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Katrina relief fund to distribute $90 million

From Phil Hirschkorn
CNN

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Former Presidents Bush and Clinton discuss their fund to help Katrina victims with Larry King Wednesday.

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(CNN) -- Former U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton announced Wednesday the recipients of $90 million of Hurricane Katrina relief money, unveiling the grants at the University of New Orleans.

The Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, a tax-exempt charity established to assist the recovery that has raised $110 million from individual and corporate donors, will distribute the first amounts in three grants.

They include:

  • $40 million to funds established by the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama for non-governmental needs.
  • $30 million to more than 30 colleges and secondary schools in the three states.
  • $20 million to a ministers fund, administered by an executive committee of clergy, to address the needs of their communities and congregations.
  • The school money will be earmarked to repair campus buildings, pay teachers whose schools are closed and assist displaced students, according to a news release on the fund's Web site.

    "Universities and colleges are the cornerstones of communities across the region. Helping them get back on their feet is a key to the long-term recovery of the Gulf," Bush said.

    "These institutions need to re-establish themselves to give people hope that the foundations of their communities will be there now and in the future," Clinton said. "Colleges and universities not only train new workers but they are often the largest employers in their communities."

    Bush and Clinton also planned to tout the importance of faith-based organizations.

    "In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, local and national churches and religious organizations were tremendously helpful in providing for the needs of the people of the Gulf Coast, but at extreme financial strain," Clinton said.

    The former presidents also named former U.S. Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, who served in the Clinton administration, and former U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, who served in the current Bush administration, as co-chairs overseeing the grants program.

    In addition to the education grants, Bush and Clinton will partner with historically black colleges to raise more money, and work with Black Entertainment Television (BET) and Jet magazine to publicize the ongoing effort.

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