9/11 A Decade Later: Non-Profits Adapt To Changing Times, Needs
In the wake of the September 11th attacks, many non-profits and funds were set up to distribute resources to victims' families and assist others who were affected. NY1's Anthony Pascale takes a look at how some organizations born out of the attacks have fared over the past decade.
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In the days after the September 11th terrorist attacks, residents found a sense of unity in service. Hundreds of new non-profits and charitable organizations were formed to help those affected. World Cares Center, and its September Space, did just that.
"It was a tragic, horrific thing that happened to us in New York City and at the Pentagon. But out of that came a beautiful, caring people," said World Cares Executive Director Lisa Orloff in a 2002 interview with NY1.
September Space, which served as a community center for 9/11 volunteers, closed in 2008. That’s when World Cares turned to a new mission: preparing communities to help themselves in case of a disaster.
“It’s really about empowering the communities to be prepared and responsive on their own so that they are ready when something happens and they are not waiting for help," Orloff said.
NYU Public Service Professor Paul Light says many small non-profits born out of 9/11 were unable to stay afloat.
“You have a lot of the smaller non-profits that did their work and went out of business," Light said.
Some organizations found a way to stay in business and support their cause, like the September 11th Families Association. President Lee Ielpi lost his firefighter son, Jonathan, in the attacks. He created the Tribute WTC Visitors Center near the site, where visitors can pay $15 to visit a gallery and go on a walking tour to learn about the attacks.
“We realized that we had a large number of people coming down here and they didn’t know where they were. Where were the towers? How tall were they? How many people died? Ielpi said. "The thought was to be the voice of those people who can’t speak anymore, and we do it through the volunteers."
With an expertise in not-for-profits, Jack Krauskopf of the CUNY Baruch School of Public Affairs explains that the September 11th Fund followed a more traditional trajectory. The Fund raised over $534 million to help those affected by 9/11 with mental health services and job training, and ultimately closed in 2004.
“They performed their mission and felt they had completed their work," Krauskopf said.
And while critics say contributors might better serve those in need by supporting established organizations like the Red Cross, Krauskopf argues that even the smaller, newer organizations can make a difference.