Tuesday, August 30, 2011

AP Article Examines Issues and Accountability with 9/11 Charities

This AP article offers some interesting information on the various nonprofits that appeared after 9/11. Many of these organizations did fulfill their charitable missions and were accountable for their donations, but there are always abuses, as the AP article relates. It would be interesting to examine the amount of money for profit companies generated off sales of tribute and commemorative 9/11 goods and products, and how much of these funds were given to the victims or charities. The article below does examine one example of a tribute flag creating by a for profit company. There is no question that consumer sales of such items would be significant.

This article was by BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE and DAVID B. CARUSO. I apologize for listing the full version, but it is integral to capture and document this important information.

Americans eager to give after the 9/11 terrorist attacks poured $1.5 billion into hundreds of charities established to serve the victims, their families and their memories.

But a decade later, an Associated Press investigation shows that many of those nonprofits have failed miserably.

There are those that spent huge sums on themselves, those that cannot account for the money they received, those that have few results to show for their spending and those that have yet to file required income tax returns. Yet many of the charities continue to raise money in the name of Sept. 11.

One charity raised more than $700,000 for a giant memorial quilt, but there is no quilt. Another raised more than $4 million to help victims, but didn't account publicly for how it spent all of the money. A third helps support a 9/11 flag sold by the founder's for-profit company.

There are other charities that can account for practically every penny raised — except that all the money went to pay for fundraising, and not the intended mission.

To be sure, most of the 325 charities identified by the AP followed the rules, accounted fully for their expenditures and closed after fulfilling identified goals.

There have been charities to assist ill and dying first responders, to help families of the dead, to help survivors and to honor the memory of victims. And there are charities that revolve around the flag, patriotism, motorcycle rallies and memorials of all sizes and shapes.

But in virtually every category of 9/11 nonprofit, an AP analysis of tax documents and other official records uncovered schemes beset with shady dealings, questionable expenses and dubious intentions. Many of those still raising money are small, founded by people with no experience running a nonprofit.

— The Arizona-based charity that raised $713,000 for a 9/11 memorial quilt promised it would be big enough to cover 25 football fields, but there are only several hundred decorated sheets packed in boxes at a storage unit.

One-third of the money raised went to the charity's founder and relatives, according to tax records and interviews. The chairman of the board, an 84-year-old Roman Catholic priest, says he didn't know he was chairman and thought that only small amounts of money had been raised. He says he was unaware that the founder had given himself a $200 per week car allowance, rent reimbursement and a $45,000 payment for an unreported loan.

— There's a charity for a 9/11 Garden of Forgiveness at the World Trade Center site — only there's no Garden of Forgiveness. The Rev. Lyndon Harris, who founded the Sacred City nonprofit in 2005, spent the months following 9/11 at ground zero helping victims, relatives and first responders. He said he formed the charity to fulfill "our sacred oath" to build the garden. Tax records show the charity has raised $200,000, and that the Episcopal priest paid himself $126,530 in salary and used another $3,562 for dining expenses between 2005 and 2007.

Harris said he sees his charity's work as a success even if there is no garden at the site. "I saw our mission as teaching about forgiveness," he said.

— Another Manhattan 9/11 charity, Urban Life Ministries, raised more than $4 million to help victims and first responders. But the group only accounted for about $670,000 on its tax forms. Along with almost four dozen other 9/11 charities, Urban Life lost its IRS tax-exempt status this year because it failed to show how money was collected and spent.

— The Flag of Honor Fund, a Connecticut charity, raised nearly $140,000 to promote a memorial flag honoring 9/11 victims. The flag, which contains the name of every person killed on Sept. 11, 2001, is on sale today at Wal-Mart and other retail stores. But only a tiny fraction of the money from those sales goes to 9/11 charities, with most going to retail stores, the flag maker and a for-profit business — run by the man who created the flag charity.

The AP examined charities that received tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service by promising to serve victims of the 9/11 tragedy, build memorials or do other charitable works in honor of the dead. The charities were identified using data maintained by Guidestar, a private database of nonprofits that the IRS recommends.

The $1.5 billion donated to these charities was in addition to the billions spent by Congress and states and established nonprofits like the Red Cross.

Most of the 9/11 charities fulfilled their missions, but the AP analysis found dozens that struggled, fell short of their promises or did more to help their founders than those affected by the terrorist attacks.

Here are some of their stories:



Kevin Held was earning a living as a self-employed handyman in Peoria, Ariz., when he formed Stage 1 Productions in 2003 to promote the American Quilt Memorial honoring the lives lost on Sept. 11. He said thousands of individual pieces would be crafted together on white, king-sized sheets that, when sewn together, would stretch 1½ miles across an eight-lane highway.

That never happened.

