Chris Van Horne, NBCDFW.com
The American Red Cross North Texas chapter is consolidating some functions and cutting some jobs in hopes of saving money while providing the same level of service in times of crisis.
The American Red Cross North Texas chapter is undergoing a reorganization and cutting jobs, part of a national plan to eliminate a $200 million deficit within two years.
Anita Foster, the spokesperson for the Dallas Red Cross, said Texans who need and use their services should not be affected.
“One of the things we've been assured of from the beginning, is there will be a transformation within Red Cross, but the people being served won’t notice,” Foster said during an exclusive NBC 5 phone interview Wednesday afternoon.
Nationwide, the Red Cross has 35,000 employees and hundreds of thousands of volunteers assisting at more than 700 local chapters.
There was no information Wednesday about now many employees locally would be laid off as a result of the reorganization, which is in its early stages. Most of the cuts would come from office and clerical-type jobs.
“It’s different in the nonprofit sector where your employees are humanitarians,” Foster said.
The financial deficit has been attributed to several factors, including uneven fund raising. Donations typically surge during huge disasters like the earthquake in Japan, or this year’s Texas wildfires, but generally subside thereafter — and the charity has said its general disaster relief fund is low.
“The bottom line is this: We’re in a precarious situation because we have been responding for decades at a deficit budget. We can’t think we can keep doing it, and not reduce services to people,” Foster explained.
“We want to make smart decisions before it affects the services of the people in our care.”
Foster said the handwriting is on the wall. “And the handwriting says we can’t go on like we have for the past decades.”
Red Cross not only responds to thousands of natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes—it also provides services to the United States military, helps people affected by fires, assists emergency responders with mobile drink canteens, and even teaches kids how to swim.
“I can’t imagine a world without Red Cross,” Foster lamented.
Background information from a February, 2008 Associated Press article used in this report.