by howard w. lutnick | August 24, 2009 | Lifestyle
ABOVE: Eli Manning and Lady Gaga volunteering at this year's Charity Day. BELOW: Howard W. Lutnick
The World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 killed 658 of Cantor Fitzgerald’s 960 New York-based employees, our colleagues, friends and loved ones— everyone who was at work that day in the North Tower, including my 36-year-old brother Gary.
Our firm not only survived this unimaginable toll, but has rebuilt and fl ourished. Remarkably we opened for business 48 hours after the attacks. Driven by our colleagues in London, by those in New York who hadn’t been in the offi ce that morning and by the hundreds upon hundreds of new employees who have joined us, Cantor has established a premier position in the global capital markets, built a portfolio of innovative new businesses and now is not only larger but more than twice as profi table. BGC Partners, the successor to Cantor’s inter-dealer broker business that was decimated on 9/11, is now public (Nasdaq:BGCP) and has become one of the largest and most successful wholesale intermediaries serving the fi nancial markets worldwide.
But this is not simply a business success story. In the aftermath of 9/11, we chose to work harder than ever because we wanted to help 658 families. With our commitment to give 25 percent of the firm’s profits for five years to the families of those who perished, Cantor has provided those affected with more than $180 million, including 10 years’ of healthcare benefits for people who need them.
Continuing this caring legacy, each year on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks Cantor and BGC operate their businesses as a global Charity Day, during which all revenues worldwide are donated to charities as our way of commemorating those we lost on 9/11. On that day guest celebrity “brokers” help raise money, conducting trades with our clients alongside licensed brokers.
A host of celebrities and athletes graciously joined us this year on our New York trading floor. Participants included Lady Gaga; Ivanka Trump; Eli Manning and Coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants; the Yankees’ A.J. Burnett; Boomer Esiason; Wilson Chandler of the New York Knicks; Whoopi Goldberg; the Today show’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Natalie Morales; Dr. Ruth; Tony Sirico and Lorraine Bracco from The Sopranos; Fox broadcasters Liz Claman, Alexis Glick, Charles Payne and Megyn Kelly; Bloomberg’s Deirdre Bolton; CNBC’s Bill Griffeth; Susan Lisovicz from CNN; and sports legends Bernie Williams, Roy White, Dwight Gooden, Rusty Staub, John Starks, Brian Leetch and Rod Gilbert.
We are truly grateful for everyone’s support. On that single day this year we raised more than $13 million for charities—totaling more than $65 million since 2002. With these funds, we help children by investing in medical research as well as taking care of those with special needs, provide support for injured veterans and assist medical and social-service organizations in the New York metro area and around the world. Charity Day for us is very special, as it turns the most difficult day of the year into something positive and uplifting.
PHOTOGRAPH BY A.E. FLETCHER (MANNING)