The $713,000 that Held raised from students, school fundraising campaigns, T-shirt sales and other donations is gone. More than $270,000 of that went to Held and family members, records show.

In a July interview, Held said he hoped to finish the quilt in a few months. But he changed his mind a few weeks after the AP began asking questions, abruptly shutting the project because of "tough economic times."

Held has done an impressive job raising money, persuading students to hold "penny drives" and police officers to buy T-shirts promoting the quilt for $20 or more. But he's spent a lot in doing so.

Since 2004, Held paid himself $175,000 in salary, health insurance, other benefits and a weekly car allowance he received for most of that time. He's owed another $63,820 in deferred salary, according to the charity's most recent tax filing. Held argues that he's actually owed closer to $420,000, because he was supposed to receive $60,000 annually since 2003, and has received far less.

He told the AP in July that more than $50,000 paid in 2005 to satisfy a loan never reported by the charity went to his mother to repay "an accumulation of a bunch of small loans." But when pressed last week — after the AP pointed out that his mother died that year — Held said he paid himself more than $45,000 to repay the loan. He said he couldn't explain the other $5,000 without researching it.

He said he paid another $12,000 to his brothers, Dave and John, as consulting fees.

Held also charged the charity more than $37,000 for office rent, utilities and other related expenses, according to the group's tax forms. But the addresses reported by the charity for most years were Held's home and private mail boxes at PostNet and UPS stores in Arizona and south Texas.

Held said he received much of the office payments to cover the cost of working out of his home.

Held spent more than $170,000 on travel since 2004 to promote the quilt. He rarely traveled without his two Alaskan Malamute dogs, one at 120 pounds and the other 200 pounds. He also listed $36,691 in credit card and bank charges since 2005 and $10,460 for an expense listed as "petty" in 2009.

"I loved going out and traveling," he said. "I loved going to the police departments."

Held acknowledges he struggled managing the charity's finances, but he said he didn't live off the nonprofit. "If I made a mistake, I made a mistake. If I did, then crucify me. I never said I was a professional at this."

Still, he's come a long way since serving a few days in a Tampa jail in 1993 for misdemeanor theft and battery. With his wife, he's moving into a $660,000, five-bedroom house overlooking a lake in Chandler, Ariz.

The charity's finances surprised the Rev. Jude Duffy, identified in the charity's tax filings as board chairman. He said he had no idea that Held had collected more than $713,000 for the charity until the AP showed him the documents.

Duffy, who lives in St. Lawrence Friary in Beacon, N.Y., said he became suspicious several years ago after Held created a new fundraising project without finishing the quilt. The latest project — Operation Adopt-a-Soldier — promises students postcards and posters that they can send to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan if each class will send Held up to $40.

"Is this some kind of scam?" Duffy said he asked Held in an email. "Are you playing on the emotion of the people with this?"

Held responded that he was insulted by the suggestion and assured Duffy that he would finish the quilt project.

"As we look at it today," Duffy said, "certainly it seems to be that we were duped entirely by whatever he had in mind. I don't know what that is. But I would call it a scam or a clever scheme."

Even Held's story of how the quilt project started is suspect.

For years, he claimed he had come up with the idea for a student-led national tribute after hearing that Dominique Deal, a family friend's high school daughter, crafted her own memorial on a bed sheet.

But she says that story isn't true.

"I think he wanted people to think I came up with it. But I just helped," said the woman, now Dominique Greer, 25, and married in Peoria, Ariz. "I guess he thought it would be weird to say he started it."

Held now admits he made up the story because he didn't want to receive credit.

He insists he has accounted for every dime spent by the charity, even if he can't justify all the expenses.

"It doesn't mean I'm a bad person," Held said. "It just means I made a mistake."



Urban Life Ministries, based in a church not far from the World Trade Center site, is one of many 9/11 charities that have caught the attention of the IRS because it failed to file annual tax returns. The AP review found other issues as well.

The charity's creator, the Rev. Carl Keyes, said that in the initial months after the 9/11 attacks the group raised more than $4 million with the help of a Christian television station telethon. All of that money, he said, went to cover the costs of counseling, feeding and caring for 9/11 victims, first responders and workers at ground zero.

"There were plenty of things to do to ease the suffering of the people," Keyes said.

But there's no way to know how Keyes used donations raised to do that.

The only tax return available from Guidestar — for the 2001 tax year — lists just $670,000 raised for his relief work. The New York Attorney General's office said it didn't receive the required filings from the charity after 2001. The IRS withdrew the charity's tax-exempt status in June for failing to file annual returns.

Keyes, an Assemblies of God minister, acknowledged that the nonprofit did not file taxes for all years.

Keyes has not responded to AP's requests to explain how the money raised was spent; some of the information he did provide conflicted with the 2001 return.

