Cantor Fitzgerald Gives Sandy Aid
Parents of local school children walked out of PS 43 with a little extra in their pockets on January 10th when The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, in conjunction with Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC Partners, began handing out $1,000 prepaid debit cards to each family from selected schools. In addition to PS 43, other schools getting the gifts included PS 114 and PS 256.
Howard Lutnick, the chair of Cantor Fitzgerald, explained how his employees figured into which schools were chosen.
“These were the schools that [we felt] were the hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy and whose families could use some help,” said Lutnick. He added that the schools “have a connection to my firm” through his employees.
“Which means that I have employees who live here or employees who grew up here,” he said.
As an example he pointed to one volunteer who is the wife of one of his employees. “She grew up five blocks from here [Beach 29th Street] and her brother still lives five blocks from here.”
The company experienced its own tragedy when 658 of its 960 employees were killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. Each year on September 11th, Cantor and BGC donate the day’s revenues, and employees donate their day’s pay, to the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund to aid charities all over the world. Last September the annual Charity Day raised $12 million.
The firm is giving away $10 million to 10,000 families in 19 schools in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Long Island and the New Jersey area. The money can be used however the parent best sees fit.
“Putting money in a parent’s hand to take care of their children is the most beautiful thing that you can do, because they know how to take care of their family,” said Lutnick.
Distribution of the cards will continue through March. Lutnick explained that PS 256 was chosen as the kickoff for the distribution because, “The families who are part of 256 had such a difficult time as it was before the storm, so to be affected by the storm and have a kid with special needs, it seemed the perfect place to start the program.”
Among those attending the charity kickoff was Senator Charles Schumer, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder.