From Relief to Renewal: Hispanic Federation Responds to Crisis
Ever since its founding more than 25 years ago, Hispanic Federation has always responded to crises in our communities. That was never truer than after Hurricane Maria. In 2017, the superstorm changed everything for Puerto Rico and Hispanic Federation. In response to the worst storm to hit the island in a century, we launched a comprehensive relief and recovery effort on the island. The storm may have passed but the challenges facing the island are as serious as ever before. In 2018, we turned from relief to renewal in Puerto Rico.
Our Unidos Disaster Assistance Program has committed $30 million to support emergency relief and recovery efforts on the island including support for vital resiliency projects in the areas of agriculture, housing, economic development, health, renewable energy and water access. In 2018, we opened an office on the island to manage our growing body of work.
As part of the Unidos program, we launched the Amanece Road to Recovery Fund which makes grants to local nonprofits in support of recovery and sustainability projects on the island. Some of the most notable projects we are supporting include:
Alianza Agua, Community Aqueduct Project
A partnership with the Community Foundation of PR, Bosque Modelo, and OxFam, the goal of this project is to rebuild and strengthen community run aqueducts throughout the island that will ensure access to clean water to 200+ rural communities.
Housing Collaborative Project
A pioneering coalition-building initiative that will provide marginalized communities with a platform to advocate with regard to Puerto Rico's long term housing needs, receive community-centered legal services, and rehabilitate over 160 homes.
Flamenco Beach Culebra Restoration Project
HF is partnering with the Foundation for a Better Puerto Rico and Para la Naturaleza to rebuild and renew Flamenco Beach, and spur greater tourism and economic activity for the island of Culebra.
Coffee Industry Initiative
HF is providing multi-year, comprehensive technical assistance to small coffee farmers to improve their agricultural outcomes, with the ultimate goal of strengthening the island's coffee sector.
Rio Piedras Market Solarization
In partnership with the Clinton Foundation, the Solar Foundation, and in coordination with the municipality of San Juan, HF is helping to solarize the main Rio Piedras Market, which houses hundreds of produce and retail vendors daily.
But our crisis response work wasn’t just limited to Puerto Rico. When the Volcán de Fuego volcano erupted in Guatemala in early June, 2018 we established the Guatemala Disaster Relief Fund. We raised more than $75,000 to support community-based organizations in the area to provide immediate food and medical aid, housing assistance, and support efforts to rebuild the communities destroyed by the eruptions.
In 2019, we know that we will likely be called upon to help guide and manage our communities’ responses to crises. Thanks to our growing family of supporters, we will be ready for whatever comes our way.