For example, Keyes said in the initial interview that he never received a salary from his charity. But the 2001 tax filing reported that he spent $89,500 on compensation to charity directors, including $31,600 paid to himself and his wife in the nonprofit's first months.

Keyes and his wife also received salaries from Glad Tidings Tabernacle, their New York City church. A large amount of the charity's money went to Keyes' church. The nonprofit group gave the church a $23,855 loan and had leases to pay it $192,000 a year in rent, according to financial statements filed in New York.

Keyes said he set up a branch of his charity on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area in 2005, putting his brother-in-law, Mark Jones, in charge. But it's not clear how much money was raised and spent because Keyes has not filed the necessary tax statements with the IRS.

Jones estimated that at least $800,000 was spent by the charity for the Mississippi projects. Jones helped oversee rebuilding and renovations to more than 100 homes, which he said cost between $7,000 and $12,000 each.

Keyes said he knows his charity has not filed all the required disclosures. "We're not very good at that," he said.

But he said he hoped the nonprofit's efforts in response to 9/11 and Katrina wouldn't be tainted by his lack of accounting.

"You're going to beat me up in an article because we're bad managers?" Keyes said.



At first glance, the Flag of Honor/Flag of Heroes Project looks like any other charity doing philanthropy in the name of 9/11. But people who have bought one of its flags might be surprised to learn that nearly all the proceeds have gone to the charity founder's for-profit flag company, not 9/11 victims.

IRS rules generally prohibit the resources of a nonprofit group from being used to promote a for-profit product.

John Michelotti of Greenwich, Conn., the charity's founder, said one of his goals was to give a framed copy of his flag, which bears the names of all the dead emblazoned on the Stars and Stripes to every family that lost someone in the attacks. He also designed a "Flag of Heroes" with only the names of fallen firefighters and law enforcement personnel.

"The more the flags are out there, the more these people live, the more they are remembered," he said.

Documents filed with the state of Connecticut explain that part of the fund's mission is to create "a national people's memorial" by urging corporations "to hang the Flag of Honor artwork prominently in all of their business locations." In some IRS filings, the charity said its purpose was to sell the memorial flag.

During the last nine years, Michelotti said, he has sold or given away almost 300,000 banners and posters of the Flag of Honor. The project's website lists 10 nonprofit groups as beneficiaries of the flag sales, including the Boy Scouts, a food bank in Oregon and a Manhattan church that narrowly escaped being destroyed in the attacks.

But in an AP interview, Michelotti acknowledged that his for-profit business, BIE LLC, has donated no more than $15,000 to 9/11 charities.

Most of the charities listed as beneficiaries were actually BIE customers that purchased flags to resell during their own fundraising efforts.

For example, Michelotti imported flags from China for about $5 each, he said. The Exchange Group chapter in Salem, Ore., bought about 4,000 flags from his for-profit company to use in a patriotic display for about $7 each, then sold them for $25. About $75,000 was raised for several causes, including the Oregon National Guard Emergency Relief Fund, but none of the money came out of Michelotti's cut.

Michelotti's charity collected $139,332 in donations and other revenue from 2003 to 2009, but it only gave away framed copies of the flag to the families of between 200 and 350 victims of the terror attacks.

Tax returns filed by the group don't list any donations to 9/11 victims or the groups that serve them.

In interviews with the AP, Michelotti said he has never tried to mislead anyone about the nature of his business. "I never tell people, 'Your money is going into a nonprofit,'" he said.

He contended the 10 beneficiaries were listed on the company's website merely to show that some nonprofit groups have used the flag in their events, not to indicate that they are getting a cut of the profits.

"I'm not getting the feedback that people are confused by it," he said.

Some people have gotten the wrong idea, though. When "Today" show host Hoda Kotb promoted the flag on national television in 2009, she described the project as "a contribution fund to help those that were affected."

Several 9/11 organizations have embraced his product. The flag is sold at the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum, and online by Voices of Sept. 11, a leading victims' advocacy group.

Annin Flag Makers, the nation's largest and oldest flag company, also recently signed on to the project. The company said it shipped 170,000 of the flags this summer to stores nationwide, including Walmart.

Under Michelotti's deal with Annin, some money from flag sales will go to charities regularly for the first time — but it won't be much. Ten percent of the wholesale revenue will be split among the Wounded Warriors Project, the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum, Voices of 9/11 — and Michelotti's Flag of Honor charity, according to Annin's marketing material.

Michelotti and Annin declined to disclose how much of a licensing fee he will receive or how much retailers are paying for the flag. But if it is close to the $7 wholesale price Michelotti charged previously, roughly 70 cents of a $20 retail purchase would go to charity.

The remaining profit would go to the flag maker, the retailer, and Michelotti's for-profit company.

Asked if he thought the Flag of Honor Fund had crossed the firewall between a charity and a for-profit company, Michelotti said, "One bleeds into the other for me," and then added: "It probably helps, because we have good will, but it doesn't help financially."



