New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund
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The New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund was created in 1985 by former New York Mets player Rusty Staub and Paddy Burns, who was then the Vice President of the New York Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. Since its inception, the foundation has distributed over $114 million to the families of New York City police and fire personnel who have been killed in the line of duty.
Initially created to assist families of NYPD and FDNY Officers and Firefighters, the fund now includes the families of Emergency Medical Services and Port Authority Officers as well. In 1987 the Fund provided 320 families with annual financial assistance. By 2008, that number had grown to 700 families. The Fund is an independent 501(c)(3) charity and does not receive any federal, state or city dollars but relies exclusively on private donations.
In 2008, six-time Stanley Cup winner Mark Messier joined the Fund's Board of Directors and will serve as a spokesperson. Stephen J. Dannhauser, Chairman of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, is the President and CEO of the Fund. The Fund has created an annual award in honor of its late co-founder, J. Patrick "Paddy" Burns, which was awarded in 2008 to Harrison Ford for his participation in the Fund's public service announcement.
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