The Puerto Rico Funders Network has launches the FORWARD Puerto Rico Fund to support nonprofit organizations that are providing direct service to communities affected by the devastating hurricanes Irma and María, organizers confirmed Wednesday.
“With the FORWARD Puerto Rico Fund, we will accelerate emergency assistance to communities affected by Hurricane Maria by supporting the work of experienced grassroots organizations,” said Rafael Cortés-Dapena, president of the Puerto Rico Funders Network.
“Local nonprofit groups are already providing water, food, medicine, diesel, medical equipment and essential products to many places experiencing the terrible consequences of Hurricane María, in addition to the previous Hurricane Irma,” he said.
“The credibility and experience of the foundations involved in the FORWARD Puerto Rico Fund ensures an effective distribution of philanthropic dollars,” he added.
Donations to the FORWARD Puerto Rico Fund can be made through www.redfundacionespr.org . The Fund is a donor collaborative of foundations located in Puerto Rico and in the continental United States, high-income individuals, members of the Puerto Rican diaspora, and the general public.
FORWARD Puerto Rico will support key experienced organizations already working with affected communities, beginning with 21 organizations. Subsequently, the Fund will focus on strengthening organizations to ensure their long-term sustainability and their continued contribution to moving Puerto Rico forward.
The Fund will also give priority to advancing government transparency, inequality, and economic development, organizers said.
Damage to the island’s infrastructure is estimated at more than $50 billion.
“The immense damage inflicted on Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and communities require that we all contribute to recovery efforts,” said Janice Petrovich, executive director of the Puerto Rico Funders Network.”
“Due to the magnitude of the damages, this process will take a long time. We will be supporting the immediate relief efforts, and employing strategies for the medium-term and long-term to move forward our island and its people,” she said.
The 21 nonprofits that the Funders Network will support initially are: Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico, La Fondita de Jesús, Taller Salud in Loíza, Centros Sor Isolina Ferré, Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico, ENLACE, Iniciativa Comunitaria, Programa de Educación Comunal de Entrega y Servicio (PECES) in Humacao, Casa Pueblo in Adjuntas, Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, Centro para la Nueva Economía, CREARTE, Espacios Abiertos, Instituto Nueva Escuela, Instituto para el Desarrollo de la Juventud, Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Nuestra Escuela, Para la Naturaleza, Proyecto Matria, SER de Puerto Rico and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo.
Support from the Funders Network to the non-profit sector will complement the assistance being provided by the government and federal authorities.
The Puerto Rico Funders Network is composed of the principal grant-making foundations on the island: Fundación Ángel Ramos, Fundación Banco Popular, Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico, Miranda Foundation, Titín Foundation, Fundación Flamboyán and Fundación Segarra Boerman. Among the foundations in the United States that signaled probable suport are the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations.
“We urge all who can collaborate with this Fund to do so, particularly the millions of Puerto Ricans in the diaspora who wish to contribute during this tragic moment in our history. With our combined efforts, we will move Puerto Rico forward,” said Cortés-Dapena.