Dec 05, 2001 | By Russell Pomeranz

When Charity Gets Complicated

To the Editor:

Re ''Gifts to Rescuers Divide Survivors'' (front page, Dec. 2):

Your description of the difficulties arising from distributing charitable gifts to surviving families of the World Trade Center disaster proves a point counter to what the media and Congress have led us to believe. It actually tells us that the Red Cross, given the amount of money to be disbursed, might have been on the right track by allocating a portion of its charitable gifts to purposes other than direct grants to victims.

As someone who lives in Battery Park City and who found the Red Cross to be helpful and available, I believe that the criticism it received was a disservice to the workers and volunteers who made heroic contributions to the cleanup efforts.

As the director of finance for a nonprofit organization, I also understand the Red Cross's need to maintain its organizational structure to provide the same level of service in the future.

The Red Cross deserves to be cited for its good works, not its actuarial approach to disbursing donations.

This article is reprinted from a letter to the editor that appeared in the New York Times on December 5, 2001.