Weeks after the 9/11 attacks, Theodore Sjurseth of Leesburg, Va., climbed aboard his Harley Davidson and led about 250 bikers to New York City to pay homage to the dead.

Since then, the ride has become an annual charity event, with nearly $2.2 million in gross revenue between 2003 and last year. This year's ride, held last week, had nearly 3,000 registered participants.

Yet in one important respect, it has fallen short in its mission.

The nonprofit group formed to organize the ride, America's 9/11 Foundation, has spent far more putting on the event than supporting its mission of assisting first responders and their children. As of last year, it had donated 10 motorcycles to various police departments around the eastern U.S. and Canada, at a cost of about $200,000, given $150,000 in scholarships to the children of police officers and firefighters, paid some modest grants to police departments struggling to support their motorcycle brigades or canine units, and supported a playground rehabilitation project in Linden, N.J.

The reason it hasn't donated more: lavish spending on the ride itself. The event is now four days long and takes participants from the Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pa., to the Pentagon to ground zero in New York.

The foundation picks up all tolls for the riders, pays for their meals, and in some years has put on concerts.

To attract police officers to the event, it puts them up in hotel rooms for each night of the ride and waives their registration fees. In some years, the foundation has made compensation payments to municipalities along the ride route to make up for the hassle of closing traffic while the bikers pass.

Calculating how much the group ultimately gives to charity is difficult, because the foundation counts the officers' free hotel rooms and municipal compensation payments as donations, rather than ride expenses.

But even under that interpretation, the group has spent less than 20 percent of the money it raised on charitable causes.

Sjurseth, who wanted to be a firefighter as a teenager until a pellet gun accident cost him sight in one eye, agreed the ride could be a more effective fundraiser if it cut costs or raised registration fees — now at about $120.

But, he said, he thinks the foundation has "done great" for an all-volunteer group.

"Has it blossomed the way I wanted it to? No," he said. "I'd love for this thing to be making millions of dollars."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Zoo York Skateboard Twin Towers Tribute

This tribute skateboard is pretty unique. I have to say that everytime I discover something new, I am impressed by the impact of 9/11 and its reflection through almost all forms of material culture. So, why not a skateboard?

New, unused, Zoo York 9/11 tribute deck. This deck was made to commemorate all those that had helped after attacks on the world trade centers in New York on 9/11, as well as to honor those that lost their lives in that horrific attack. This was a limited deck. Zoo York state the following about the skateboard:

The September 11th tragedy happened in our own back yard. The Zoo York offices are only one mile from Ground Zero. This impossibly horrific event affected all of us at Zoo deeply and sincerely. The loss we all feel can never be effectively expressed.

Yet in our most hurtful hour, New York City rallied together in a show of unity, compassion, and bravery the likes of which no one could dream possible.

As a show of our appreciation to all the men, women, and organizations that came together to help New York City in its time of need. And in the most sincere display of respect to those lost on that dark day, we give thanks in our own humble way. The Zoo York 'Tribute' deck.

Our hearts and minds are with you all, always.

-The Zoo York Family

Twin Towers Bradford Exchange Plates

Bradford Exchange tribute plates for the World Trade Center. Four plates are featured here.

Binghamton University public administration expert tracks 9/11 nonprofits

David's research is definitely interesting. I especially wonder about the accountability of the funds raised and granted out. Another question, which relates to my collection, would be how much money was raised through corporate sales of items that indicated a donation of some kind would be made to help the victims or an organization from September 11th. Also, what kind of accountability was there regarding this money that corporations indicated they would donate? Was there any kind of tracking or public record? For example, how much money from the sale of one Uncle Sam Mr. Potato Head was donated and what was the total donated for all sales?

More than 250 new nonprofit groups developed after the 9/11 attacks and generated nearly $700 million in the first two years of operation. In exploring why so many nonprofits sprang up after the disaster, and how they performed once established, a Binghamton University researcher offers key lessons that may help in future crises and in improved coordination between new and existing relief agencies.

Drawing from his own experiences after 9/11 when he served as vice president for programs with Community Service Society, one of the oldest nonprofit organizations in New York City, David Campbell, an associate professor of public administration, has studied and written papers on the formation of disaster-response agencies. His research tapped into his own experience with one of these organizations, the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund, which was established to support the families of hospitality-industry workers who died in the disaster.

“At first, I didn’t understand it,” Campbell says. “Why do people need to start new organizations? For instance, why didn’t the Window of Hope fund founders come first to Community Service Society or to an existing organization that had a track record? That piqued my interest for the research agenda.”

Campbell’s examination and findings, titled “Stand by Me: Organization Founding in the Aftermath of Disaster,” was published by The American Review of Public Administration.

