The American Red Cross (ARC), also known as The American National Red Cross, is a humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and disaster preparedness education in the United States. It is the designated US affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the United States movement to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
ARC was established in Washington, D.C. on May 21, 1881, by Clara Barton. She became its first president. Barton organized a meeting on May 12 of that year at the home of Senator Omar D. Conger (R, MI). Fifteen people were present at this first meeting, including Barton, Conger and Representative William Lawrence (R, OH) (who became the first vice-president). The first local chapter was established in 1881 at the English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Dansville at Dansville, New York.
ARC is a nationwide network of 264 chapters and 36 blood service regions. Approximately 166,000 Red Cross volunteers, including FemaCorps and AmeriCorps members, and 30,000 employees annually mobilize relief to people affected by more than 67,000 disasters, train almost 4 million people in necessary medical skills and exchange more than a million emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel and their family members. ARC is the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the US, supplying 2,600 hospitals ( approximately 39% of the US blood supply).
The charity also assists victims of international disasters and conflicts worldwide, connecting separated family members. In 2006, the organization had over $6 billion in total revenues, though revenues have fallen since Katrina. At that time, revenue from blood and blood products alone was over $2 billion - biological services generally represents about 63% of total operating expenses, though the unit often operates at a deficit.
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