World Trade Center Relief Info Available On New Website

Attorney General Spitzer said today that a new website has been established to compile information on charitable organizations that are providing funds and other assistance to victims of the World Trade Center attack.

The website - www.wtcrelief.info - offers links to more than 180 organizations' websites. The website also, in many cases, enables the public to review a group's financial filings and other information through GuideStar, an on-line database of nonprofit organizations. It is estimated that donations to these charitable organizations now total $840 million.

"This website will be an important tool for officials of charities to find out what their peers are doing, for those looking to donate funds and for victims seeking assistance," Spitzer said. "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.

"Today's launch of the website is only a first step. Over the coming weeks, we plan to add more charities, information, and links to the site. Next week, for example, those using the site will 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."

In response to the formation of the site, Daniel Borochoff, 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."

Spitzer noted that officials in Oklahoma City have told his office that a database put together 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.

The Attorney General added that the initial database will enable all charitable groups collecting money to see for the first time whether their missions and focuses overlap or duplicate services. Following the completion of the first database, Spitzer plans to move forward with a second, confidential database that will enable charities to track what assistance victims are receiving.

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