Financial Firm Donates $10 Million To Sandy Victims
A firm that lost hundreds of employees in the World Trade Center attacks has donated millions to families affected by Hurricane Sandy. NY1's Ruschell Boone has the story.
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Gabrielle Guillaume has experienced a lot of kindness since Hurricane Sandy destroyed her home, but she was skeptical when she was told to pick up a $1000 pre-paid Payoneer debit card at P.S. 256.
"I thought it would be a prank," she said.
But it wasn't. Guillaume was among the 250 parents to receive the cash donation from the Cantor Fitzgerald relief fund. The company is giving $10 million directly to families affected by the storm.
"I appreciate it because I was down and out," Guillaume said. "Now I'm back on my feet again."
Ten thousand cards will be given away. The money was raised through the company's 9/11 charity day, which is held every year in honor of its 658 employees killed on September 11th.
"Our employees waive their pay and all the business that we do around the world we give to charity," said Howard Lutnick, chairman and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald. "We raised that money on September 11th and we decided this year we would keep $5 million. We didn't know what we were going to do with it and then Hurricane Sandy came by. So we are giving $5 million from this year and $5 million from next year."
The money will be distributed in the next few months to victims with children in 18 other schools in New York and New Jersey.
Lutnick, his wife, sister and other Cantor Fitzgerald employees visited many of the homes to verify the need for help.
"We picked communities across New York and New Jersey where our employees live and our employees care deeply about and that's how we are connected to these schools," he said.
Lutnick, who kicked off the program with local leaders by his side, said the victims are free to spend the money on whatever they want. Randy McGhee was so grateful for the gift she insisted on thanking him personally.
"You took the time out to really think of us in this time of need," McGhee said. "I really appreciate it."
Like many other victims, McGhee is planning to spend the money on bills and household items.