Given that 43.5% of Puerto Rico residents are below the poverty level, according to the Federal Census Bureau, five nonprofits got together recently to present the Poverty Inc. documentary, in an effort to understand the causes of poverty and redefine strategies to eradicate it.
MCS Foundation joined Fundación Banco Popular, the Centro para Renovación Económica, Crecimiento y Excelencia (CRECE) and the Acton Institute of Michigan to present the documentary.
“We joined the MCS Foundation and Fundación Banco Popular to showcase this documentary, as part of our mission to cultivate solutions to promote self-sufficiency and growth. To address poverty, it is important that we facilitate a social and economic environment where opportunities are passed on to all, so that our communities can succeed,” said Tere Nolla, executive director of CRECE.
The documentary has garnered recognition at more than 40 festivals around the world, and has been presented at prestigious universities such as Harvard, MIT, Yale and Stanford.
Its presentation concluded with a strategies’ discussion, as mentioned before, where action, as well as follow up efforts, was promoted to eradicate poverty.
“The situation of poverty in Puerto Rico deserves everyone’s attention. For years, the local nonprofit entities have carried out countless initiatives to tackle the problem of poverty on the island,” said Beatriz Polhamus, senior vice president of Popular’s Social Commitment division.
“However, the documentary along with the exchange of ideas that followed, challenged us to attack the problem in other ways,” said Polhamus, noting that in addition to raising awareness, the documentary aims to open up a space for dialogue to discuss this issue.
Liana O’Drobinak, executive director of MCS Foundation, said that the documentary promotes reflection on how poverty has been counteracted, and favors entrepreneurship and the dignity that comes with work as a solution to combat it.
“Charity is good, because it satisfies a pressing need immediately. However, we confirmed through the documentary that past strategies have not worked well,” she said.
“Our efforts, thus, should be aimed at ensuring that each individual has equal access to opportunities that allow them to improve their circumstances and take charge of their future. And when you help people achieve self-sufficiency, they will multiply the effect by contributing to the progress of their community through the sale of their product and the creation of jobs,” O’Drobinak said.