Area Red Cross CEO steps down
Resignation comes after criticism for response to Harvey
Amid scrutiny of its ability to dispense emergency services and donations after Hurricane Harvey, the American Red Cross announced Saturday evening that its Texas Gulf Coast CEO has resigned.
David Brady’s six-month tenure has come to an end just two months after Southeast Texas weathered one of its most destructive storms. However, many Gulf Coast residents are still rebuilding and relying on the Red Cross to deliver emergency relief.
The Red Cross did not disclose reasons for Brady’s departure, but Brady took to social media to fill in the gaps.
“I found myself in disagreement too often with decisions that were being made as it related to Hurricane Harvey recovery,” he wrote. “It is not fair to the organization to have a leader in this role that is filled with that much doubt. And it was not fair to me or my family to work where I am not happy and do not feel valued.”
Several other leaders in the nonprofit have also stepped down recently, including the communications officer.
In a statement issued late Saturday, the Red Cross said it’s grateful for Brady’s contributions and that the essential work of supporting families affected by Hurricane Harvey will continue just as before.
The charity said it will continue to focus on supporting long-term recovery efforts as the emergency phase of our work in Texas ends.
“The Red Cross has been on the ground in Texas since before Hurricane Harvey struck, and we will be there in the months to come, helping those affected to recover, and helping residents to build more resilient communities for the future,” according to the charity.
Marty McKellips, a veteran Red Cross executive currently heading the Central and South Texas Region, has been named interim executive to direct the region’s work, according to spokeswoman Ekland Durousseau. Challenges of Harvey
Brady took over as CEO in April, leading service delivery, fundraising and stakeholder engagement for the nonprofit known for providing shelters and feeding victims after disasters.
Prior to joining the Red Cross, he worked and the Houston Zoo. Before that he was managing director for Lone Star Sports and Entertainment, an affiliate of the Houston Texans. There he managed high-profile events and worked as the stadium announcer for the Texans.
But Brady’s biggest challenge came in late August. The Hurricane Harvey Immediate Assistance Program is the Red
“It is not fair to the organization to have a leader in this role that is filled with that much doubt.” David Brady, former Texas Gulf Coast Red Cross CEO
Cross’s costliest Harvey-related recovery effort, according to a budget breakdown provided by the charity.
As of mid-October, the Red Cross said it authorized payment of more than $190 million to more than 477,000 households — or about 54 percent of the $350 million it has raised for Harvey relief.
In August, the storm surge from Harvey brought dramatically increased water and tide levels over the Texas Coast. Instead of moving inland and farther away from the coast, Harvey stalled over South and Southeast Texas for days, producing catastrophic devastating and deadly flash and river flooding.
Southeast Texas beared the brunt of the rainfall, with many areas receiving more than 40 inches of rain in less than 48 hours, according to National Weather Service data.
The Red Cross approved millions in emergency financial assistance to thousands who needed immediate help, but the unprecedented demand challenged the Red Cross’ IT infrastructure and caused officials temporarily suspended service.
The organization purchased more bandwidth to avoid future crashes, but that was only one of many controversies to plague the Red Cross.
The nonprofit faced criticism for delays in delivering supplies to Houston area shelters, leaving one with only 200 cots for more than 2,000 people.
And a Red Cross program designed to give $400 in cash to households most affected by Hurricane Harvey faced criticism for rejecting applicants who fit the charity’s posted criteria.
Even prominent local leaders weighed in on the Red Cross’ missteps. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said he had asked a local nonprofit to set up a shelter at NRG Park because he did not have confidence the Red Cross would have the “wherewithal to do it.” ‘Inept, unorganized’
Then in early September, Houston City Councilman Dave Martin appealed to the public during a council meeting. “I beg you not to send them a penny,” he said. “They are the most inept, unorganized organization I’ve ever experienced.”
But despite the criticism, the organization said it will continue to work alongside community, government, and local partners to provide recovery support.
And Brady still has praise for the Red Cross, noting that it continues to do amazing work and has distributed more than $200 million in aid.