This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, September 11, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: After the terror attacks, Americans showed their extreme generosity by donating billions of dollars to help the survivors and victims of the attacks. The September 11 Fund raised half a billion dollars. It has distributed about $336 million in cash assistance and services. The remainder of the money is set aside to provide mental health counseling, employment assistance, and many other services for families and businesses alike. Josh Gotbaum is the CEO of the September 11 Fund and he joins me from this very windy roof.
JOSH GOTBAUM, CEO, SEPTEMBER 11 FUND: Yes.
CAVUTO: It's good to have you. Thank you for being here.
GOTBAUM: Glad to be here, Neil.
CAVUTO: What's the total right now as of this moment?
GOTBAUM: We have raised from more than two million donors, $506 million. We've used $336 million of that as grants, most of that to help the individuals and families: cash, counseling, help finding jobs, help cleaning their homes, whatever they need. Part of that is also to help the community rebuild, help for nonprofit, small businesses, help for the schools to get kids back who were disrupted. So, thus far, as I say, we have used $336 million. We've helped about 100,000 people…
CAVUTO: How did you select who to help?
GOTBAUM: The New York Community Trust and the United Way of New York City set up a board, an independent board to run the fund. And they said from the first, they are going to be many people affected by September 11. You'll want to help as many as possible. And so, the fund from the first helped the families of those who died, helped those who were injured, helped those who lost their jobs, helped those who were displaced from homes, helped the affected communities. And that's what we're still doing. So, with the $170 million that is remaining, we will continue to help, by providing counseling, by providing help finding jobs, by helping people get back into their homes, essentially helping the communities rebuild.
CAVUTO: So the bad publicity that a lot of lending groups got, and charities got right after a lot of this money wasn't making its way to victims, what can you say a year later?
GOTBAUM: I think the millions of people who donated charity ought to know that charities have helped more than a 100,000 people begin to rebuild their lives. The charities were there first to provide cash assistance. While people were waiting for checks from others, charities were on the pier. Our first grant, for example, within 11 days, was to Safe Horizon which wrote checks on the spot to cover rent.
CAVUTO: So it didn't matter whether they were getting compensation from government upwards of one million all the way up to 3 1/2 million, this and lending had nothing to do with what they were getting separately; right?
GOTBAUM: What the charities did is they said, we know that there will be generosity coming from government but people have needs right now. And so we are going to step in as a bridge...
CAVUTO: Ahead of the government money coming in.
GOTBAUM: Yes. And that is what we have done every day since. And we are still getting people coming forward who had waited because there were traumatized. They hadn't asked for help and they said, now I need it.
CAVUTO: Is there any litmus test they have to go to to get that aid? I mean, let's say someone was married to a million dollar a year broker at Cantor Fitzgerald?
GOTBAUM: There is help available for all the victims of September 11.
CAVUTO: Doesn't matter?
GOTBAUM: Yes, and all they have do is call 1-866-689-HELP.
CAVUTO: How long does fund stay viable, stay open?
GOTBAUM: We think that we will be helping people for at least the next three to five years. And the reason for that is that there are a lot of people who are going to need counseling and need mental help who aren't ready to ask for it yet. And we want to make sure that we are there when they are.
CAVUTO: We appreciate your efforts, Josh Gotbaum, the man who runs September 11 Fund, very good seeing you.
GOTBAUM: Glad to be here. Thanks very much, Neil.
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