Todd Beamer was among the passengers who confronted hijackers on September 11. Vice President Dick Cheney has credited the passengers with preventing the hijacked flight from hitting a presumed target in Washington, D.C. The flight crashed in rural Pennsylvania.
Twenty-two children lost at least one parent when the flight crashed, killing all 45 on board. The foundation (www.beamerfoundation.org) will provide a wide range of services to these surviving children, and to others affected by future terrorism. It will work with businesses and nonprofit associations to provide these services.
"My desire is that this foundation will enable many others to continue Todd's legacy of character and faith in whatever events lie ahead for our world," Lisa Beamer said in a written statement. "Todd's sacrifice has already resulted in the saving of many lives. God will use this foundation to continue saving lives."
Various corporations, including United Airlines and Oracle Corporation, Todd Beamer's employer, have donated funds and equipment to the foundation.
Citing President Bush's instructions to "continue on with our lives," Lisa Beamer flew on United Airlines from Newark to San Francisco in October to discuss the foundation with Oracle executives. Her husband was flying the same route when the hijacking occurred.
Lisa Beamer says the idea for the foundation springs from her difficult childhood. Her father died when she was a teenager, and he had not provided insurance for his family. Lisa Beamer says that insurance and investments will provide for her two sons and a third child, due in January. Lisa Beamer decided to give away many donations she received after her husband's death.
William Beatty is a family friend and the foundation's treasurer. He says donors have pledged more than $250,000, including $50,000 from overseas.
"People see Lisa and [her] unborn baby as a sign of hope," Beatty says. "People see courage, and people see hope coming from a bad situation."
The organization is filing for charitable status with the Internal Revenue Service. Legal, financial, and nonprofit professionals from the Beamers' church, Princeton Alliance in Plainsboro, New Jersey, have volunteered their services. Beatty, an accountant and vice president at Goldman Sachs, says the volunteers will make sure that as much as possible of each donation will go directly to future recipients.
"We're trying to be good stewards with this unbelievable door of opportunity," Beatty says.
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The Todd M. Beamer Foundation Web site includes a message from Lisa Beamer, the mission of the foundation, and press releases.
USA Today and The San Francisco Chronicle have also covered Lisa Beamer's creation of the foundation.
President Bush recognized Lisa Beamer in the September 20 address to Congress.
Previous Christianity Today article on Todd Beamer include:
Beamer's Faith, Competitive Streak Set Scene for Flight 93 Heroism | Friends say Wheaton grad's determination made him a hero. (October 15, 2001)
Active Christian on Flight 93 Hailed as a Hero | Wheaton College graduate and others "figured out how to do extraordinary things" aboard United plane. (September 17, 2001)
Media coverage of Todd Beamer and United flight 93 include:
'Let's roll' rallying cry sparks several Web sites— Post-Gazette (Nov. 4, 2001)
Friends, strangers honor man who helped foil hijackers' plans — The Daily Herald (Oct. 7, 2001)
Services mirror grieving of nation — Chicago Tribune (Oct. 7, 2001)
A Sky Filled With Chaos, Uncertainty and True Heroism — The Washington Post (Sept. 17, 2001)
Hero's final phone call — BBC (Sept. 17, 2001)
Flight 93 Hero Heard on Black Box — The Washington Post (Sept. 16, 2001)
The phone line was still open when Todd Beamer said: 'Are you guys ready? Let's roll' — Post-Gazette (Sept. 16, 2001)
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