OPEN Puerto Rico received what it called “a strong vote of confidence” this week from Nicholas Prouty, CEO of Putnam Bridge Funding LLC, who made an undisclosed donation to help the organization continue its efforts to facilitate and promote transparency in Puerto Rico.
Prouty, who recently became a resident of Puerto Rico and has made substantial investments on the island, said he believes in the importance of ensuring access to public documents and data, which will result in greater investor confidence and prosperity for Puerto Rico.
“When Puerto Rico’s credit rating was downgraded earlier this year, Standard & Poor’s cited a lack of transparency at the Government Development Bank as a contributing factor,” Proty said.
“In this case, the lack of transparency caused millions of Puerto Rican residents to pay even higher borrowing costs. My decision to support the efforts of OPEN are founded in my unwavering belief that transparency will remove the pernicious veil of favoritism that has existed for far too long and it will shine a bright light that will lead to a meritocracy,” he said.
“Wouldn’t you like to go to a website and find out how oil is purchased for [the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority,] read the actual contracts and clearly see who is getting what? These are not secrets — this is your government, it is your taxes that pay for it — they work for you, not the other way around,” Prouty noted.
This is the second institutional donation secured by the organization, which also received a grant from the Sunlight Foundation in 2013. Since launching in March of this year, OPEN Puerto Rico has had more than 13,000 visitors to access data on its website.
The website contains data that also feeds infographics on a number of topics including socio-economic changes at the municipal level over the last 10 years, various trends related to crime on the island, and the evolution of the Puerto Rican budget since 1970, just to name a few. These efforts are only the beginning in inspiring a culture of transparency and data-driven analysis and decision-making on the island.
Alvin Quiñones, co-founder of OPEN Puerto Rico, said the organization “will utilize this donation to build out the functionality of our online platform and to expand our presence within communities in Puerto Rico and empower them with government data and graphics.”