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September 11th Fund to start sending checks

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Funds raised by an all-star TV tribute broadcast 10 days after the September 11 terror attacks will be distributed to those affected by the tragedy beginning Christmas Eve, the September 11th Fund announced Monday.

Some 18,000 checks -- an initial mailing totaling $60 million -- will be distributed as a result of the new $75 million Cash Assistance Program announced December 12.

"America: A Tribute to Heroes," broadcast September 21 by major U.S. networks after the attacks in New York and Washington, garnered more than $100 million. Stars such as Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Robert De Niro and Julia Roberts participated in the televised fund-raiser.

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"The generosity of the American people have made it possible for us to deliver this additional assistance at a key time," said Joshua Gotbaum, CEO and executive director of the September 11th Fund.

"We're pleased that we could move quickly and get these checks into people's hands without additional paperwork."

People who were injured or families who lost loved ones will receive a payment of $10,000, and those who were displaced from their homes or jobs as a direct result of the attacks and who are in need will receive $2,500, the fund announced. Additional mailings are planned throughout January.

The September 11th Fund was established by the New York Community Trust and United Way of New York City to meet the immediate and long-term needs of victims, families and communities affected by the September attacks.

As of last week, the fund had received $380 million in contributions, $112 million of which was collected as a result of donations to the "America: Tribute to Heroes" telethon.

By the end of the year, $143 million will be distributed or committed to victims, families and communities affected by the disaster, according to the September 11th Fund.

Royalties and net profits generated by sales of the "Tribute to Heroes" CD, DVD and VHS will continue to be deposited into the telethon fund and will be used for additional assistance to victims and families over time, the September 11th Fund said.


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