Bank That Lost 66 Workers on 9/11 has Paid for All Their Kids to Go to College
In the days after 9/11, bankers that worked in the WTC set up a foundation to pay college tuition for all 76 children of their fallen colleagues. The results...
On Sept. 11, 2001, 66 men and women who worked for the investment banking firm Sandler O’Neill & Partners on the 104th floor in the World Trade Center lost their lives.
In the harrowing days following the terrorist attacks, the company made the decision to set up a foundation to pay college tuition for all the 76 children of their fallen colleagues.
I called the Sandler O’Neill Foundation the other day to talk about those children, and learned that 54 young men and women have had their college tuition paid so far, with 22 young men and women still eligible.
The 54 who are now attending or have attended college have gone to every sort of school imaginable — from Stanford to Notre Dame to community colleges and technical institutes.
Four students have attended Boston College, the alma mater of Welles Crowther, the 24-year-old Sandler O’Neill employee who saved as many as 12 people in the south tower before running back upstairs to save more people and never being seen again.
The youngest child eligible was born six weeks after September 11. When that child graduates from college, the Sandler O’Neill Foundation will cease to exist, except in memory; but what a resounding memory it will be.
Andy Armstrong was one of the founders of the foundation. Though he did not work for Sandler O’Neill, he was a friend of Sandler’s surviving partner, Jimmy Dunne. He and others of Dunne’s friends and colleagues – as well as banking competitors – helped set up and endow the foundation.
“We were up and running by the end of the first week,” Armstrong says. “We wanted the families of the lost to know that we would always remember, that the passing years would never sweep this under the rug. People donated many millions of dollars to set up the foundation. We have no salaries and no expenses except fees to stay extant.”