Foundation for Puerto Rico meets with key organizations in Washington
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Foundation for Puerto Rico (FPR), a leading non-profit organization promoting economic and social development on the island, presented Tuesday an update on the efforts and results of the reconstruction of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
In collaboration with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and at its headquarters, the president and COO of FPR, Annie Mayol, addressed key leaders and organizations interested to talk about collaborative and innovative initiatives in which different parties join to take advantage of resources and thus achieve an exponential and sustainable impact.
“Our goal is to promote the social and economic development of Puerto Rico through collaborative and high-impact programs focused on the great growth potential that the visitor’s economy gives the island. We are very satisfied with the results of our efforts and will continue to serve as a link to include the state and private, public, non-profit, and community organizations and entities in the creation of a joint strategy to continue to promote the country’s growth,” Mayol said in a statement.
In addition, Mayol highlighted the results of two key FPR programs: the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative and the Small Business Cash Grant Program. Bottom Up is a community development program that focuses on supporting communities in their long-term rebuilding and resilience.
The impact of the Bottom Up initiative in the central mountainous rural area of Orocovis included the development of capacities for five local non-profit entities, supported more than 30 existing companies and helped create five new businesses with an investment of more than $500,000.
Meanwhile, the Small Business Cash Grant Program supported small and midsize businesses throughout the island with cash grants and technical assistance to help them reopen after Hurricane Maria. Of the 200 establishments helped in 11 municipalities, 93 percent are still open. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that, on average, between 40 percent and 60 percent of small businesses do not reopen after a disaster such as Hurricane Maria. The encouraging results obtained from the program prompted FPR to expand its support for small businesses, which is why it created the Small Business Support Program.
It is estimated that the program will support 300 small businesses, create 72 new businesses and generate more than 1,000 new jobs.
Recently, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) granted $5.58 million to FPR to expand the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative to 24 communities in Puerto Rico. The regional director of EDA, Linda Cruz-Carnall, joined Mayol in the informative session.
To scale the small business support program, FPR established alliances with key local organizations such as the Center for Entrepreneurs, the Banco Popular Foundation, Grupo Guayacán and Kiva Puerto Rico. It continues in its search for partners to join efforts.
Foundation for Puerto Rico is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 that promotes opportunities for social and economic development in Puerto Rico, focusing mainly on promoting the visitor’s economy and transforming the island into a global destination. For more information on FPR, visit www.foundationforpuertorico.org.