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Clinton Foundation gets update on post-María recovery in Humacao

Foundation for Puerto Rico and P.E.C.E.S., as well as local small business owners, provided an update of its Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative to President Bill Clinton, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and members of the Clinton Foundation during their visit to Puerto Rico.

Led
by the Foundation, the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative aims to
support communities in their long-term sustainable recovery through
collaborative efforts with local community leaders.

During
the update, the delegation visited small businesses Olas restaurant, Kremey,
Water Sports & Ecotours at Humacao Natural Reserve, and Kolore.

“Foundation
for Puerto Rico is committed to the social and economic development of our
communities through multisectoral collaborations,” said Annie Mayol, president of
the Foundation for Puerto Rico.

“Through
the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative, our goal is to help communities
recover quicker and develop resilience for their long-term economic growth by
creating, in alliance with key stakeholders, a Community Destination
Development Plan to cultivate economic opportunities focused on the visitor
economy and help increase both local and international tourism,” she said.

As
part of the initiative, it is critical that community members take a front row
seat in the revitalization planning and implementation, she said.

In
the case of Punta Santiago, the Foundation joined forces with P.E.C.E.S.
leveraging their community knowledge, experience and commitment.

“The
objective is to co-design the entire process with our partners and the
community,” added Mayol.

P.EC.E.S.,
founded in 1985, provides prevention services, education and entrepreneurial
training to communities in Puerto Rico’s southeastern region to foster
socioeconomic development.

Its
leader, José Oquendo said, “the collaboration with Foundation for Puerto Rico
and its Bottom Up Initiative has been an excellent opportunity to revive the
community and help P.E.C.E.S. to reactivate our people both socially and
economically. This approach should lead to sustainable development based on
mutual collaboration and solidarity.”

In
April of 2018, the Clinton Foundation, as part of the Clinton Global Initiative
(CGI) Action Network, recognized the Foundation’s work of providing capital and
mentoring to small businesses on the island after Hurricane María.

Foundation
for Puerto Rico committed to expand the Bottom Up Destination Recovery
Initiative in partnership with local nonprofits Centro para Emprendedores,
Grupo Guayacán, Kiva and Fundación Banco Popular, among others.

“This
visit and the support from Foundation for Puerto Rico has brought a lot of
benefits. They have been concerned about small businesses in places where they
have a hard time to make themselves heard and make sure that there is awareness
that Punta Santiago is here to receive them with open arms,” said Lourdes Román,
owner of Kreamy, a local ice-cream shop.

Bottom Up: Punta Santiago
The Punta Santiago
community, through the Bottom Up Program, has focused on three of its main
tourist assets: the Humacao Natural Reserve, which includes lagoons, hiking
trails, mangroves and abundant bird life, the Villa Pesquera or fishing village
and Cayo Santiago, a University of Puerto Rico research facility that dates
back from the 1930’s. Specifically, Cayo Santiago has a Rhesus colony roaming
free for research purposes since the 30s, attracting researchers from around
the globe.

Businesses
in the area also received support and training from Foundation for Puerto Rico
allies and key local organizations that specialize in providing support to
entrepreneurs and small businesses, including Centro para Emprendedores and
INprende. 

Bottom
Up Destination Recovery Initiative is expanding to impact 24 communities in 12
towns during the next years. Its goal is to support 300 additional small
businesses and create 72 new businesses and 1,116 jobs.

Within
weeks of Hurricane María, FPR set out to support small and medium-sized businesses
so they could reopen and/or continue operations. The nonprofit has supported
more than 200 businesses in 11 municipalities with an investment of $500,000.

Author Details
This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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