The Puerto Rico Bankers Association will kick off a new decade of commitment to community development on the island with this week’s celebration of the 11th edition of “Community Reinvestment Week,” Oct. 7-11.
The event will feature conferences and forums focusing on the role of nonprofits as formulators of public policy and the support they provide to the banking industry to boost community economic development on the island.
“We’re moving forward, firmly and committed to our mission to contribute to promoting the welfare of communities and their residents. We will continue creating and collaborating with education initiatives, self-management and rehabilitation projects, in addition to stimulating the development of affected communities, while contributing to energize our economy for the benefit of all of Puerto Rico’s citizens,” Bankers Association President José Rafael Fernández said.
This week’s agenda includes recognizing the support and work conducted by community leaders and their partners in favor of Puerto Rico’s wellbeing. This year, the Raúl Ameijeiras Award — given to a person who has made significant contributions to community development and social justice — will go to Sister Nancy Madden-George, founder of the Community Education and Service Program, known as P.E.C.E.S. Inc. in Humacao.
Among other accomplishments, the nonprofit has focused on the capacity of youth as a force for change in the community, which led to establishing a high school specializing on dropouts, and the establishment of the first recycling company owned by a nonprofit.
“The choice was difficult. In Puerto Rico there is a wealth of leaders committed to their communities and to the island. These are precisely the values that the award wants to highlight and this year the decision was unanimous,” said Vanessa Piñeiro, chairwoman of the Bankers Association community reinvestment committee.
“We’re convinced Sister Nancy is definitely an agent of positive change and her vision has pushed P.E.C.E.S to become a development model that transcends its own community to benefit Puerto Rico,” she said.
Meanwhile, the week’s top event will be the Community Economic Development meeting to take place Friday, when Gov. Alejandro García-Padilla will discuss his administration’s strategies for community development. A panel discussion is also scheduled for that day, when a group of local and international industry leaders will discuss issues such as microfinance and community development competitiveness.
The week’s events also include: a workshop on geography and the census at the FirstBank building in Río Piedras, on Tuesday; the 21st Annual Housing Congress at the Sheraton Convention Center on Wednesday; and a workshop on non-traditional financing for community economic development on Thursday.