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Cantor Fitzgerald gives $US10 million in aid to families hit by Superstorm Sandy

Cantor Fitzgerald, its relief fund and its affiliate BGC Partners will donate a total of $US10 million to the families in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island and New Jersey.

Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick said each family will receive a debit card with $US1000 on it.

Mr Lutnick said he learned after Cantor’s devastating loss of so many employees with young children that help should come with no strings attached.

“The best way to take care of a family is to put money in the hands of the parents and let them decide what to do,” he said.

A man sorts through donated clothing at a Superstorm Sandy aid distribution centre in Staten Island this week.

“Maybe they need a couch and maybe they need to go to Toys R Us and buy their kids a present.”

Cantor Fitzgerald’s headquarters on the 101st through 105th floors of One World Trade Center were destroyed when terrorists struck the tower, and the company lost two-thirds of its New York work force. Mr Lutnick was not in the office but his brother Gary Lutnick was killed. The company’s death toll was by far the largest of any single employer.

The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund run by Mr Lutnick’s sister Edie Lutnick was established to aid the families of Cantor employees lost on Sept. 11 but its scope has since expanded to include scores of charities around the world.

Each year on Sept. 11 the company donates the day’s revenues to charity and employees donate their day’s pay. The effort raised $US12 million last September.

A flag waves from the top of the Jet Star Roller Coaster in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. The boardwalk, made famous by Jersey Shore, was swept away by Sandy.

“We wanted to have a way that we could memorialise those that we lost in a way that was positive, and to do good things,” Edie Lutnick said.

She said that when Sandy hit the region last October the relief fund immediately wanted to help. The schools selected for aid are in areas where Cantor employees live or have other connections.

“We’re really excited that we have the opportunity to help the families from these 19 schools to let them know that communities matter and that we care,” Ms Lutnick said.

The Lutnicks were to join US Senator Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) and other officials at Public School 256 in Far Rockaway overnight to hand out the first cash cards.

Cantor Fitzgerald has been affected by Sandy too. The firm moved its headquarters to midtown after the 2001 attacks but it had more than 500 employees at an office on Water Street in lower Manhattan when the storm hit. They relocated to Cantor’s other offices, Mr Lutnick said. The Water Street site has still not reopened.

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