|CrossRhodes||Bush Encourages Online Giving to Help Victims of Terrorism|
President George Bush on Tuesday (Sept. 18) encouraged Americans to "continue giving through web sites" in a speech in the White House Rose Garden. Standing behind the president was American Red Cross President and CEO Dr. Bernadine Healy. Other humanitarian and political leaders involved with helping communities affected by the recent terrorist attacks also attended the speech.
Bush said that national charity Web sites have raised $55 million in online donations over the past seven days. The President announced the creation of "The American Liberty Partnership," a consortium of several high-tech leaders, including AOL/Time Warner and Microsoft, Amazon, Ebay, Cisco Systems and Yahoo, who encourage online giving.
The companies have created libertyunites.org, a Web site dedicated to educating the public about how to help those affected by the recent terrorist acts in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania. "If a concerned American wants to help a neighbor in need, even though the neighborhood might not be right next door, they can get on libertyunites.org and find out how to help. And I urge my fellow Americans to do so," Bush said.
In addition to making an online donation, visitors to the Web site can find out where to send food, how to donate blood and who needs clothing or other relief items. The Red Cross is among several relief organizations included on the site.
"Now, it's important to realize that at this moment, many of our charities are overwhelmed by the public response. That's the kind of problem we like in America. But because the portals may be jammed, because the phones may be busy, Americans should continue to fight to help their neighbors," he said.
Dr. Healy said the new website is an example of the role the Internet has played in helping people give during the current crisis. "It shows the power of the web, the creativity of companies such as AOL and the enormous desire of people to help. It also shows one technology doing so much more [than ever before]," she said following Bush's speech.
The American Red Cross has raised $32.5 million in online donations and a total of $92 million since the Tuesday (Sept. 11) disasters.
The American Red Cross was the first major charitable organization to fundraise online, according to Dr. Healy. In addition, a Red Cross victory in a recent patent lawsuit made it possible for organizations to raise funds online without being charged.
Web users can read up-to-the-minute news stories about the Red Cross response on the organization's national website, redcross.org, and on disasterrelief.org, a disaster news site sponsored by the Red Cross, CNN and IBM.