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I am not used to seeing a zero after the six," Moises Serrano says about the $60 million that the Salvation Army has raised for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

As director of the Salvation Army's disaster services for New York City, Serrano says he thought just after the second tower was hit, This is going to be big and will require a lot of help.

Suddenly awash in a sea of money, relief agencies such as the Salvation Army need help.

So much money—$1.5 billion so far—has come in that charities are having a hard time spending it. The American Red Cross raised $564 million, the most of any group. The charity came under withering criticism last fall after announcing that only $100 million would go to victims' families. Red Cross President Bernadine Healy resigned in October.

Facing a threat of legal action from New York's attorney general, Eliot L. Spitzer, the charity has since reversed course. Spitzer said the Red Cross could have broken consumer protection laws and other rules governing nonprofits by raising money for one purpose and using it for another. The charity said in late 2001 that it expected to spend $275 million of September 11 relief funds by year's end.

Cautious in light of such scrutiny, the Salvation Army has disbursed just $8 million of the $60 million raised for food, housing, and counseling services for people affected by the attacks. World Vision, which has raised $9 million, has spent less than $1 million on funerals, grief and trauma counseling, and rental and food expenses for bereaved family members. Campus Crusade for Christ and other ministries rushed in well-known Christian psychologists and counselors. These professionals trained local workers ...

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In the Magazine

January 7, 2002

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