Do you know the important facts about American Red Cross? You are likely familiar with the red cross on the white background, the symbol of the humanitarian organization. The American Red Cross is a part of the International Red Cross. The Red Cross features prominently in blood drives and disaster relief during events such as 9/11, hurricane recovery and more. But did you know that the Red Cross predominantly helps families affected by more basic disasters like house fires?
The Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton. Today we mark National American Red Cross Founder’s Day.
- We know her as Clara Barton, but her full name is Clarissa Harlowe Barton. She was named after a character from the novel Clarissa or the History of a Young Lady, which her aunt was reading when Clara was born in 1821.
- Clara grew up on a farm in Oxford, Mass. When she was six, she saw an ox slaughtered for food and was a vegetarian from thereon.
- When she was 11, her brother, David fell from the roof of their family barn. Clara was tasked with caring for and feeding him. She also leeched him twice a day for two years. It was not until a visiting doctor told them to stop leeching him that David recovered. This was Clara’s first exposure to tending for the wounded.
- When the Civil War began, she worked as a battlefield nurse. One of the soldiers to whom she tended told her, “This is the second time you saved my life.” He then explained that she had been his teacher in New Jersey. Clara risked her own life by being on the battlefield. Once, a bullet went through her sleeve and killed the soldier behind her.
- When she recommended joining the Red Cross to President Rutherford B. Hayes, he disapproved.
- However, when she suggested starting an American Red Cross to his President Chester Arthur, he loved it. Clara was named its first president in 1881. She was 59.
- The Red Cross actually provides 40% of all blood in this country and they couldn’t do it without the 2.8 million volunteers who donate 4.9 million units of blood.
- In addition to donating blood, you can also donate platelets, plasma, or do a double donation called Power Red. But definitely do it because every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood.
- In 2018, the American Red Cross responded to 62,000 disasters, most of which were house fires.
- Fairfax, Virginia is the home of their Disaster Operations Center (DOC), where they are constantly monitoring news and weather for any potential disasters.
- Today, they have a $46 million operating margin.
- 90 cents of every dollar is invested in care.
- They score 100% for transparency on Charity Navigator
- Download the American Red Cross First Aid app, which gives advice on what immediate steps to take in case of a medical emergency. They also have a Pet First Aid app!
- On average, only 3 out of 100 people donate blood.
- The average donation age is 53 years. Most states allow anyone over 17 to donate blood.
- 83% of donors are Caucasian.
- While not a government agency, 1.7% of the ARC budget is government funded to provide services to our military and their families around the world.
- The organization supports more than 1,000 organizations across the U.S.
- A goal is to have one person per American household trained in CPR and first aid.
- The Red Cross also provides CPR and first aid training courses. They also prepare families for military services and send specialists to work with disaster survivors.
- They install free smoke alarms across the country and replace dead batteries in alarms while they teach fire safety to residents.