Fred Gabler was 30 years old on September 11th, 2001. Freddie was a practical joker who loved getting a rise out of people. He loved watching sports, especially football. Freddie loved a lot of things, but nothing more than that he and his wife were expecting their first child.
Billy "Scoop" Esposito was older than Fred. He was married with two grown children and a wife that adored him. He was a generous man. Each Christmas he cooked for 60 or more friends and family, a practice his family continues in his honor.
Todd Ouida was single. He had a brilliant smile, a carefree laugh and a subtle, witty sense of humor. His parents and sibling mourn his death.
They are missed every day. Even now. 12 years later.
You have probably never heard of Fred Gabler, William Esposito, or Todd Ouida. You may have heard of Cantor Fitzgerald and the tragic and collective loss we all suffered when 658 fine men and women on the 101st-105th floor of One World Trade Center were taken from us on September 11th, 2001.
You probably have also never heard of the hundreds of Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund families that have transformed unthinkable devastation into positive legacy by undertaking charitable endeavors. Fred, Billy and Todd's are a few.
The Fred Gabler Helping Hand Camp Fund sends underprivileged children to existing camps with all the supplies that they need. They ensure the camp experience is completely free of charge.
A Caring Hand: The Billy Esposito Foundation is a bereavement center in Manhattan where any child that has lost a parent can go for support. They have a waiting list.
The Todd Ouida Children's Foundation financially supports psychological services and mental health initiatives for children including raising awareness and reducing the stigma of anxiety and depression disorders in children.
These are just three of the hundreds of grassroots charities, born out of tragedy that we have the privilege of assisting through Cantor Fitzgerald and BGCPartners' annual charity day. Started in 2006 to provide a positive and uplifting way to honor those lost, on September 11th, 2001 Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC Partners' donate 100% of their global revenues to charity.
The success of charity day, along with donations from the public, enable us to assist hundreds of deserving not-for-profits and accomplish major initiatives such as our SuperStorm Sandy Family Relief program and Moore Oklahoma tornado relief efforts.
It is my honor of to share the inspiring stories of The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund families. Their strength and resilience are the cornerstones of every speech and lecture I give as we take the lessons we have learned and apply them going forward. Working in philanthropy I am moved by the stories I hear. Time and again I am inspired by the way people have turned personal tragedy into missions larger than themselves for the betterment of their communities and the world.
It amazes me how many grass roots organizations exist that you and I are unaware of that quietly go about their good work. It explains why 86% of charitable giving goes to only 1% of the 1.6 million not- for-profits listed in this country. I have encountered countless organizations doing phenomenal work. I started thinking there should be a blog called, "I have never heard of you" which would highlight deserving organizations, with boots on the ground efforts that don't have the funding or expertise to engage in marketing.
Last year I wrote a piece called: Honor the Past By Building a Positive Future asking readers to choose the name of a September 11th victim in honor and remembrance of 9/11. It could be my 36 year old brother Gary Lutnick, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee, or any of the innocents who died that day. I asked you to learn something about that person and then undertake an act of kindness in their name. This year I renew that request but add a suggestion.
Look in your community for organizations that engage in the kind of work you admire. Support them in any way that you can: through donations, through volunteer efforts, or by promoting them to others.
This year in memory of my brother Gary we will be starting a new website called IHAVENEVERHEARDOFYOU.com. Once it is up and running, the website will, every few weeks, highlight a not-for-profit that is making a difference, one that most people have never heard of that deserves the spotlight. When you visit IHAVENEVERHEARDOFYOU.com you will be able to nominate a charity you admire by submitting their story. Together we can make a difference. Together we can ensure that 86% of charitable giving goes to more than 1% of the not-for-profits in the U.S. Let's start reading, talking, learning from and supporting the charities that have been there for us in times of need. Let's give charities that embody our ideals and our values a voice. Let's spread the word so that these charities benefit not just from our financial and volunteer support, but receive support from a much broader community.
We can help these organizations better complete their mission if we raise awareness of them. Let's help them thrive and in return help each other. Let's turn the phrase "I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF YOU" into a positive forum for discussion, support and most importantly, for change.