In “Stand by Me,” Campbell studies the motivations of the people who created nonprofit organizations and the roles they played after 9/11. He read tax-exemption applications the groups submitted to the IRS and identified the “defining characteristics” of each. For example, some groups may be geographically based, while others might be affiliated with a fire company or, like Windows of Hope, an employer of 9/11 victims.

“All of the categories represent where people’s passions lie in making a difference in the community,” he says.

But some organizations lacked direction. Campbell pointed to an application from two people in the Midwest who planned to start a nonprofit that would provide foster care for orphans.

“They had no connection to New York City,” he says. “They had no funding source. I think people have a lot of positive energy and they are not sure where to direct it.”

Campbell found that most of the new post-9/11 organizations ceased operation within two years. Once the money was raised and distributed, the group disbanded. Those that endured past two years likely had stronger ties to the families of victims.

Campbell’s second research project, “Organic and Sustainable: The Emergence, Formalization and Performance of a September 11th Disaster Relief Organization,” focused specifically on Windows of Hope. The case study was published in Nonprofit Management and Leadership last year.

Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund was established by Windows on the World restaurant owner David Emil and chef Waldy Malouf who joined with Quest restaurant owner and chef Tom Valenti, and others in the hospitality industry, to provide financial aid, health insurance and educational help to the families of hospitality-industry workers killed in the World Trade Center attack.

Campbell’s study, which was a logical extension of his first research project, offered an opportunity to reflect on the factors that contributed to the group’s success.

“There was a shared sense of identity among this group of hospitality-industry workers,” he says. “The Windows on the World founders told me, “We have to take care of our own.” That’s what brought them together. But it wouldn’t have mattered if they hadn’t been able to bring in resources. If you look at the hospitality industry, it has resources and knows how to leverage them.”

Windows of Hope leaders also understood the need for collaboration and knew when to ask for help, Campbell says. Having raised over $22 million, Windows founders sought out guidance from the Community Service Society to make sure that they were able to fairly distribute the funds to the victims’ families.

“Their willingness to acknowledge what they did not know and to use Community Service Society allowed them to be responsive quickly,” he says.

Both “Stand by Me” and “Organic and Sustainable” offer lessons to post-disaster organization founders and advisors, Campbell says. The projects, in particular, can help a new organization get off — or even stay on — the ground by providing some key questions to address.

“What is the life cycle of an organization founded in response to a disaster?” Campbell says. “Are you looking to go out of business after a year, which is fine but unusual? What is it you are trying to accomplish?”

Perhaps most important, Campbell would like to see closer coordination between new groups and the nonprofit infrastructure. The IRS can help make that happen when nonprofit applications are approved, Campbell says, and produce more success stories.

“These organizations need a connection to the existing service-delivery infrastructure,”  he says.  “I want to make sure these people talk to each other.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

9/11 MEMORIAL Commemorative Chardonnay

Thank you to Annie, who was kind enough to pass on this 9/11 tribute wine. She shared the following link:

Of course, I had to add these examples from Lieb Cellars to my collection. These are typical examples of other consumer goods offering a donation from each sale. It is always interesting when the pricing and donation is a variation of 9/11. The September Mission Merlot is offered at a price of $9.11 with a donation of $0.911 going towards a September 11th fund. Below is more information about the two different wines

9/11 MEMORIAL Commemorative Chardonnay
This wine was produced to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the opening of the 9/11 Memorial. Lieb Cellars has been a proud supporter of the 9/11 Memorial since 2004 through the SEPTEMBER'S MISSION FOUNDATION, and is honored to produce this wine for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Lieb Cellars is making a donation from sales of this wine to the 9/11 Memorial, to honor and remember the victims of the terror attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and near Shanksville, PA. To learn more about the 9/11 Memorial, get involved or make a donation, visit: www.911memorial.org

About the wine: From the excellent 2010 harvest, we have produced a very limited amount of this wine (247 cases). This wine was fermented in stainless steel and then a portion aged in French oak. The wine displays a soft straw-yellow color, which will golden with maturation. The dominant flavors are reminiscent of fresh green apples with underlying hints of tropical citrus and pineapples. The wine finishes with a toasty vanilla flavor on the palate.

New Vintage. This limited production wine is dedicated to honoring the memory of those lost on September 11, 2001. Lieb Cellars is proud to assist the September’s Mission Foundation in its fund-raising program, the “9/11 Campaign”. For each bottle purchased Lieb Cellars donates 91.1 cents to the fund, which provides educational and cultural programs to remember the victims of 9/11 and to fund the 9/11 Living Memorial Project. (www.septembersmission.org)

Tasting Notes: Dark fruit notes are accented by hints of vanilla and smoke and white pepper. With mild oak aging and tannins that will soften with age, this is an excellent red table wine that can be cellared or enjoyed today. Pair this wine with pork chop, roast, or loin (with herbs, wine/brown sauce, or breaded

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

American Liberty Sword

Another speciality tribute item, this sword is another interesting object. There were many tributes like this, not necessarily swords. I've see plates, motorcycles, figurines (like firefighters), etc.

