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Cultural Assessment of the American Red Cross

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Essay title: Cultural Assessment of the American Red Cross

Abstract

A cultural assessment of the American Red Cross (ARC) is presented. Research was conducted via the World Wide Web, article review, site assessment, and interview of a key official within the organization. The ARC was found to have strong ethical values and a mission which incorporates resources across our great nation. The ARC takes pride in being “America’s most trusted charity.” The culture of the organization is strong while also being able to allow the organization to be adaptable and ready to mobilize when crisis occurs. The ARC takes a strong role in preventative measures and strives to be on the cutting edge of technological advances.

Cultural Assessment of The American Red Cross

The American Red Cross (ARC) has several statements prevalent to the organization. Several words used throughout their literature and promotional materials provide insight into the culture of the organization. The first statement prevalent on their web page, http://www.redcross.org, is “Together, we can save a life.” The ARC is a diverse organization, serving humanity and helping by providing relief to victims of disaster both locally and globally. The ARC’s Mission Statement is: The ARC, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers, guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. These statements and descriptors suggest that the ARC has a strong organizational culture, and that its mission is something that the vast majority of its workers, volunteers and public at large can identify with.

The American Red Cross provides services both home and abroad. The Mid-South Chapter is located at 1400 Central Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104. The building appeared old, but workable. The windows are protected with a covering of crosses made of metal. The screens around the back of the building were pulling away from the windows and in poor condition. There were 4 new disaster vehicles located in the parking lot. The building is in an older part of the city, making it accessible to lower income families lacking transportation. The building portrays a no frills organization. Being a charitable organization, this would be inline with using funds to help others, rather than being wasteful. The condition of the emergency vehicles suggests that the organization places great pride in being timely and efficient in the delivery of services to people at remote locations.

The American Red Cross refers to itself as “America’s most trusted charity.” Their website states they need the support of compassionate Americans to succeed. The Red Cross is a symbol of neutrality and has been used by national relief societies since October 1863. The Red Cross is neutral and impartial. There are seven Fundamental Principles of The International Red Cross and The Red Crescent Movement. They are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality. These are all noble values. The organization demonstrated its dedication to trust following the September 11th disaster. At that time, the people donated an overwhelming amount of money. When the money was not being utilized solely for the disaster victims, and appeals for additional blood supply made by the ARC were unnecessarily sought, the result was the forced resignation of Bernadine Healy due to being at odds with other leaders of the organization on major policy issues (Greenberg, 2001).

The American Red Cross provides training in Family Disaster Training, Emergency and Evacuation Planning, and Senior and Child Safety. There has been an initiative since 1989 to provide Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Services programs to assist disaster victims, workers, and their families with mental health issues related to the stressors of disastrous times. The ARC appears to value all volunteers equally. During the launching of the Disaster Mental Health Services, the ARC provided training

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