- The Washington Times - Friday, November 2, 2001

A congressional committee said yesterday that it will hold a hearing next week reviewing the handling of September 11 charitable giving.
The House Ways and Means subcommittee on oversight scheduled the hearing for Nov. 8.
Meanwhile, in New York, sponsors of the Oct. 20 celebrity concert announced that more than $30 million was raised for the Robin Hood Relief Fund.
The all-star benefit, which featured Paul McCartney and Elton John, ranks as the highest-grossing concert at Madison Square Garden, according to a statement yesterday by Cablevision Systems Corp., VH1, Miramax Films and America Online.
"We're delighted the concert has raised such an amazing amount of money," said Anna Byng, spokeswoman for the Robin Hood Relief Fund.
Already, she said, the fund has provided $4.75 million in emergency grants to low-income people affected by the terror attack, as well as families of police, fire and rescue workers.
More disbursement decisions will be made today at a board meeting, she added.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy said in this week's issue that more than $1.13 billion has been raised for relief and recovery efforts.
Nearly half $505 million went to the American Red Cross, which earlier this week said it was no longer accepting donations related to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Other major recipients were the September 11th Fund, with $354 million; the Salvation Army, with $50 million; Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, with $10 million; and Catholic Charities, with $8 million, the Chronicle said.
Public questions about how the charity is being spent have prompted the congressional hearing. Representatives from the Internal Revenue Service, the New York Attorney General's Office, charity watchdog groups and leading charitable organizations are expected to testify.
"I want to believe that if a person gives money to help another through a charitable organization that money should end up as quickly as possible in the hands of the one who needs it," said Rep. Amo Houghton, New York Republican and chairman of the subcommittee.
Also in New York yesterday, the 23-member board overseeing the September 11th Fund met for the first time. Earlier this week, the fund announced a second round of grants, bringing its total amount of disbursements so far to $34.4 million.
This included $17.7 million for groups that give cash assistance to victims' families and $8.9 million for groups that will issue grants and loans to nonprofits and other businesses affected by the terror attack.
Another $8 million has gone for disaster reimbursement, victim support services, mental health and counseling services, and rescue and recovery assistance.
Recipients included the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, which got $57,575 to help with financial and legal needs of families of maintenance and restaurant workers who were killed in the attack, to God's Love We Deliver, which received $37,870 to provide meals to emergency personnel.
The September 11th Fund, which was created by the United Way of New York City and the New York Community Trust, is the steward of $150 million raised Sept. 21 in a celebrity telethon.


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