Internet Helps Propel Donations for U.S. Attack Victims

NEW YORK — Charities have already collected more than $200 million for victims of the terrorist attacks, much of it spurred by the ease of donating over the Internet.

Many charity officials believe that the amount raised for victims of the Sept. 11 catastrophe will eclipse the total collected after other major disasters, including the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

AOL Time Warner Inc.’s (AOL) America Online has been greeting its subscribers with a special window outlining ways to donate. EBay Inc. (EBAY) began a “$100 million in 100 days” campaign. Inc. (AMZN) and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) are collecting money for major charities.

The International Association of Fire Fighters received several million dollars for families of the hundreds of firefighters believed killed. Spokesman George Burke credited the many Web sites that created links to the fund.

Such links offer Internet users an immediate way to help.

“We’ve all had that intention to do something, but the bucket wasn’t there or the checkbook was in the next room,” said Dorothy Ridings, president of the Council on Foundations, which formed The September 11th Fund with United Way and the New York Community Trust.

In Washington, President Bush asked Americans to be generous.

“There are challenges that remain for those who suffer today,” Mr. Bush said Tuesday. “We’ve got a lot of work to do as a nation and these good efforts, these good charitable compassionate efforts, need the full support of Americans everywhere.”

Dozens of charitable efforts have blossomed to cope with last week’s attacks in New York City and near Washington. To ease bureaucratic tangles, the Internal Revenue Service announced it would speed up approval of new requests for tax-exempt status.

At the American Red Cross, spokeswoman Devorah Goldburg called giving levels unprecedented. Nearly 40 percent of the $118 million it received or had pledged came over the Internet.

The September 11th Fund also collected more than $100 million in cash and pledges. The amount includes several large grants, including $10 million each from the Lilly Endowment and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT). A breakdown of how much came by way of the Internet wasn’t available.

Maj. Gary Miller of the Salvation Army estimates that $2 million of the $4 million it raised came over the Internet.

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