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The Survivor’s Fund: Helping a Region Heal from Tragedy

September 11, 2012

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, our President, Terri Lee Freeman, shared her thoughts the Survivor’s Fund – the single largest fund supporting survivors of the attack on the Pentagon.

The goal was to help people heal at their own pace and in their own way, providing support in traditional and nontraditional ways. If learning to play the piano promoted someone’s recovery, we found a piano. We covered the cost of home repairs started by husbands who didn’t survive the attack, and we purchased clothes for family members who lost so much weight because of their grief that their pre-Sept. 11 wardrobes no longer fit. Money from the fund was used to pay non-reimbursed medical bills and for special equipment for those recovering from injuries. Many children and young adults who lost a parent received tuition assistance…

 …Sept. 11 brought our community together in ways no other event has. The Survivors’ Fund represented philanthropy at its best. The philanthropic spirit lives on in our community. I see it every day as people step in to help victims of floods and hurricanes, and those struggling through the economic crisis. The Survivors’ Fund taught us many lessons as a community about emergency preparedness and recovery. For me, it is the ongoing generosity of neighbors helping total strangers that is the richest lesson of all.

One year later, we are still so grateful to everyone who made this work possible. We are also reminded of the deep capacity that our community has to support, heal, and grow, and of the power of philanthropy to help us do it. Our hearts are with the survivors and the victims’ families – today and every day.

Terri’s thoughts were originally published in the Washington Post on September 9, 2011. You can read the full piece here.

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