The Peter Alfond Foundation and Comic Relief US have awarded a combined $11 million to Vimenti by Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico, calling to action other investors, organization leaders and individuals to join them in their support.
Both nonprofits seek to break the generational child poverty cycle in Puerto Rico. Peter Alfond Foundation pledged a $10 million challenge grant while, Comic Relief US provided $1 million.
“With this donation, we honor my dad’s legacy and his love for Puerto Rico, which was our home for many years and meant so much to him and to my family,” said Rebekah Alfond, daughter of Peter Alfond and trustee of the Peter Alfond Foundation.
“This deep investment reflects our belief in the leadership, vision and potential of this innovative and comprehensive approach to fueling cycles of opportunity for children and families,” she said.
“We hope our gift will inspire others to join us in investing in projects like Vimenti that promise to transform the lives of thousands of families by ensuring that a better economic future is possible in Puerto Rico,” Alfond said.
Meanwhile, Lorelei Williams, senior vice president of Grants Programs from Comic Relief US, said “Vimenti’s efforts on the ground in Puerto Rico align perfectly with our mission of achieving a just world, free from poverty.”
“Together, we can lift up and empower Puerto Rico’s youth. We are honored to partner with Boys and Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico to support projects such as Vimenti,” she said.
Bárbara Rivera, director of Vimenti, said the Peter Alfond Foundation’s challenge grant will be used in stages toward covering a percentage of operating costs over a three-year period.
The funding will support all three pillars of Vimenti’s holistic model, which includes education, social and economic programs for children and families. Specifically, these efforts include family case management, health services, coaching, workshops and other support services to help these parents meet their educational and career path goals, Rivera said.
A challenge grant is a significant gift made by a donor or group of donors that allows the receiving institution to replicate and scale the project when others step forward to support the campaign. She added that the Comic Relief US donation is the first challenge match and will be destined toward the construction of Vimenti’s new school building.
To thank Comic Relief US, the Alfond family, and the Peter Alfond Foundation for their donations, Vimenti families and staff hosted a celebration at the center, followed by an evening with key Vimenti supporters.
“We recognize the Alfond family’s fundamental contribution to Vimenti, along with the donation from Comic Relief US, which provides opportunities to families who come to the center to raise their goals,” Rivera said during the Peter Alfond Foundation’s visit to the center.
The Alfond family’s connection with Puerto Rico began in the 1970s when Peter Alfond arrived at the island to lead Pan Am Shoe Company, the Caribbean headquarters of Dexter Shoe Company which his father, Harold, founded in Maine in 1956.
Pan Am Shoe Company grew and became a family company manned by Peter as its president for 35 years. While he occupied that post, Peter, his wife and children lived in Puerto Rico, creating strong ties with the island in both business and philanthropy fields.
Peter Alfond passed away in 2017. His four children and three additional trustees are committed to his philanthropic legacy through the Peter Alfond Foundation.
Vimenti is an evidence-based project that uses a two-generation approach (parents and children) and comprises three main pillars to deal with the child poverty issue.
These are the social, educational and economic areas. The social area offers different support services for parents whose children are enrolled in Vimenti Charter School.