NCTA Planning Katrina Relief Fund

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In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association is planning to announce Wednesday the creation of an industry-financed “disaster-relief fund” targeting victims in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region.

Multichannel News learned late Tuesday of the creation of the fund and its disclosure at a press conference Wednesday. An NCTA spokesman, however, could not confirm details late Tuesday.

According to an internal memo, the NCTA, after consulting with various industry leaders, decided to establish a nonprofit fund that would turn to “cable-related companies and employees” for contributions. The money would then be funneled to relief groups that provide direct assistance to disaster victims.

“We’d place special emphasis on aid activities or organizations assisting cable ‘friends and families’ -- industry employees and their loved ones who have been displaced or otherwise affected by Hurricane Katrina. We envision the fund as offering longer-term assistance to recovery operations in the Gulf, with moneys targeted also to rebuilding efforts and resumption of education in the region,” the memo said.

The memo, dated Sept. 4, was a short e-mail circulated among NCTA officials.

The NCTA is also considering nonfinancial relief efforts.

“These could include volunteer efforts by cable employees around the country to provide extraordinary services as part of recovery efforts, as well as working to establish a clearinghouse for housing and employment for cable employees and their families, and other options,” the memo said.

In recent days, many cable-industry executives had been trying to find a way to help out their fellow industry employees and their families.

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