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U.S./world – Relief dilemma – Donations top $500M

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Disaster-relief groups have raised more than $558 million to assist victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but questions are emerging about how the money will be spent and the impact that disaster donations may have on fundraising by other charities, according to news reports.

Fundraising for disaster relief includes at least $199 million to the American Red Cross; more than $110 million to the Sept. 11 Fund created by the New York Community Trust and the United Way of New York City, an estimated $140 million from the two-hour telethon broadcast Sept. 21 on 35 television networks and more than $128 million in grants from foundations and corporations to groups not associated with the Red Cross or Sept. 11 Fund, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported Sept. 24.

Canadians have contributed more than $5 million, The Star reported Sept. 24.

But charities receiving support face tough questions about how to spend the money, philanthropy experts told the Daily News in New York.

“We’re sort of doing things in reverse,” Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy in Bethesda, Md., told the Daily News. “Ordinarily, you come up worth a budget and then seek money for it. Here’s they’ve got the money, and now they’re trying to figure out how to spend it.”

The deluge of donations also has prompted concerns about fundraising scams, the Los Angeles Times reported.

For full story, go to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Star, Daily News and Los Angeles Times.

For lists of corporate and foundation donors, and disaster resources, go to the Foundation Center.

For tips on giving to legitimate groups, go to USA Today.

For a list of relief Web sites, go to USA Today.

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