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Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico names Advisory Committee members, makes first grants

Date: October 13, 2017

Fund makes $100,000 available in first round to nine grantees; total gifts and pledges now at $1.75 million

Boston – Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico/Massachusetts Unido por Puerto Rico today announced its roster of Advisory Committee members and announced a first set of grantees for what will be a long-term effort to support relief, recovery and relocation efforts on Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Meanwhile, Fundraising continues at a remarkable clip - The Fund has raised about $1.75 million to date in gifts and pledges.

Twelve new members joined co-chairs Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Aixa Beauchamp and Juan Carlos Morales on the Advisory Committee, bringing expertise from across the Commonwealth’s Puerto Rican diaspora community to the effort.

“The quick response to our call-to-action to help our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico from donors and these community leaders is making it possible for us to begin making targeted grants so quickly,” said Fund co-chair Aixa Beauchamp. “We cannot thank everyone enough.”

The Advisory Committee includes:

Aixa Beauchamp*        President, Beauchamp & Associates 
Vanessa Calderón-Rosado*   CEO, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción
Juan Carlos Morales*    Managing Partner, Surfside Capital Advisors
Josefina Bonilla     Publisher, COLOR Magazine
Ileana Cintron   Chief, Family/Community Engagement, Holyoke Pub Schs
Ivys Fernandez-Pastrana    Community Activist 
Otoniel Figueroa-Durán   Dir., Commercial Division, 32BJ SEIU-New England D615 
Betty Francisco   Co-Founder, The Latina Circle; CEO, FitNation Ventures 
Phillip Gonzalez    Sr. Program Officer, Tufts Health Plan Foundation 
David Morales    EVP/Chief Strategy officer, Steward Healthcare System
Elsa Mosquera    Arts Program Director, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción
Vanessa Otero    Chief Operating Officer, Partners for Community 
Jorge Quiroga    Reporter, WCVB-TV/Boston
Pedro Reina-Perez   Historian, Journalist, Professor, Univ. of Puerto Rico
Adrian Velazquez, JD    Research Analyst, Commonwealth of Massachusetts 
* - Committee Co-Chair     

In its first full meeting, the Advisory Committee approved nine grants, totaling $100,000, to begin the process of getting aid flowing to those in need. 

“It’s important we get funds out as quickly as we can – to help those suffering in Maria’s aftermath,” said Juan Carlos Morales, co-chair of the Fund. “But we know this is a long-term challenge, and we will continue our work to benefit those in Puerto Rico and support those who are forced to relocate here to Springfield, Boston, Worcester and across the Commonwealth.” 

“Getting this Fund operating has been the result of a remarkable combination of generosity from the community, dedication from the Advisory Committee and hard work from our Boston Foundation staff, who are working quickly and responsibly to ensure that these donations are able to be received by organizations that are positioned to accept them and have the greatest possible impact,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation, which is administering the Fund. 

Grants made included:

$15,000 to Casa Pueblo de Adjuntas, a community-based organization seeking to protect and preserve the environment through responsible use of environmental resources. In the aftermath of Maria, Casa Pueblo has focused on the procurement and distribution of solar-powered lights that can help replace the devastated power grid in the central part of the island.

$15,000 to Centros Sor Isolina Ferre (CSIF), a community-based organization that promotes education, economic self-sufficiency, violence prevention and community action. Since the hurricane, CSIF has focused on collecting and distributing supplies for Caimito, Ponce and the surrounding communities on the southwestern coast of the island.

$15,000 to Proyecto ENLACE, a collaborative effort to improve and redevelop eight communities around the Caño Martin Peña, a San Juan canal along which are some of the  poorest and most flood-prone neighborhoods on the island, and were devastated by the hurricane.

$15,000 to P.E.C.E.S., based in Punta Santiago, Humacao, an education and community development nonprofit which is providing relief services and will focus on longer-term community development initiatives on the east coast of Puerto Rico, which was devastated when Maria made landfall.

$15,000 to Taller Salud, an operator of educational and prevention programs directed at women and girls in the towns of Carolina, Canóvanas, Loíza, Río Grande, Luquillo, Fajardo, and Vieques in the northeast coast of Puerto Rico. Taller Salud will use funding to provide for immediate needs with special emphasis on women, children and bedridden members of the community, as well as working to support fundraising and emergency donations in and around the community of Loiza.

$10,000 to Matria, a community organization which works with victims of domestic violence, but which has elected to pursue an immediate mission as a community collection and distribution centre over the next few weeks for clients and any families in need in and around the town of Caguas.

$7,500 to Coordinadora Paz Para La Mujer, a domestic violence organization that is working to distribute aid to women and children through a network of 11 domestic violence shelters across the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

In addition, the Advisory Committee made grants of $3,750 to the Chelsea Collaborative of Chelsea, MA and Centro Cristiano Nacion de Jesus of Springfield, MA to help defray costs associated with transporting donated goods to Puerto Rico, which they collected in the days immediately following Hurricane Maria.

To learn more and for the latest information about Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico/Massachusetts Unido por Puerto Rico, visit tbf.org/puertorico.

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The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of some $1 billion. In 2016, the Foundation and its donors paid $100 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of more than $107 million. The Foundation is proud to be a partner in philanthropy, with more than 1,000 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, think tank and advocacy organization, commissioning rearch into the most critical issues of our time and helping to shape public policy designed to advance opportunity for everyone in Greater Boston. The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), a distinct operating unit of the Foundation, designs and implements customized philanthropic strategies for families, foundations and corporations both here and around the globe. For more information about the Boston Foundation or TPI, visit tbf.org or call 617.338.1700.

The Latino Legacy Fund at the Boston Foundation, the first Latino-focused fund in Greater Boston, is a unique partnership of Latino philanthropists and leaders, the Boston Foundation and Hispanics in Philanthropy. Its mission is to create and maintain a permanent endowment to strengthen the diverse Latino community. The Latino Legacy Fund is on track to meet its goal of raising $1 million by 2018. In 2017, the Latino Legacy Fund will make its fourth round of grants to organizations targeting the challenges facing the Latino community in Greater Boston.

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