After weeks of scrutiny, the American Red Cross said yesterday that all of the more than half a billion dollars raised for its Liberty Fund will go to the victims directly affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The decree came from the organization's interim CEO, Harold Decker, at a news conference held by the Red Cross in Washington.
Controversy arose last month when the Red Cross said it expected to distribute only $300 million of the $550 million donated. It said the rest of the money would be earmarked for use in case of future terrorist incidents.
However, public and governmental criticism forced the Red Cross to re-evaluate that plan.
In addition to devoting all the money to the victims of the terror attacks, Decker also confirmed that the Red Cross would participate in a charity database to keep track of disbursements of funds. Even so, the Red Cross will honor families' requests not to be included on the list.
Donations to the Red Cross normally are fed into a general fund to be used for all types of disaster relief.
Red Cross president Bernadine Healy resigned Oct. 27, citing among her complaints disagreement with the nonprofit's board of directors over how Liberty Fund funds were being spent. Healy created the Liberty Fund soon after Sept. 11.
The Liberty Fund stopped soliciting donations last month, and money received after Oct. 31 went into the general disaster relief fund unless the donor specified otherwise.