Red Cross reorganizes

NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - From a nationwide reorganization, to a whole new staff at the Amarillo chapter, the Red Cross is making major changes in an effort to bring more transparency to their operations.

After last year's February wildfire donation debacle, some people remain skeptical about contributing to the organization.

But a new system will provide more clarity to donors on where exactly their money is going and will be more helpful to those in need.

All area chapters are being brought under one management structure called the North Texas Region.

The new CEO of the North Texas Region, Tracy "T.D." Smyers says, "More eyes in the organization will be looking at how things are done and how things are allocated. The way we develop funds to support disaster relief, has been strengthened and done at a level that ensures more visibility."

When a disaster happens, they say it's impossible to immediately know how much money is required, so they raise funds with the donor's knowledge it will be used where it's needed most.

Red Cross Spokeswoman Anita Foster says, "We encourage them to give those dollars to disaster relief. It's essentially our general fund that allows us to take dollars and support families where they need it most."

She explains the problem with designated donations is often a large amount of money may accumulate in a bank account for a particular cause.

But once the Red Cross is done helping those victims, the remainder of the money ends up sitting in a bank account and can't be used for victims of other disasters.

Which is exactly what happened with the funds donated to the February wildfire victims.

Foster explains, "It's not an ideal situation because it left a lot of money in a fund, when we had areas in Possum Kingdom Lake, Bastrop County, the Alabama tornadoes, the Joplin tornadoes that needed help. We don't want to find ourselves in a situation where we have money sitting in a bank account, and people suffering two counties away, because they're not in that jurisdiction."

The reorganization will also increase services for victims, because all chapters will now be supported equally with supplies and will be able to respond faster.