20th anniversary of 9/11: Here's how to donate to charities today

We've come up with a few ways you can commemorate Patriot Day, two decades after the tragic events of Sept. 11.

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Katie Teague
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You can donate to a charity to help support families affected by 9/11.

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Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the US that killed nearly 3,000 people -- also known as Patriot Day. The devastating events that took place in New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, stunned many Americans as they watched and worried. 

Following the attacks, many Americans united to help support families and emergency workers in need by donating to emergency funds. And there are many charities that continue to help families affected by 9/11. 

For instance, the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, co-founded by former President Bill Clinton, is still helping to pay for postsecondary education for dependents of those killed or permanently disabled during the 9/11 attacks. The organization has roughly 3,000 students left to provide for, with over $176 million in scholarships awarded since 2001.

Also, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation is working to pay off mortgages of those who died while in the line of duty on Sept. 11 to ensure stability and security for families that faced loss. 

If you'd like to help those who are still recovering from the attacks, we've provided a list of charity organizations that are accepting donations. As always, make sure you vet any charity before sending money.

Charities accepting donations for families affected by 9/11

FDNY Foundation is the official nonprofit of the New York City Fire Department. The organization accepts donations to help provide training and equipment to the fire department.

9/11 Day is a nonprofit that created and annually organizes the Sept. 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. The organization is accepting PayPal donations to help pay for meals for first responders and to organize hunger relief projects.

Tunnel to Towers Foundation honors the memory of firefighter Stephen Siller, "who laid down his life to save others on Sept. 11," as well as military and other first responders. The organization accepts donations to help pay off mortgages for firefighters and police officers who lose their lives in the line of duty.

Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund accepts donations to provide scholarships to students whose families were directly affected by the attacks.

Wounded Warrior Project provides support to military members who experienced a physical or mental injury, illness or wound on or after Sept. 11, 2001. Donations go toward programs and services, such as mental health and long-term rehabilitative care. 

USA Cares provides assistance to post-9/11 veterans and military families from all branches of service. Donations help give these service members housing, emergency and career transition assistance.

Tuesday's Children helps families whose lives have been affected by terrorism, military conflict or mass violence. It's accepting donations to help provide services for these families.

New York City Police Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides resources for the NYPD to help improve the quality of its services. Donations go towards programs to prevent violent crimes and terrorism, and to keep New York citizens safe.

Other ways you can help people impacted by 9/11

While donations are one way to support the victims and families of the 9/11 attacks, they're certainly not the only way you can help. There are many organizations, including some above, looking for volunteers to get involved. Here are some ideas.

  • Start a fundraiser
  • Volunteer for an organization
  • Attend events supporting the cause
  • Help package food for affected families
  • Use social media to spread awareness about organizations still helping families

For more information, here's what to know about Jon Stewart and Pete Davidson's 9/11 benefit. Also, here are new movies, TV series and documentaries examining that fateful day.