September 9, 2011

Remembering the September 11th Children’s Fund

Author National Philanthropic Trust

As we approach the 10th anniversary of September 11, I want to share the story of the September 11th Children’s Fund, which NPT managed for many years.The Hasbro Children’s Foundation of Hasbro Toys started the September 11th Children’s Fund at NPT in the weeks after the tragedy with an initial gift of $250,000. Hasbro covered all the Fund’s overhead expenses so every dollar collected would support the children who were affected.

After the initial gift from Hasbro, NPT received over $4 million in additional donations from hundreds of regular U.S. citizens and many other individuals from around the world. Gifts also came in from several celebrities, heads of state and other officials. Numerous school children gave the most heartwarming gifts we could imagine: their allowance, lemonade stand proceeds, school fundraising campaigns and birthday money.

Hasbro organized a national committee of experts who understood the needs and issues facing traumatized children to advise and guide the Fund’s grants. The Fund awarded 48 grants to non-profits and agencies affected by the tragedy. These were children who lost a loved one, or experienced the trauma of evacuation from lower Manhattan or Washington D.C. on that fateful September Day.

NPT’s grants supported programs such as the following:

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of New York City received $200,000 to establish a Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentoring program specifically for those children who lost a loved one at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Tuesday’s Children received $179,400 to establish a NJ Mentorship program for Bereaved Children who lost a parent in the 9/11 attacks.

Families of September 11 received $54,000 to support the Children of September 11 website, a network for families of loss. It provides help with children’s developmental and mental health issues and also provides a forum for parent and guardian discussions. This website is still operational and receives its heaviest traffic this time of year. The site still thanks NPT for our support: “Families of September 11 is able to bring you these informative Children of September 11 web pages as a result of a generous grant from the National Philanthropic Trust/September 11 Children’s Fund.”

Counseling in Schools received $25,000 to support the addition of a clinical social worker to their Arts Therapy in Schools program in Far Rockaway, Queens (PS 47 and PS 114) to meet the needs of the children and families who lost a family member on 9/11.

Story Corps received a $100,000 grant to chronicle the recording of first-person accounts from people, especially children, and what they experienced on September 11. The intention was to be both therapeutic and to create an oral history.

American Academy of Pediatrics received over $300,000 to develop and distribute educational materials to address the emotional scars of September 11 in the lives of those children affected. The materials (such as books, DVD, posters) focused on the theme that “Feelings need check-ups too” and were developed by pediatricians in order to be used after other traumatic events in the lives of children.

After six years of managing the Fund, our final grant was awarded to the National Center for School Crisis & Bereavement at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Our contributions from the September 11th Children’s Fund were vital in establishing this essential center. Their work supported the aftermath of subsequent tragedies such as the Virginia Tech shooting rampage and the Amish School House Shootings. This Center can mobilize and send of a team of Doctors and Mental Health experts anywhere in the U.S., any time a tragedy strikes where children are affected. Grants to 9/11 related causes live on and will continue to leave a legacy for years to come.

We were all extremely honored to be a part of this important work.