Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Paying Tribute on Patriot Day 2013

Twelve years ago today, the tragic events that transpired in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. led to a collective American response of passion, bravery and hope. There was a clear call to action, and the American people responded with an outpouring of support. More than 1.4 billion dollars was donated to 9/11 charities in the aftermath of the attacks.

In the years since, Americans have further developed a tradition of community service and philanthropy as a tribute to the victims, survivors, and volunteers who responded to the tragedy. In 2009, September 11th was federally recognized as a National Day of Service and Remembrance with the goal of uniting Americans across the country in service. This recognition highlights the value of donations of all types, including community service and monetary gifts.

Now, twelve years after the attacks, it is not always obvious where to direct commemorative donations so that they will be of the most help. For those wanting to make a 9/11-specific donation, look for an organization that directly benefits survivors, first responders, bystanders, and their families by providing support with ongoing physical and mental health care costs, as well as scholarships to fund college education. The September 11th Families’ Association maintains a list of organizations that provide this type of support.

Additionally, countless veterans of the resulting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq need assistance with housing or health care. Many nonprofits work with veterans in our community to ease the transition back to civilian life. For example, the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans aids veterans affected by homelessness, and the Minnesota Veterans Medical Research and Education Foundation conducts research on physical and mental health conditions in order to improve veterans’ quality of life.

Another approach to commemorative giving is to address an issue raised by the attacks and their aftermath in your own community. For example, the timeline of events and number of people involved highlight the importance of disaster-preparedness, and incidences of racial profiling after the attacks reveal the need for cultural awareness and diversity education. Here in Minnesota, many organizations work in the areas of health care, emergency response, and diversity awareness. Some of these organizations include:

Health Care
Emergency Preparedness and Response
Diversity and Cultural Awareness

Today marks a day of remembrance and honor. It’s important that we all take a moment to reflect on what happened on September 11, 2001, but consider taking it a step further this year by supporting those nonprofits working to help victims, survivors, veterans, and our own communities.

No comments: