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February 10, 2016

Red Cross Runs $159 Million Deficit as Donations Drop

With fundraising at an at least 16-year low and blood-bank revenue also falling, the American Red Cross posted $159 million deficit in the last fiscal year, ProPublica reports, citing newly released financial statements. The audited statements peg 2015 donations at $604 million, down about $120 million from the previous year and the lowest total since at least 2000, the last year for which ProPublica could obtain records. The charity’s blood-banking division lost $71 million last year.

The Red Cross has made a series of cost-cutting moves in recent years, shrinking staff and closing or merging local offices. The charity’s fundraising can swing wildly from year to year depending on whether there has been a major disaster, but there has been no such event for the past two years, ProPublica writes.

A Red Cross spokesperson declined to comment on the 2015 results. In a letter last month to U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, who is looking into the organization’s finances, Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern wrote that if major disasters are excluded, fundraising has risen by 14 percent since 2008, when she took office.