September 11: Interim Report on the Response of Charities, Report to the Honorable Charles E. Grassley, Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate   [open pdf - 310KB]

Some surveys suggest that as many as two-thirds of American households have donated money to charitable organizations in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11. Although it may be difficult to precisely tally the amount of money raised, 34 of the larger charities have reported raising an estimated $2.4 billion since September 11. Charities reported distributing these funds for a broad range of assistance to the families of those killed or injured, for those more indirectly affected through the loss of their jobs or homes, and for disaster relief workers. To distribute aid, charities had to make extensive efforts to identify victims and survivors as there were no uniform contact lists for families of victims; charity officials also said privacy issues affected the sharing of information among charities. Charities, government agencies, watchdog groups, and survivors' organizations reported to GAO lessons learned about how to improve the charitable aid process in future disasters. First, good information about and easy access to available assistance could help survivors in the recovery process. Next, public and private agencies could better assist survivors by coordinating and sharing information with each other. Further, public education could clarify charities' role in disasters and help maintain the public's confidence in charities. Finally, planning for the role of charitable aid in disasters could aid the recovery process for individuals and communities.

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Public Domain
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Government Accountability Office (GAO): http://www.gao.gov/
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