General Biz News

Google.org announces $2M matching campaign for P.R. recovery

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is the campaign spokesperson.

Google.org has launched a campaign focused on Puerto Rico’s economic recovery, committing to match up to $2 million in donations made June 8-20, 2018.

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is the campaign spokesperson, with other celebrities joining to amplify the campaign via social media, Google executives said.

Funds raised will target the most important sector in Puerto Rico’s economic recovery —small and medium businesses (SMBs) — with an emphasis on tourism, agriculture and fisheries.

“I am grateful to Google.org for their commitment to helping Puerto Rico in such an impactful way. Everyone on the island is working hard every day to recover from the devastation of Hurricane María,” said Miranda, whose parents are Puerto Rican.

“This new campaign comes at the perfect time to harness the robust energy and enthusiasm still felt by people all over the world. I’m happy to do whatever I can to help raise awareness,” said Miranda.

Two nonprofits, Hispanic Federation and Mercy Corps, will be the beneficiaries of the funds. Google.org will support this effort with an approach to philanthropy that is unique to Google — grants, tools and volunteers.

When Hurricane María made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017, the impact was catastrophic. By the time the winds died down and waters receded, there was an island-wide power outage, cherished natural reserves had been destroyed and Puerto Rico’s infrastructure was decimated.

Nearly nine months later hurricane season is once again upon us. The need for economic recovery is urgent. Twenty percent of small and medium businesses haven’t reopened, tourism is at an all-time low and power is intermittent.

With so many needs, Google.org wanted to help connect Puerto Ricans with support to revitalize their businesses. Small and medium businesses are interconnected to many other industries and helping them will cause a positive ripple effect throughout the island.

“One out of three workers in Puerto Rico is employed by these businesses,” said Héctor Mujica, Google.org’s Regional Manager for Latin America.

“When we decided to return to Puerto Rico to offer support tailored to this stage of its recovery, we pursued an approach that looked not only at what funding could do for small businesses, but how our own in-house resources could amplify the impact,” he said.

This effort began a few weeks ago when 35 of Google’s Latino employees, many with direct ties to Puerto Rico, traveled to the island to volunteer and offer guidance to business owners. They brought not only their expertise in various business fields, but also digital tools designed by Google to help businesses improve their economic outlook.

Alfredo García, a Development Manager, was one of them: “As a Puerto Rican Googler, I felt a strong sense of responsibility to help the island get back on its feet. As Google, we can provide business tools, resources and knowledge, in addition to funding that can help support the economy.”

The next stage of support is the Google.org matching campaign, which will run June 8-20, 2018, through a dedicated landing page. Google.org will support Mercy Corps and Hispanic Federation, which will approach economic revitalization with complementary efforts:

  • The Hispanic Federation will support SMBs, revitalize agricultural industries and help communities transition to sustainable (resilient) materials and structures.
  • Mercy Corps will support economic revitalization of tourism-oriented SMBs as well as supporting agricultural and fishery businesses.

Both organizations will provide cash grants, technical assistance and training to emerging or existing businesses.

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