Project Liberty Sees Spike in Calls After '9/11' Showing

Though one nonprofit organization experienced a flurry of calls after its public service announcement aired Sunday night as part of the CBS “9/11” documentary, it is unclear what response the other featured charities received.

Project Liberty's toll-free crisis hotline at 800/LIFENET got seven times as many calls as on a regular Sunday night.

“They did experience a significant spike,” said Roger Klingman, director of the public information office, New York State Office of Mental Health, Albany, NY. “Between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., they received about 140 calls. Normally on a Sunday night they'd get about 20.”

About 39 million people watched the documentary, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings. Official numbers will be released today.

Numbers for Project Liberty's Web site were not available yet, Klingman said, and are tallied weekly. Project Liberty is a nonprofit formed by the state Office of Mental Health to provide free counseling, education and referral services to people affected by the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Another organization that had a spot air was the September 11th Fund, which was the disaster relief fund set up by The United Way of New York City and New York Community Trust. Like Project Liberty, the September 11th Fund was not soliciting donations but directing people to a toll-free hotline.

Calls for comment were not returned.

The only organization featured during the broadcast that did request donations was the Uniformed Firefighters Association. Potential donors were directed to the CBS Web site for more information about giving to the organization's scholarship fund. A link from CBS' Web site gave a postal address to send money or the option to donate online through VeriSign. However, a UFA spokesman said he had no way to track how many online donations were made afterward, and CBS and VeriSign did not return calls for comment.

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