More info:

The American Liberty Sword by Marto of Toledo Spain was created in memory of the 9/11 Twin Towers disaster and terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. From the top (pommel) of the sword to the tip of the blade, this exclusive sword depicts in symbols the indomitable spirit , love of freedom, liberty and justice of the American people. The pommel of the American Liberty Sword is a clear resin globe , with a scale reproduction of the Statue of Liberty encased within, held aloft by an eagle with wings spread. The hangrip depicts the American flag with the stars and stripes. The quillons of the guard are fashioned with two 24K Gold plated American eagles joined together by a ribbon with the words "E Pluribus Unum" (Out of Many, One) inscribed. The center piece of the guard features a medallion showing the "Scales of Justice" in relief. The tempered stainless steel blade is decorated with 24K Gold etchings depicting numerous historical American symbols including the Liberty Bell and American Indian and cowboy tributes. Whether a collector of swords, Americana, or JUST A PROUD AMERICAN , The American Liberty Sword by Marto of Toledo Spain is an art piece to display with PRIDE!

Jim Beam Tribute Bottle

I would like to say I own this bottle, but then again, the recent price it went for (over $250) was a little bit out of my price range. It is on my wish list. That said, this is a Jim Beam tribute bottle in memory of Terry Farrell, which benefited the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund. The Fund was established in memory of Terry Farrell, a decorated member of Rescue 4/FDNY and Chief of the Dix Hills Volunteer Fire Department. Terry, along with 342 of his brothers, perished on September 11, 2001 in the World Trade Center attack.

The Fund assists firefighters and their families with educational, medical and equipment needs. They support the firefighters who serve all communities. The Terry Farrell Fund is operated predominately by Firefighters along with friends of the Fund. They operate on a volunteer basis in order to give back to the firefighting community.

More info:

In a complimentary feature story appearing in the January 10, 2007 issue of The New York Daily News, Southern Wine & Spirits of New York executive Larry Romer is credited with helping the Farrell family of Wantagh, New York, raise money in honor of the 343 firefighters who perished on 9/11/2001 at the World Trade Center. In partnership with Fortune Brands, Inc., Lincolnshire, Illinois, owner and marketer of Jim Beam Bourbon, a limited edition new label on the best-selling Bourbon bears the number “343” and reads “Terry Farrell Firefighters Scholarship Fund”, appearing next to a picture of a firefighter’s helmet. In New York, Mr. Romer serves as Vice President, General Manager-Spirits, Southern Wine & Spirits of New York, which is a division of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor with a tradition of service excellence since 1968.

According to Mr. Romer, one day about five years ago, he stopped by a bar in his hometown in Wantagh, Long Island, whereupon he learned from the proprietors, Tim and Brian Farrell and their other brothers, that they had set up a fund to honor the memory of their brother, Terry, who died in the 9/11 terror attack at the age of 45. Ever since that meeting, Mr. Romer has worked with senior executives at Fortune Brands to do something to support and pay tribute to this fallen hero’s memory and contribute further to the scholarship fund his two brothers set up in 2001.

Following a series of talks, Fortune Brands agreed to support Mr. Romer’s request that Jim Beam lend its label, via the message and illustration noted above, in support of the Terry Farrell Firefighters Scholarship Fund. The response has been tremendous, the article reports, noting that Dennis Farrell, one of Terry’s four surviving brothers, said that since the limited edition label’s appearance, donations have poured in, reaching a total of $200,000, $80,000 of which is directly attributable to the Jim Beam Limited Edition Label.

In the news article, Mr. Romer is quoted: “This is not just about Terry Farrell. It’s about every firefighter in New York, every volunteer. This is who we are honoring.”

Harvery R. Chaplin, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., said, “On behalf of Wayne E. Chaplin, President and COO, and myself, everyone at Southern is very proud of Larry’s efforts and the participation of Fortune Brands and Jim Beam Bourbon on behalf of the Terry Farrell Firefighters Scholarship Fund. Larry’s work is symbolic of our Company’s longstanding commitment to community service and a tradition of giving back to worthy national, state and local charitable, medical, educational and philanthropic institutions.” As part of the fundraising effort for the Terry Farrell Firefighters Scholarship Fund, Mr. Chaplin said that Fortune Brands is auctioning off two of the remaining cases of Jim Beam Bourbon bearing the special “343” label to its employees, with proceeds going to the fund. Mr. Chaplin added that Southern Wine & Spirits of America will match those funds raised by the Beam “343” auction and add this donation to the Terry Farrell Firefighters Scholarship Fund.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

