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P.R. Community Foundation, Amgen lead $625K COVID-19 community prevention initiative

The Puerto Rico Community Foundation is leading the charge on a collective movement of nonprofits to “drive and strengthen” its collective response to COVID-19 community strategy.

The PRFC has joined forces with the Amgen Foundation, donors such as The Chicago Community Trust, Central Florida Foundation, and The Prospect Hill Foundation, as well as individuals who have come together through Global Giving.

The strategy is based on preventing and containing COVID-19 in several island towns through community health clinics — known as Centers 330 — and community-based organizations that are serving the elderly population.

These organizations are providing education and supplies of materials for the prevention and containment of the coronavirus. Additionally, they are conducting clinical trials, providing support with food purchases, and cultivating community organizing to keep this population healthy, PRFC officials said.

“For the Community Foundation to be able to support the communities, it needs two key partners: the organizations in the community, ready and willing to give their best, and donors who believe in the PRFC’s work to execute effective strategies with these community partners,” said Nelson I. Colón-Tarrats, executive president of the PRCF.

The PRCF’s board approved an initial allocation of $223,000 to drive the strategy that has allowed it to give $174,647.10 so far in donations to eight nonprofit organizations — six clinics and two community organizations — to execute their coronavirus prevention and containment strategies.

To identify nonprofit organizations, the PRCF conducted an invitation call to entities that had already collaborated with the PRCF in past emergencies and were able to run a community program focused on the elderly population.

The Amgen Foundation contributed $350,000, which was added to about $55,000 from other donors, has pushed the program’s total funding to $625,000, with which the PRCF has the potential to add organizations to work with more communities islandwide, it said.

“The Amgen Foundation has further increased its commitment to our communities in Puerto Rico as we experience the COVID-19 global health emergency,” said Aixa Caballer, head of the Amgen Foundation in Puerto Rico and senior corporate affairs manager at Amgen in Puerto Rico.

“We reaffirm our commitment to supporting community-based organizations that provide assistance to the most vulnerable and needy communities in times of emergency such as the one we’re currently experiencing,” she said. “With our support we seek to mitigate the social and economic impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had in our communities.”

Nonprofits that have benefited so far are: VAMOS Concertación Ciudadana Inc. In Guánica, Corporación de Servicios de Salud Primaria y Desarrollo Socioeconómico El Otoao (COSSAO) and the following community health clinics: Concilio de Salud Integral de Loíza Inc.; PryMed Medical Care Inc.; Migrant Health Center, Western Region Inc.; Centro de Servicios de Salud Primaria de Patillas Inc.; and Corporación de Servicios de Salud y Medicina Avanzada Inc.

Together, they benefit some 14 communities in 10 municipalities, serving about 7,781 people, Foundation officials said.

These clinics will strengthen their work teams in charge of monitoring and caring for the health of older adults; implement preventive measures; gain access to COVID-19 tests; buy and deliver medicines and food, to prevent people from exposing themselves and maintaining a good diet; buy medical equipment; and make referrals to other clinics or health institutions.

“Community contagion requires a community response. The government, municipalities, the commercial and financial sector, and individuals are doing their part, but in that equation there is a lack of community organization that provides support to the most vulnerable,” Colón-Tarrats said.

“With this in mind, the Puerto Rico Community Foundation activated a support response to community health clinics and grassroots organizations that are making efforts to prevent and contain coronavirus, particularly among that population of older adults,” he added.

The initiative also has the backing of other organizations, namely the Puerto Rico Primary Health Association, the Wisdom Coalition on COVID19 in Puerto Rico (COSACO, in Spanish), among others.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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