Fourteen local non-profit organizations in Puerto Rico will be expanding their environmental conservation efforts this year after being awarded a total of $40,000 by Ford Motor Company’s Environmental Grants Program.
For the thirteenth consecutive year, the Blue Oval company will support organizations that share Ford’s leadership towards a greener future. The winning projects will benefit people all across Puerto Rico by restoring natural resources, developing community gardens and spreading educational efforts.
“Today we have the privilege of supporting a group of leaders that is engaged in protecting our environment,” said Minnette Vélez, public affairs manager for Puerto Rico, Caribbean and Central America at Ford. “With each grant cycle, we receive dozens of proposals full of ideas on how to make the island a better place. We trust that, with our constant backing, these organizations will map the way towards Puerto Rico’s sustainable future.”
The group of six independent judges that evaluated every proposal chose 14 winners and granted $19,409 for the development of community gardens, $14,540 for environmental conservation and $6,050 for educational efforts.
Among the winning projects, there is a water monitoring system for the surfing beaches on the west coast, a group that will develop vegetable gardens and student blogs in schools, the rehabilitation of coral reefs on the north coast, and local volunteers who will plant hundreds of fruit trees in a community in Haiti, among others.
This year’s winners are: Urban Farmers Punto Com; Puerto Rico Composta, Inc.; Escuela Cañabón Abajo, Barranquitas; Escuela Secundaria de la Universidad de Puerto Rico; Cooperativa de Vivienda Jardines de San Francisco; Fundación Silent Grace; Amigos de Tres Palmas; Grupo Vidas; Centro Esperanza Inc.; Academia Adventista del Norte; Scuba Dogs Society; Grupo de las Ocho Comunidades aledañas al Caño Martín Peña; El Corredor del Yaguazo Inc.; and Surfrider Foundation Rincón,
“Initiatives like the ones Ford Motor Company is supporting with these grants are a great example of the extraordinary impact citizen efforts can have in protecting our environment and producing a reliable, local food supply,” said Carmen Guerrero, Department of Natural and Environmental Resources Secretary, who was the keynote speaker at the awards event.
“These projects help form citizens who are ecologically responsible and who actively participate in our democracy. Thanks to these efforts, we will guide Puerto Rico towards true sustainability,” she added.
Just as in prior years, the Environmental Grants Program was made possible with the support of various public and private entities. The panel of judges included: Jorge Báez and Glorimar Toledo, Para la Naturaleza; Ruperto Chaparro, Sea Grant Program Director, at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Mayaguez Campus; Luis Rodríguez, Esq., profesor at UPR Law School; María Ortiz, interim dean of the Environmental Affairs School at the Metropolitan University; and María Falcón, producer of the television show Geoambiente del Caribe.
The Environmental Grants Program started in 2001 to help individuals and non-profit organizations develop environmental conservation projects. Since its launch, Ford has donated more than $440,000 in grants to more than 60 organizations to sponsor these efforts.