Investment bank gives $1,000 gift cards to storm survivors

Grateful smiles: Karla Anderson and her first-grade daughter Kenya Paulino show off the $1,000 debit card they received from the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund on Jan. 11 at PS 329 in Coney Island.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Hurricane-hurt families headed to two Coney Island elementary schools on Jan. 11 to receive $1,000 in assistance money from financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald.

The investment bank handed out free, $1,000 pre-paid debit cards to families of students at PS 90 on W. 12th Street between Surf and Neptune avenues and at PS 329 between Surf and Mermaid avenues, two of the 19 Sandy-smacked schools the company is helping.

Edie Lutnick, executive director of Cantor Fitzgerald’s relief fund, said the giveaway was part of a continuing tradition of philanthropy for the company — once headquartered in the World Trade Center — that started with the relatives of those killed on America’s darkest day.

“We have taken the knowledge gleaned from assisting the 9-11 community and applied it to families impacted by super storm Sandy, providing them with direct financial assistance,” said Lutnick.

The company has already given Sandy victims more than $1,000,000 worth of cards — which families can charge for anything they want — and plan to return to the People’s Playground on Jan. 18 at PS 188 on Neptune Avenue between W. 33rd and W. 35th streets. The only requirement to receive a card is that parents must have a child enrolled in the school.

Allison Lutnick — sister-in-law to Edie and wife of Cantor Fitzgerald’s chairman and chief executive officer Howard Lutnick — said the firm decided to help out Sandy survivors because the large number of its personnel come from and still live in storm-wounded areas.

“We created the relief fund’s school adoption program to help families in communities that were among the hardest hit by the storm, and which many of our employees care deeply about and some call home,” she said.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

More from Around New York