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Clinton, Dole behind fund to aid victims' families

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former President Bill Clinton and former presidential candidate Bob Dole announced Saturday they would spearhead an effort to raise scholarship funds for the children and spouses of victims of this month's terrorist attacks.

The longtime political rivals lent their support to the recently established Families for Freedom Scholarship Fund, citing the long-term needs of people who lost parents or spouses on September 11.

"This can be a living memorial... long after the TV is gone and long after we move on to the next event," said Dole, the former Senate majority leader. "By this effort, these young people ... will understand that somebody, somebody in America cared enough to make a contribution, to make it possible for them to pursue their dreams."

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The program is the second education-related initiative geared to assist victims' families. A week after the attacks, Gov. George E. Pataki said New York state will provide free college educations at state universities for family members of World Trade Center victims.

The fund, which has already raised at least $3 million, provides financial assistance to be used for post-secondary education by children and spouses of those killed or permanently disabled in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. The program, organized by a private group called the Citizens Scholarship Foundation of America, will help family members of victims from inside and outside the United States.

Clinton and Dole were asked to head the foundation in hopes spurring fund-raising efforts. Dole ran against Clinton in an unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 1996, when Clinton was re-elected to a second term.

"There is no more important long-term need than to see that the children that were affected by this tragedy, when they come of age, will have the opportunity to have an education," Clinton said.

The scholarship fund will have an "immediate and enormous psychological effect on families that are feeling bereft," he added.


• Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund

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