FRIENDS, NEW YORKERS, COUNTRYMEN: SEND THEM YOUR CHECKS
You've heard of all the main ones -- the Twin Towers Fund (for all uniformed-service workers), the American Red Cross, the September 11th Fund (the United Way). Giving to the big boys is simple on the Internet (libertyunites.org and charitywave.com have the best links), but some smaller, more targeted charities deserve special attention.
The Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund is specifically for those touched by the deaths of the Windows on the World staff -- and of all restaurant workers in the World Trade Center -- many of whom weren't as financially prepared for catastrophe as their white-collar neighbors. Send contributions to David Berdon & Co., 415 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017.
The Service Employees International Union -- which had more than 1,000 members at the World Trade Center, of whom 24 are unaccounted for -- has established the SEIU September 11th Relief Fund to aid the victims' families as well as unemployed tour guides, elevator operators, cleaning people, and security guards. Send donations to: SEIU September 11th Relief Fund, c/o SEIU, 1313 L Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20005, or donate at www.seiu.org.
ABM Industries -- the company responsible for much of the maintenance work at the World Trade Center -- has established the ABM Family Fund Trust to benefit the families of the janitors, engineers, and window cleaners lost in the attack. Donations should be directed to the ABM Family Fund Trust, Rincon Annex Box 193224, San Francisco, CA 94119.
New York-Presbyterian Hospital's William Randolph Hearst Burn Center treated 25 of the most severely injured victims of the attack. Contributions (212-821-0528) support patient care, research, and training programs at the largest and busiest burn center in the nation.
The New York Firefighters Skin Bank is the only local bank providing skin transplants to the burn centers in its region. The catch: Donations are, as with organs, made posthumously. The upside: Skin donation is approved by every major religion. You can sign up with the State Health Department (877-752-3175).
The New York Women's Foundation (212-226-2220) is collecting for those most vulnerable to displacement and loss of income. Send donations to 120 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10012, and be sure to write "Disaster Relief" in the check memo.
Win the ground-zero-sum game. While these groups don't directly address the attack, they are located in or near ground zero. As the city starts suffering the ripple effects of recession, they need your money and attention. Contact the Community Food Resource Center (212-662-1283), God's Love We Deliver (which brings food to people with aids; 212-294-8162), and the Henry Street Settlement (a local social-service group with a long history; 212-766-9200). Some offices have relocated, others are still paralyzed. If you don't get an answer, try again in a few days.
FORK IT OVER
I'm busy hurling my puny I ams toward the moon. I've bought two expensive skirts that weren't even on sale. And I'm eating overtime. At Le Bernardin, Maguy Le Coze, a ribbon of stars and stripes in a bow at her neck, was welcoming loyalists -- including one who promised to come every night till the room was full. Around the corner, JUdson Grill chef Bill Telepan dreamed up a $36 early-evening prix fixe to nurture Broadway neighbors and Wall Street refugees camped out in nearby hotels. Last weekend, I played Paul Revere in TriBeCa and desolate Chinatown. I've doubled my usual holiday gift to Citymeals-on-Wheels and mailed it today to help refill their emergency pantry. That first horrific day, with 615 frail shut-ins trapped in their homes below 14th Street, CMOW enlisted Bloomberg volunteers to deliver meals prepared by restaurants. Later, Citymeals diverted non-perishables from its Brooklyn warehouse that had been earmarked for the homebound over the long Columbus Day weekend. Now it's near-empty. No funds are coming in. In the outpouring of giving, our 17,000 invisible neighbors, alone and vulnerable, have been forgotten for the moment. For so many, the horror on the television screen revived memories of terrors they came here to escape. And they had no one to hear their fears but a rushed volunteer. Citymeals-on-Wheels, 355 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10017. For information, call 212-687-1234.
MAKE YOUR MONEY WORK FOR EVERYONE
Four investments you can make that are good for you -- and for those who need it more than you do.
1. Take out a life-insurance policy. Make it term life. Great deal for you, and the insurers could use your premium, badly.
2. Take your money out of a mutual-fund cash-reserve account and put it in a local savings-bank certificate of deposit. They could use your deposit now, and you won't be sacrificing any yield.
3. Refinance your mortgage. The rates are incredibly low, and you will be doing yourself and your lending institution a great service.
4. Do some business with Keefe Bruyette, Sandler O'Neil, or Cantor Fitzgerald. The first two firms offer fabulous research on banks and savings and loans, and have made me a ton of money over the years. Cantor's more of a bond house, but you institutional types will know how to funnel business there.
JAMES J. CRAMER
THROW A PARTY
(Preferably one where you can hire some staff.) "It's sort of like English wartime," says Serena Bass, who is indeed English, but who -- she says -- was not yet born by the time the Blitz ended. "We need to pull together and eat and have a wonderful time." Bass, like many caterers, has seen the bulk of her business cancelled in the last few weeks. "There's belt-tightening, so we're trying to give people what they need. Which is most likely food that's dropped off at home. They hire a neighbor or a niece to help. We won't make them spend more than they've got -- which, of course, we all used to do because that was our job."