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  Press Release



Maggie Morth
Communications Manager
The Foundation Center

Foundation Center Releases New Report on 9/11 Relief
Funds and Beneficiaries

Nearly Two-Thirds of Surveyed Funds Have
Distributed 100 Percent of Donations

New York, NY, January 7, 2004 —A recent Foundation Center survey of 111 9/11-related relief funds revealed that 64.2 percent of these organizations had planned to distribute 100 percent of the funds they raised by year-end 2003, according to the Center's new report, 9/11 Relief and Regranting Funds: A Summary Report on Funds Raised and Assistance Provided. Further, nearly all relief funds with unspent contributions have specific plans for distributing their remaining funds, such as providing long-term assistance and funding scholarships for children of victims.

The report provides an overview of the activities and beneficiaries of the funds and agencies involved in 9/11-related disaster relief and recovery, drawn from data compiled by the Foundation Center through September 2003. According to Loren Renz, the Center's vice president for research and primary author of the report, "In this phase of our initiative to create the definitive record of private philanthropy's response to September 11th, we set out to learn more about the distribution and use of donations by a diverse group of relief funds and charities. The survey allowed us to delve deeper into the purposes and practices of these organizations and to address specific questions posed by the media and the general public such as: How quickly did the funds distribute the monies they raised, and, who ultimately benefited from the philanthropic response?"

Readers will find two distinct yet complementary views of the funds within the report. In addition to the survey findings drawn from 111 large and small relief funds that are presented in part one, the second part of the report analyzes the actual donations received by 40 of the largest funds, as well as how these funds have distributed this support. Overall, excluding donations from one fund to another, these funds have raised almost $2.9 billion for relief and recovery and contributed $2.2 billion, accounting for the vast majority of dollars raised and disbursed by the more than 350 relief funds created after 9/11. The analysis provides precise breakdowns of funds distributed and estimates of unspent funds by beneficiary group and type of assistance.

Among key findings from the survey of 111 funds:

  • Beneficiary Groups Served. Most relief funds served more than one major beneficiary group. Specifically, two-thirds provided direct cash assistance and/or services to families of injured or deceased victims, while one-half supported individuals that suffered direct economic losses as a result of the attacks.

  • Types of Assistance. The types of assistance provided by the largest share of surveyed funds were direct financial aid and long-term service provision, with the latter focusing on mental health, employment, legal, health, and financial services, among others.

  • Donor Intent. 60 percent of the respondents to this survey question reported being restricted to some degree by donor intent, yet close to 22 percent said that all of the contributions they received were unrestricted.

  • Administrative Costs. The vast majority of respondents did not use donations to cover administrative costs, or these costs accounted for less than five percent of funds raised.

The survey also documents the size and geographic focus of the funds, methods of fundraising, amount distributed, methods of outreach, and disaster preparedness planning, among other findings.

In addition to the study on 9/11 Relief and Regranting Funds, the Center recently issued a second report, Giving in the Aftermath of 9/11: 2003 Update on the Foundation and Corporate Response. This new, expanded version of an earlier Center report provides an overview of 9/11 giving by foundation and corporate donors based on data compiled by the Center through September 2003. Copies of both reports can be accessed at no charge from the "Researching Philanthropy/Philanthropy's Response to 9/11" area of the Foundation Center's Web site at:


The Foundation Center's mission is to support and improve philanthropy by promoting public understanding of the field and helping grantseekers succeed. To achieve its mission, it: collects, organizes, and communicates information on U.S. philanthropy; conducts and facilitates research on trends in the field; provides education and training on the grantseeking process; and ensures public access to information and services through its World Wide Web site, print and electronic publications, five library/learning centers, and a national network of Cooperating Collections. Founded in 1956, the Center is the nation's leading authority on philanthropy and is dedicated to serving grantseekers, grantmakers, researchers, policymakers, the media, and the general public.

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