Red Cross to Distribute $317 Million in Liberty Fund By Year's End

The American Red Cross announced yesterday that it would distribute $317.5 million from the Liberty Disaster Fund for families affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by Dec. 31, leaving another $350 million to be distributed next year.

The organization also announced that former United States Senator George Mitchell agreed to act as the independent overseer of the Liberty Fund going forward.

Controversy arose in October when the Red Cross said it expected to distribute only $300 million of the money donated to the fund, which was set up shortly after the attacks. It said the rest of the money would be earmarked for use in case of future terrorist incidents.

However, public and governmental criticism forced the Red Cross to re-evaluate that plan.

The Liberty Fund stopped soliciting donations following the flap and money received after Oct. 31 went into the general disaster relief fund unless the donor specified otherwise. Donations to the Red Cross normally are fed into a general fund to be used for all types of disaster relief.

The Red Cross will release its plan for the distribution of the balance of the Liberty Fund at the end of January.

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