From the National Spinal Cord Injury Association


Philanthropist / Entrepreneur Robert Klein Donates Half Million Dollars to Directly Aid Hurricane Survivors with Disabilities

Gift named “The Brian Joseph McCloskey Katrina Survivors with Disabilities Fund”. NSCIA head says “needs of people with disabilities” in hurricane disasters “almost entirely lost” until Klein donation

(Bethesda, MD – November 22, 2005) – A gift of $500,000 for the relief of people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities who survived the ravages of Hurricane Katrina and other recent hurricanes, has been made to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA) by Robert Klein, CEO of Safeguard Properties, Inc. and his wife Ita. The gift is a personal donation from the Kleins. Safeguard Properties is the nation’s largest privately held property preservation/mortgage field services company.  The NSCIA is headquartered in Bethesda Maryland; and Safeguard Properties is based in Brooklyn Heights, Ohio.

Marcie Roth, Executive Director/CEO of the NSCIA said that a special restricted fund, which has been named The Brian Joseph McCloskey Katrina Survivors with Disabilities Fund will be used exclusively to provide direct services to hurricane survivors, especially Katrina survivors, with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities that have a significant impact on daily life and recovery from these devastating hurricanes. The fund has been named in honor of Brian McCloskey, the late 18 year-old son of Joseph McCloskey, a close personal friend of Mr. Klein, who died suddenly last week.

In a statement issued today, Ms. Roth said: “In the midst of the largest natural disaster in this country’s history, the needs of people with disabilities were almost entirely lost. Despite the best efforts of many of my colleagues, the vast philanthropic gestures were all directed to the general relief and recovery needs of people and animals affected by the devastating hurricanes. Thanks to Robert and Ita Klein, NSCIA will be able begin to meet some of the many additional needs of people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities in the Gulf States who have lost everything. Mr. & Mrs. Klein’s vision, leadership and generosity towards these unmet needs is truly breathtaking. We join the Klein family in offering condolences to the McClosky family at this very sad time. We will do all we can to honor Brian’s life and his memory through our efforts to make a very big difference for hurricane survivors with disabilities. Brian’s name will forever be associated with a truly wonderful effort.”

In making the gift, Mr. Klein said: “My company has been working non-stop in the hurricane recovery effort by providing support to homeowners and the mortgage industry in New Orleans and all the Gulf States devastated by

Hurricane Katrina. In addition, as human beings seeing the devastation firsthand, we have been deeply struck and touched by the heartache this and other hurricanes have caused to people with severe disabilities. Their plight has stayed hidden under the radar screen, and it is our hope that this donation will make the first dent in addressing their special needs. It is also our hope that others within the business and philanthropic communities will come forth to help those who have been most in need of recovery and rehabilitation.”

"The generosity of Mr. Robert Klein will be measured not in dollars, but in the restoration of dignity, community and productivity for countless persons with disabilities struggling for recovery following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita," said Margaret J. Giannini, M.D., FAAP, Director of the Office on Disability, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "While considerable effort has focused on the short-term needs of those struggling to rebuild their lives following these twin disasters, Mr. Klein's generous gift will help enhance long-term recovery for persons with serious disabilities in the Gulf Coast region."

Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff has estimated that there are one million people with disabilities who were adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina alone. It is estimated that at least ten percent, or 100,000, were people with significant disabilities, and at least two percent, or 20,000, were those with severe disabilities.

Ms. Roth said that The Brian Joseph McCloskey Katrina Survivors with Disabilities Fund would focus on the following areas:

  • Direct assistance with down payments, deposits and where other resources are not available, cash to rebuild homes
  • Cash to replace durable medical equipment not covered by private insurers, Medicaid or Medicare
  • Assistance in furnishing homes, replacing items that will not be replaced through FEMA and other sources
  • Replacement of vehicles with wheelchair lifts and/or hand-controls for those who have lost them.
  • Advocacy to create disability specific funding to address the additional needs of hurricane survivors with disabilities and to maximize public policy initiatives to address the current disaster mitigation efforts and future events, as they affect people with disabilities

In existence since 1948, NSCIA is the nation's oldest and largest civilian organization dedicated to helping the hundreds of thousands of Americans living with paralysis after spinal cord injury and disease.

To make a donation to the The Brian Joseph McCloskey Katrina Survivors with Disabilities Fund, go to or send check or money order to: NSCIA

c/o Heymann, Suissa & Stone, PC

1 Church Street

Suite 600

Rockville, MD 20850