Last year's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington led to an outpouring of generosity. Millions of people across the globe expressed their concern through monetary donations for people affected by the attacks. One year later, a key charitable organization, the September 11 Fund, has released a report outlining how much of the money collected has been spent, helping more than 100,000 people.
The September 11 fund was created just hours after four hijacked planes killed more than three thousand people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
The fund raised more than half-a-billion dollars from more than two-million people and thousands of corporations in 148-countries. It includes money contributed during a September 21 telethon.
In its first yearly report, the Fund says it has distributed nearly $336 million to victims, families and communities affected by the attacks.
The fund's Executive Director, Josh Gotbaum, said the September 11 Fund supports many non-profit organizations, which offer a variety of services. "We recognize the range of needs because the victims of September 11th are not all the same. Some need cash, some need mental health counseling, some need help finding jobs, some need help with their homes, some need help with small business," he said.
Mr. Gotbaum said over 85-percent of the contributions distributed has been cash assistance to families or people directly affected by the attacks. The amount of cash assistance given ranges from $4,000 to $20,000, depending on the situation.
The reports says the fund also provided hot meals to rescue workers, a hotline to guide people through a complicated network of services, free legal advice, grants and loans to small businesses and mental health programs to children, who witnessed the attacks.
Mr. Gotbaum said because the fund coordinated its efforts with other organizations, people do not always know the money is provided by the September 11 Fund. "Most of the people who have been or are being helped by the September 11th Fund do not know it. They receive the generosity of donors through the September 11 Fund through grantees," he said. "We never never thought it was important that those who were affected and those who benefited know who is funding them."
Mr. Gotbaum said the September 11 Fund considers services provided by other charitable and government funds when it decides how to channel the donations. It also provides a mental health program with the National Red Cross, which raised the largest amount of money, a reported $1 billion dollars, for people affected by the disaster.
The September 11 Fund is the second largest fund in response to the attacks after the International Red Cross. Earlier in the year, organizers say they stopped soliciting contributions because smaller charitable groups were suffering from a drop in donations. The September 11 Fund has $170 million left to distribute.