Funds will be aimed at rebuilding and restoring damaged homes to ensure New Yorkers can return to their communities
Iconic New Yorkers join together to produce PSA to raise funds
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the creation of the Empire State relief fund, dedicated to assisting the countless New Yorkers whose homes have been damaged or destroyed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Funds donated will be distributed in the hardest-hit areas across the region, specifically directed at costs associated with providing long-term housing and rebuilding homes. Although some homeowners will receive assistance from private insurance, FEMA, and other funding sources, in many cases New Yorkers will face a substantial gap between the cost of repair or replacement of their homes and the assistance available. The Empire State relief fund will focus on filling the funding gap to ensure that countless New Yorkers can continue to call the Empire State home.
"I have spent much of my career focused on finding housing solutions for families in times of crisis," Cuomo said. "I have seen first-hand the crisis that my fellow New Yorkers are facing right now and they need rebuilding help. The Empire State relief fund will be dedicated to helping them rebuild their homes throughout the affected regions of the state for the long-term, bridging the gap between what the government and private insurance can do and what New Yorkers will ultimately need to rebuild their lives. This will enable citizens to contribute, corporate partners to continue their generous outreach and experts in the area of housing and infrastructure to help in our efforts. The generosity of our fellow citizens will play a big role in helping our residents continue to call New York home for many years to come."
The fund will be overseen by a five-person board, chaired by Jim Simons. The board includes:
James H. Simons (chairman of the board), president of Euclidean Capital, a family office, and board chair of Renaissance Technologies LLC.
William C. Rudin (president), CEO of Rudin Management Company and chairman of the Association for a Better New York.
Jane Rosenthal (secretary), Film and television producer, co-founder and CEO of Tribeca Enterprises and the Tribeca Film Festival, co-founder and co-chair of the non-profit Tribeca Film Institute.
Richard J. Sirota (treasurer), former chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, and chairman of the Walter N. Danrich Foundation.
Ronald E. Blaylock, managing partner at GenNx360 Capital Partners, a private equity firm.
Simons said, "When disaster strikes, New Yorkers have always gone out of their way to help those in need and rebuild. While other funds are aimed at providing emergency supplies and immediate relief, the Empire State relief fund is targeted specifically to rebuild and restore homes in the hardest hit areas throughout the state over the long term. Although Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc and uprooted the lives of countless people, with the support of generous individuals, businesses, and other donors, we can ensure that our state's residents are able to continue to call New York home."
As part of the fund's launch, iconic New Yorkers are joining together and donating their time to produce a public service announcement that will air nationally and throughout the region to help raise money for the fund. Confirmed participants include Matthew Broderick, Ed Burns, Katie Couric, Robert DeNiro, Edie Falco, Jennifer Connelly, Michael J. Fox, Whoopi Goldberg, Ken Howard, David Hyde Pierce, Nathan Lane, Matt Lauer, Julianna Margulies, John McEnroe, Andrew McCarthy, Drew Nieporent, Al Pacino, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Amar'e Stoudemire. Television and cable networks including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC Universal, as well as cable systems Cablevision and Time Warner Cable, have all agreed to air the PSA at no cost. Google has also agreed to assist with promoting the PSAs online. The PSA is being produced pro bono by director Danny Clinch in association with Deutsch Inc. and Tribeca Enterprises.
The Empire State relief fund advises that individuals or organizations looking to donate to the fund should visit www.empirestaterelief.com. To make a $10 donation to the Fund, text "RELIEF" (735433) to 80000.
The Empire State relief fund will devote 100 percent of donations to programs, and does not retain an administrative overhead fee. The fund is in the process of applying for approval as a 501(c)(3) public charity so that all donations will be tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. For more information, visitwww.empirestaterelief.com.
Commitments have been made by: AT&T, James Simons, ABNY Foundation, William and Ophelia Rudin Foundation, Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, United Health Group, Blavatnik Family Foundation, Access Industries, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, PepsiCo, Iconix Brand Group, Signature Bank, Parsons Corp., Rite Aid Corp., Coca Cola Foundation, Friars Club Foundation, Google and others.