Flight 93 Memorial Falls Short On Fundraising; New Strategy To Rely On Direct Solicitation

Saturday, April 28th 2007, 1:45 pm
By: News On 6

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. (AP) _ A two-year campaign to raise $30 million for a permanent memorial for the victims of Flight 93 has fallen far short of its goal, and organizers say they are shifting their strategy to close the gap.

Only $11 million has been collected in the capital campaign for the $58 million memorial, a drive started by groups including relatives of the 40 passengers and crew members killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

Passengers on the hijacked plane were remembered as heroes after the attacks because of their efforts to storm the cockpit and wrest control from the terrorists shortly before the plane crashed in a field.

``We'd hoped to raise more money by now,'' said John Reynolds, chairman of the Flight 93 Federal Advisory Commission. ``We were concerned we were not doing a good job, but the philanthropic world tells us we did.''

With a mail campaign surprisingly successful, the fundraisers now plan to rely more on direct solicitation nationwide than on continued appeals to traditional sources of major gifts.

The planners of the memorial, established by an act of Congress in 2002, are ``absolutely dedicated to raising the rest of the funding,'' Reynolds said.

Project officials said they overestimated how quickly donors would respond to appeals, though contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations have been generous nonetheless.

Construction is tentatively slated to begin in late 2008 or early 2009. A ribbon-cutting ceremony has been planned for the 10-year anniversary of the attacks.