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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 19, 2006

President Meets with Foundations to Help Aid Gulf Coast Recovery
Room 350
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

      In Focus: Hurricane Recovery

2:07 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Laura and I are so thankful that Dr. Francis and Leland Speed -- Dr. Francis is from Louisiana, Mr. Leland Speed is from Mississippi -- are here to brief not only Don Powell and myself, and Laura, but also members of the compassion community here in America. We've got charities from all across the country, foundations from all across the country who have come to listen to the needs of the good people in Mississippi and Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region.

Don and I talked about the commitment of the federal government -- we've committed $85 billion thus far. But we also made it very clear that we're going to need the help of -- the continued help, I might add, of America's charities and foundations. Part of making sure the money is spent well is to hear from the local folks about what is needed; how can we help; how best can the money be spent.

And that's exactly what we've done today. We're going to make sure that the federal money is spent wisely and local money and charitable money is spent wisely, as well, all aimed at making sure that the folks in Louisiana and Mississippi get back on their feet and this vital region of our country is up and running again. There's no doubt in my mind that out of this incredible devastation will come a better tomorrow.

And, again, I want to thank all the people who have taken time out of your busy schedules to come and show your interest and represent your foundations, and let the good folks know in that troubled part of the world that their voices of despair and concern are being heard all around the country.

So thank you all for coming. I appreciate it very much.

END 2:09 P.M. EST

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