The American Red Cross was organized (1881) by Clara Barton and received its first federal charter in 1900. In 1905, it was brought into closer relationship with the government when a new congressional charter was granted. The charter was revised in 1947. The organization, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., is supported entirely by voluntary contributions. The president of the United States is honorary chairman of the society, responsible for the appointment of its president and seven other members of its board of governors. The American Red Cross puts special emphasis on disaster relief, services to the armed forces and veterans, and public health and safety programs. The nationwide Red Cross blood program is a comprehensive system designed to collect, store, treat, and distribute blood and blood products to the ill and injured throughout the United States (see blood bank).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.