$2.2 Million Goes to the Front Line of Relief

By Evan J. Cutts

Following the one-month anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s arrival on the shores of Puerto Rico, Aixa Beauchamp, Co-Founder of the Latino Legacy Fund and Co-Chair of Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund (MUPRF), followed up with Color Magazine about MUPRF’s progress and development.

“We’re pleased to announce that our fund has raised 2.2 million dollars in donations so far. The MUPRF Advisory Committee convened to discuss specific implementation of these funds, last week,” said Beauchamp.

According to MUPRF’s aid guidelines, the Fund aims to “quickly aggregate philanthropic capital from corporations, foundations, and individual donors.”

All capital gained will then focus on the “Three R’s”: Relief, Recovery, and Relocation.

The Relief stage will use up to one-third of donations for emergency relief efforts on the island. The remaining two-thirds will be used throughout 2018, on a 15-month schedule, to support economic recovery projects in Puerto Rico, and facilitate relocation efforts in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“In terms of immediate relief, we’re looking at three specific gaps in aid,” said Beauchamp. “Mental health and trauma for children and youth; critical health care for in-patients and young mothers in need of basic supplies; and securing essential social services for elderly people on the island.”

Essential to MUPRF’s efforts is ensuring Puerto Rican grassroots organizations on the island have a voice in the recovery process. “We want to make sure that the community members and organizations who have been instrumental in rebuilding the island are at the table during conversations about the future of Puerto Rico,” said Beauchamp.

So far, MUPRF has delivered grants to organizations such as Taller Salud, an organization providing for “the immediate needs of women, children, and bedridden community members,” across seven towns in northeast Puerto Rico; Proyecto ENLACE, a redevelopment effort focused on eight flood-prone communities near Caño Martín Peña in San Juan; and several others.

MUPRF has also supported the Centro Cristiano Nacion de Jesus in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Center is offering its services as a welcome center for emigrating Puerto Rican families and transporting goods to the island.

MUPRF is interested in seeding projects involved in green energy and sustainable farming as well.

“Rebuilding and re-stabilizing Puerto Rico is going to be a long-haul and we need people with big hearts. There are so many ways to help. Whether you’re volunteering or donating, your contribution is welcome.”