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Sept. 11 Fund Takes Stock after Six Months - 2002-03-06

The September 11th Fund, established to meet the needs of those individuals and communities most severely affected by last year's terrorist attacks, has released a six-month status report.

In the six-months since the terrorist attacks, the September 11th Fund, a joint venture between The New York Community Trust and the United Way, has provided $189 million in cash assistance and services to 39,000 people affected by the attacks.

An additional $15 million has gone to the recovery effort in New York and at the Pentagon, and to rebuild devastated neighborhoods. But, for fund CEO Josh Gotbaum the most important achievement is not what has been dispersed, but the $250 million it has set aside for the needs of the future.

"No one can tell you when a particular victim will realize that he is drinking a lot, and needs help. Or that a kid is truant from school a lot, and that means he or she needs help," said said Mr. Gotbaum. "And so we have not made an estimate as to when these funds will be distributed. What we have done is try to make sure that we have adequate funds available to meet these needs when they arise."

Mr. Gotbaum explains that the September 11th Fund consists of donations made by nearly two million people around the world. Financial aid and services provided by the fund are distributed in co-ordination with those provided by the government, and by other organizations such as the Red Cross.

Families who lost members in the attack have each received, on average, $20,000 from the fund.