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PR- 014-05
January 07, 2005


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Chancellor Joel I. Klein, and United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Randi Weingarten today announced that the New York City Department of Education (DOE) and the UFT are partnering to launch a Tsunami Relief Fund in the City's public schools.  Funds collected in the schools during the twelve-week drive will be sent to specially-created New York City public school funds at two leading relief organizations, the American Red Cross in Greater New York and the International Rescue Committee.  A letter announcing the Fund from the Mayor, Chancellor Klein and Ms. Weingarten, as well as Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Jill Levy and District Council 37 President Lillian Roberts, is being sent to all schools today.

"The City is doing all we can to help the survivors of the devastating tsunami, and I am proud to see so many teachers, students and parents are looking for ways to help as well," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The best way New Yorkers can help is to send donations to organizations that provide disaster relief, and this fundraising effort through our schools will help in that process.  I would like to once again extend my deepest sympathies to those who have lost loved ones in this catastrophe."

"All of us in the New York City public school system are proud that our schools, students, and families are joining the worldwide relief effort to help survivors of the tsunami in Asia," Chancellor Klein said.  "Our students have been learning about the devastating effects of the tsunami both in class and at home.  Working together, we have created a program that will not only provide funds for the relief effort; it will also help our children and our communities come to terms with the disaster."

"Our goal is to make sure that teachers, students, parents and administration come together as a school community to figure out how they are going to raise funds, which we have asked the IRC and the Red Cross to dedicate to children and to the rebuilding of the education infrastructure in the affected areas," UFT President Randi Weingarten said.

"We are honored to be one of the organizations designated to receive the donations of New York's students," said Theresa A. Bischoff, CEO of the American Red Cross in Greater New York.  "Many children have taken the initiative to collect funds for the victims of this tragedy, and this provides a wonderful way to channel their compassion."

"The International Rescue Committee is gratified to have the support of Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein and UFT President Weingarten," said George Rupp, President of the International Rescue Committee. Gifts from the children and teachers of New York City will demonstrate American generosity at its finest and will be warmly received by the people of Aceh, Indonesia, who have suffered greatly."

As part of this effort, the DOE has waived the Chancellor's Regulation setting limits on the number of school fundraisers.  Each and every New York City public school is invited to take part in this charitable campaign on a voluntary basis.  Events already being organized by schools throughout the City include bake sales, community fundraisers, and coin drives. 

The new fundraising effort will continue until April 1, 2005.  Donations may be provided in cash or checks made out to the American Red Cross in Greater New York School Fund or the International Rescue Committee NYC School Tsunami Relief Fund.

The Mayor's Office of Emergency Management (OEM), in conjunction with Departments of Transportation, Environmental Protection, Sanitation and Parks, is also working to send 12 pieces of heavy equipment to affected countries.  The equipment will include dump trucks, back hoes, and front loaders.  OEM is working with the State Department to secure transport by air or sea.

Those wishing to make donations to relief organizations can also make a contribution to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, City Hall, New York, NY 10007 and note on the check that the donation is for tsunami relief.  For more information, New Yorkers should call 311.


Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958

Jerry Russo   (Dept. of Education)
(212) 374-5141

Dick Riley (UFT)   (212) 598-9233

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