World Trade Center Tribute Poster

Here is an artist's tribute to September 11th. The poster depicts the Twin Towers filled with representation pictures of the victims, while their names fill the rest of the space surrounding the Towers. Here is an explanation from the artist's website: http://www.exposedinblackandwhite.com/main.html

World Trade Center 9/11/01-0151
Unframed. 80lb vellum vinish, acid-free, archival paper. A signed and limited edition (1-2000), this poster is a tribute to the people who lost their lives at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. When I watched the news reports of the terrorist attack I was stunned by the devastation, the fires, the confusion, the horror. As the days wore on and I walked the streets of New York I saw the photographs that had been tacked up on candle lit memorials, trees and telephone poles. Although the photographs were full of life, the awful truth was that everyone was dead. It is this profound loss of innocent lives and my own need to memorialize their lives rather than their deaths that moved me to create this poster. The buildings in the foreground are filled with representations of the faces of the men and women who had been in the buildings that fateful morning. In the background you can read the names of the men, women and children who were in the towers and in the planes that crashed into them and the gallant policemen and firemen who tried to save them. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to a victims fund and other charities.

DOGNY: America's Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs

Special tribute dog toy by Hartz created in memory of September 11 to recognize search and rescue dogs:

Hartz Mountain is teaming up with the American Kennel Club Kennel Club

the principal body for maintaining stud books and registering purebred dogs in Great Britain. (AKC AKC - Ascending Kleene Chain ) to do its part to help America recover from the Sept 11 disaster.

The Secaucus, NJ.-based pet supply manufacturer has announced that it will be a sponsor of the DOGNY program, a tribute to search and rescue dogs sponsored by the AKC. The program is designed to honor the canine heroes of Sept 11 and to support their counterparts, who are involved in search and rescue operations every day.

As part of the program, Hartz and other companies, including lams, have donated funds for the purchase of life-size fiberglass sculptures of German sheperds that will be placed around New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City

City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. beginning in August. At the condusion of the event, the sculptures will be auctioned off with all revenues going to the fund.

"This is something we think we need to do as part of this industry," says Juliann Krauss, corporate vice president of marketing for Hartz. "We feel this will celebrate the human/animal bond. We see this as a great way to give back to the pet industry and to honor the pets that serve us everyday."

In addition, Hartz has designed a limited edition toy that is for both pets and children. For every toy sold, the company will donate $1 back to The American Kennel Club's Companion Animal Recovery Corporation Canine Support and Relief Fund, an established 501 (3) charity. The toys are available in three styles to commemorate the breeds most often used in search and rescue activities: German shepherd, Labrador retriever Labrador retriever, breed of large sporting dog whose origins are obscure but whose immediate ancestors were developed in Newfoundland and brought to England in the early 1800s. It stands about 23 in. (58.4 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs between 60 and 75 lb (27. and bloodhounds. Each toy comes with a removable red, white and blue bandanna and an embroidered DOGNY logo. Dennis Sprung, the vice president of corporate relations for New York-based AKC, says the funds will be used for the additional training of search and rescue dogs.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Let's Roll" Book Cover

Let's Roll book cover, which features a portion of proceeds go to the Todd Beamer Foundation on the tag.

From Wikipedia:
Flight 93Todd Beamer, a passenger on the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93, tried to place a credit card call through a phone located on the back of a plane seat but was routed to a customer-service representative instead, who passed him on to supervisor Lisa Jefferson. Beamer reported that one passenger was killed and, later, that a flight attendant had told him the pilot and co-pilot had been forced from the cockpit and may have been wounded. He was also on the phone when the plane made its turn in a southeasterly direction, a move that had him briefly panicking. Later, he told the operator that some of the plane's passengers were planning to attack the hijackers and take control of the aircraft. According to Jefferson, Beamer's last audible words were "Are you guys ready? Let's roll."[1]

[edit] Cultural impact This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. You can help by converting this article to prose, if appropriate. Editing help is available. (September 2009)

In November 2001, Neil Young released a song about Beamer and Flight 93 called "Let's Roll." The song was later released on his album Are You Passionate?.

The catchphrase became especially known and popular after being used by President George W. Bush in a speech to AmeriCorps volunteers and during his 2002 State of the Union Address. Even though the phrase was in common use long before September 11, profiteers soon tried to lay claim to it as a trademark. The Todd M. Beamer Foundation was eventually granted a trademark for uses of the phrase relating to "pre-recorded compact discs, audio tapes, digital audio tapes, and phonograph records featuring music."

In the 2002 college football season, the Florida State Seminoles used "Let's Roll" as their official team slogan. After an initial uproar against the team by people who considered its usage in bad taste, the Todd M. Beamer Foundation officially licensed the trademark to the team.

