Thursday, February 7, 2013

Don't believe everything you read!

(Note: This does NOT apply to the Winter Storm Warning that starts at 1am Friday. You should absolutely believe that, and prepare ahead of time.)

I am a proud graduate of a university that has a top 10 college basketball team, a team I began rooting for long before ever stepping foot on the campus as a student, and a team I follow closely to this day. Last week, social media and internet message boards were inundated with rumors that the team's star point guard was going to be suspended because of academic issues. Lo and behold, who was still in the starting lineup for Saturday's game but the star point guard. On Monday, said point guard was named the school's scholar athlete of the month. So much for the academic issues!

You may be wondering what this has to do with the Red Cross. Well, last week I was also asked by not one, but two supporters to help them respond to a viral email that had made the rounds featuring unflattering information about the Red Cross and some other non-profits.

Several inaccurate emails have been circulating for some time about the salaries of large charity CEO's, with a frequent uptick in activity during the holiday season. These emails contain inaccurate information about the compensation of the president and CEO of the American Red Cross, and in fact are wrong about the name of the Red Cross CEO. These viral emails include the name and photo of Marty J. Evans and mistakenly refer to her and her compensation as the current CEO, even though she left the Red Cross many years ago.
The president and CEO of the American Red Cross is Gail McGovern, and her base salary has remained $500,000—without any pay increase—since she joined the American Red Cross in 2008. This is considered well within the range for executives of large non-profits like the Red Cross, a $3.3 billion organization.
The American Red Cross meets all standards of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance. One of the BBB's standards for accountability is that a charity should spend at least 65 percent of total expenses on program activities. The American Red Cross vastly outperforms on this measure, spending an organization-wide average of 91 percent of every dollar raised on humanitarian services.
The Red Cross is committed to transparency; as it has for nearly the past decade, the Red Cross has posted its Form 990 in full on its public Web site,

But you don't have to take our word for it. You can also check out the independent watchdog website Charity Navigator. While you're there, you may want to check out the "facts" about the other non-profits mentioned in these emails, considering how inaccurate their Red Cross information is. Because remember, some people never let the truth get in the way of a good story!

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