A Million Hands for Puerto Rico

By Evan Cutts

In the devastating wake of Hurricane Maria, The Boston Foundation, Latino Legacy Fund, and Puerto Rican leaders of the diaspora community have come together to empower relief efforts in Puerto Rico with the creation of the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund (MUPRF).

MUPRF is a new philanthropic initiative created by Latino Legacy Fund Founders, Aixa Beauchamp and Juan Carlos Morales in partnership with Vanessa Calderon-Rosado, Executive Director of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA) the Boston Foundation, and Puerto Rican community leaders. Massachusetts House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez serves as the Fund’s honorary vice chair. Its mission is to allocate funding to facilitate efforts focused on relief, reconstruction, and relocation.

The fund was officially announced on September 29th, 2017, by Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh, and Representative Jeffrey Sanchez. Co-Chair Aixa Beauchamp kindly agreed to share some insight into the fund’s progress thus far with Color Magazine.

“We are very fortunate to have the Mayor, Governor, and Representative Jeffrey Sanchez’s support for the Fund through the Boston Foundation. With the combined efforts of the Massachusetts Puerto Rican community, The Boston Foundation and Latino Legacy Fund, as well as myself, Morales, and Calderon, we have raised over $1.3 million in donations,” said Beauchamp. “We are also thankful to Massachusetts citizens who have contributed to the Fund as they see the continued challenges facing millions of their fellow Americans.”

She added that the efforts of Puerto Rican communities nationwide have made considerable strides in providing food, water, and money for those in need on the island. Beauchamp remains hopeful regarding the efficacy of relief efforts, noting the strength of communities and organizations on the island working tirelessly to support their own.

MUPRF has pledged to immediately donate up to one-third of the funds raised to numerous relief efforts on the ground in Puerto Rico, such as P.E.C.E.S, EnLace, Centros Sor Isolina Ferré (CSIF), Casa Pueblo, and more.

The remainder will be used to support reconstruction efforts seeking to develop green technology across the island and relocation efforts to help families secure housing, jobs, and education opportunities in the United States.

“I think the conversations between Elon Musk and Ricardo Rosselló are fantastic. The Fund is also looking to increase national foundation support with companies like Comcast to reimagine the future of Puerto Rico’s technological infrastructure,” said Beauchamp.

Beauchamp encourages individuals and communities to utilize their networks and resources to assist Puerto Rico.

“Anyone can be a philanthropist,” commented Beauchamp. “A dollar can have tremendous impact. There are also numerous organizations in desperate need for skilled volunteers such as NetHope, Samaritan’s Purse, and Direct Relief. If you have the time and resources, consider supporting the efforts of these organizations.”