61,000 domestic disasters. In 1998, the Red Cross responded to 239 major
disasters, 64 of them Presidentially declared -- including Hurricane
Georges, the single most expensive disaster in the Red Cross's 117-year
history. During a five-week period this fall, the Red Cross handled the
largest number of simultaneous major disasters in its history.
The Red Cross responded to these major disasters by opening more than
2,100 shelters housing 192,000 individuals, and providing 3.3 million
meals. Red Cross chapters also presented disaster preparedness
information to millions of Americans throughout the year.
Emergency communications and assistance to members of the Armed
Forces and their families. The Red Cross is chartered by Congress to
provide communications services to the military. Especially during
deployments, the Red Cross is often the only point of contact between
members of the armed forces and their families. Red Cross Armed Forces
Emergency Services (AFES) delivers 1.4 million emergency messages each
year--one every 22 seconds--for active duty service people and their
families. In 1998, more than 600,000 individuals and their families were
assisted by AFES, including nearly 490,000 active duty servicemen and
women and their families.
Health and safety services, including CPR, first aid, aquatics
and water safety, and HIV/AIDS education. In 1998, nearly 12 million
people enrolled in life-saving Red Cross health and safety classes. The
Red Cross currently offers more than 80 different health and safety
courses to the public. 2.5 million people received direct health
services from the Red Cross in 1998, including treatment for minor
injuries at first aid stations, immunizations and blood pressure and
International disaster relief and preparedness, tracing, support
for international humanitarian law, and national society development and
capacity building. American Red Cross International Services worked
with the national societies of the International Red Cross and Red
Crescent Movement in some 175 nations to provide relief and humanitarian
aid to those in need in 1997 alone. Through a comprehensive global
communications network, the American Red Cross helped locate, reunite
and exchange messages between people separated from their loved ones
because of war, civil disturbance or natural disaster.
Volunteer Resources. More than 1.3 million people volunteer
with the American Red Cross nationwide. The ratio of Red Cross
volunteers to paid staff is approximately 44 to 1.
Local community service programs. Red Cross chapters across
the country provide a variety of local services to millions of
individuals, including transportation for the elderly and disabled, and
special youth-at-risk and youth leadership programs.
National Facts at a Glance
Number of Red Cross chapters: 1,294
Number of Blood Services regions: 37
Number of Tissue Services centers: 15
Volunteers: 1.3 million
Paid staff: 32,500
|The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on the generosity of the American people for support.
An average of 92 cents of every dollar spent by the Red Cross goes to programs and services to help those in need.
The annual budget for the American Red Cross is $2.3 billion.|
*Based on Fiscal Year 1998 data.