Spitzer Announces World Trade Center Relief Information Website Lists 180 Groups
Attorney General Spitzer announced today that his office has launched a website that compiles the charities from across the country that are providing funds or relief for victims of the World Trade Center attack. It's estimated that donations to the charitable organizations now total over one billion dollars.
Some 180 organizations are listed on the site, www.wtcrelief.info. The site offers links to the various organizations' websites, and in many cases enables the public to review a group's financial filings and information through GuideStar, an on-line data base of nonprofit organizations.
Those using the site will also be able to search by category of services being provided, or punch in key words like 'mortgage payments' or 'lost wages' and be linked to groups offering such assistance.
"We believe this website will be an important tool for charities to find out what their peers are doing, for those looking to donate funds, and for victims seeking assistance," said Spitzer. "The public has opened its hearts and wallets to an unprecedented degree, we hope that this effort will help charities use this money wisely and efficiently.
"We see this website as only a first step in our efforts to help coordinate the relief efforts. Over the coming weeks we plan to add more charities, information, and links to the site. This website will enable all charitable groups collecting money to see for the first time whether their missions and focuses overlap or duplicate services."
The Attorney General's office is currently moving forward to establish a second, confidential data base that will enable charities to track what assistance victims are receiving. Spitzer noted that officials in Oklahoma City have told his office that a similar data base put together there following the bombing of the Murrah federal building was an important tool in reducing fraud and avoiding duplication of services among the 45 charitable groups that took part in relief efforts there.
In response to the formation of the site, Daniel Borochoff, the President of the American Institute of Philanthropy, a charitable watchdog group, said, "This shared informational data base is exactly what's needed at this time. It will be a useful tool to ensure that charitable groups accomplish as much as they can with the resources being donated by the public."
For those looking to donate to the relief efforts, Spitzer said, "Those looking to aid the victims should give to those groups and institutions that have impeccable reputations. The best way to ensure that the public's generosity reaches those who need help is to stick with well known groups like those affiliated with major religious groups or financial organizations."
The Attorney General's Office oversees all charities that do business in New York state.
Spitzer thanked SilverStream Software for donating their software and services for the website, Qwest Communications for housing the website free of charge and Hewlett Packard for donating the necessary hardware.