Bobby Labonte drove a 9/11 tribute car with the words "Let's Roll" on the hood of his stock car.

In August 2002, hard rock band LA Guns released "Ok, Let's Roll" in their album Waking the Dead. It, too, was a song about Beamer and Flight 93.

Country music duo The Bellamy Brothers recorded a song called "Let's Roll, America" on their 2002 album Redneck Girls Forever.

In September 2002, dc Talk reunited to record and release "Let's Roll," a single about the September 11, 2001, attacks.

In early 2002, United States Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper ordered that one airplane in each USAF squadron and all USAF demonstration planes would bear an image of an eagle on an American flag with the words "Let's Roll" and "Spirit of 9-11," to remain until the first anniversary of the attack. It was also used by Lisa Beamer, widow of Todd, in a 2003 book titled Let's Roll: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage (ISBN 0-8423-7418-3).

In November 2003, Montreal rock band The Stills released a 9/11-inspired song called "Let's Roll" on their debut album Logic Will Break Your Heart.

George W. Bush's speech is sampled by Jonny L in the tune, "Let's Roll."

The phrase was also used in an episode of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm ("The Survivor", season 4, episode 9). The show's main character, Larry David, says the phrase inadvertently to his rabbi once he and his wife are ready to go out and renew their vows, who then becomes offended because of a relative of his died on September 11, 2001 ("You knew my brother-in-law died on September 11th, how dare you say something like that?!"). Larry takes issue with this, as his rabbi's relative was hit by a bike messenger ("Well, with all due respect, wasn't that just a coincidence?"), in an incident completely unrelated to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In 2004, Melissa Etheridge used the phrase "let's roll" as the conclusion to her song "Tuesday Morning" written in honor of Mark Bingham, one of the Flight 93 passengers who fought back alongside Beamer.

"Let's Roll!" was the 2004 campaign slogan of the Marijuana Party of Canada.

Also in 2004 the New Zealand band Fly My Pretties released a song about marijuana titled "Let's Roll"

In 2006 Ray Stevens released the patriotic song "Let's Roll" on his Box Set.

The phrase appears in the 2009 British black comedy satire film, In The Loop. One British character says to another, "Let's roll." To which the other replies; "You can't say that here, they don't like that."

In the first episode of British TV comedy series Saxondale, a bumper sticker with "Flight 93. Let's Roll" appears on the back of the titular character's Mach I Ford Mustang.

New York Writes After September 11

Collection of NY writers' reaction pieces to 9/11.

From Publishers Weekly
Edited by Ulrich Baer, and drawing on the enormous resources of New York's literary community, 110 Stories: New York Writes After September 11 is a surprisingly supple commemoration of disaster. Short-short stories and poems by New York writers are the collection's raison d'Etre, but personal testimony creeps in as well. The best entries approach the subject most obliquely or humorously-Jonathan Ames's Nabokovian "Womb Shelter," David Hollander's moving "The Price of Light and Air," Nathalie Handal's lovely "The Lives of Rain," Lev Grossman's hilarious "Pitching September 11," among many others. More predictable are the "where-I-was-and-what-I-thought" pieces (often by the better-known writers). Overall, this collection proves the transformative power of art.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
9/11 The barbaric attack on the World Trade Center last September 11 not only altered the New York City skyline but also left a gaping hole in the city's collective consciousness. Edited by NYU literature professor Baer (Remnants of Song; Spectral Evidence), this unique collection of 110 short stories, poems, and brief prose pieces is intended to explore the healing possibilities of language and to document the attempts of some of the most celebrated writers and poets, both American and from abroad, to fill the void. Paul Auster, Amitav Ghosh, Vivian Gornick, Carey Harrison, Richard Kostelanetz, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, and David Trinidad are among the authors featured. Some stories, like Phillip Lopate's "Altering the World We Thought Would Outlast Us" and Peter Carey's "Union Square," deal directly with September 11 and its aftermath; others record more personal encounters with grief and loss, like Lydia Davis's "Grammar Questions," a moving meditation on her dying father. The wide range of writing styles and viewpoints, as well as Art Spiegelman's striking cover art, should make this anthology a popular read this fall. Recommended for all libraries.
William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The America Monopoly Special Edition

This special edition of Monopoly was released shortly after 9/11 (2002-03). The game is a celebration of America's People, Place and Greatness. Clearly influenced by 9/11, the game doesn't directly reference the Twin Towers. But, like many other objects, the patriotic symbolism, content and timing/availability show a direct connection to 9/11 and its influence. Here, the celebration of America and Uncle Sam provide more than enough evidence of the patriotic call to action that washed across the US after 9/11.

Tribute Cup: Uncle Sam Hot Dog

Souvenir cup featuring a tribute to September 11, including a hot dog dressed up as Uncle Sam. Disposable items featuring 9/11 like this were very common.