Americans have opened their hearts and pocketbooks to victims of the September 11th attacks, donating hundreds of millions of dollars to relief efforts. But while local charities commend that support, some are concerned about the impact on their hometown budgets.
News on Six reporter Glenda Silvey looks at the effect in the Tulsa area. The Tulsa YWCA relies heavily on charitable giving to fund many of its programs, such as it's child care center. In fact, the Y is the fourth largest recipient of United Way funding. Though far away from the terror attacks, local non-profits are seeing the effects of its reality here at home. Kathleen Coan, United Way Director: "And I know the member agencies are already seeing an increased level of request for assistance, and it looks like it just may continue to multiply."
Thatâ€™s the concern of dozens of other United Way agencies and private non-profits providing a variety of services. They applaud local efforts to help victims in New York and Washington DC, but say local charities rely on the home front to survive. Jim Lyall with the Community Service Council: "They operate very frugally and I think it's very important to know that they cannot turn to other sources. We really count on the people of Tulsa to help us."
Lyall says agencies are concerned about the ripple effect from the disaster. "We know, for example, our economy may change. There may be layoffs that will put more pressure on our local charities to respond to those individuals." Lyall says agencies aren't reporting a loss of funding so far, and Coan says it appears United Way's nearly $24-million campaign goal can still be met. In fact, Williams just raised $3.5 million in addition to the company's $1 million donation to the September 11th fund. â€œI think it would be safe to say that the generosity of this community is not only going to be felt in New York and Washington, but they also won't forget their community."
Agencies hope that's right. They don't want anyone to go without needed services in the uncertain months ahead. "If you can help, please do so. If you need help, we're here to help you." Coan says at least two thousand people receive some form of assistance from 69 Tulsa Area United Way agencies each day.