Foundation for Puerto Rico, P.E.C.E.S. and small businesses show recovery efforts to Clinton Foundation
SAN JUAN — Nonprofits Foundation for Puerto Rico (FPR) and P.E.C.E.S., and the local small-business owners they help gave an update of the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative to former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and members of the Clinton Foundation during their visit to Puerto Rico this week.
Led by FPR, the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative supports communities in their recovery from the Hurricane Maria’s onslaught through collaborative efforts with local community leaders. During the update, the delegation visited small businesses Olas restaurant, Kremey, Water Sports & Ecotours at Humacao Natural Reserve, and Kolore.
“Foundation for Puerto Rico is committed to the social and economic development of our communities through multisectoral collaborations. Through the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative, our goal is to help communities recover quicker and develop resilience for their long-term economic growth by creating, in alliance with key stakeholders, a Community Destination Development Plan to cultivate economic opportunities focused on the visitor economy and help increase both local and international tourism,” Annie Mayol, president and COO of FPR, explained in a statement.
As part of the initiative, community members are considered essential in planning their long-term sustainability. In the case of Punta Santiago, Humacao, FPR joined forces with P.E.C.E.S., which provides prevention services, education and entrepreneurial training to communities in Puerto Rico’s southeastern region.
In April, the Clinton Foundation, as part of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network, recognized FPR’s work in providing capital and mentoring to small businesses after Hurricane María. FPR committed to expanding the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative in partnership with local nonprofits Centro para Emprendedores, Grupo Guayacán, Kiva and Fundación Banco Popular, among others.
The Punta Santiago community, through the Bottom Up Program, has focused on three of its main tourist assets: the Humacao Nature Reserve, which includes lagoons, hiking trails, mangroves and abundant bird life; the Villa Pesquera fishing village; and Cayo Santiago, a University of Puerto Rico research facility that dates back to the 1930s. Specifically, Cayo Santiago has had a free-roaming rhesus macaque colony since the ’30s, which researchers from around the world visit.
Businesses in the area also received support and training from FPR allies and local organizations that specialize in providing support to entrepreneurs and small businesses, including Centro para Emprendedores and INprende.
The initiative is being expanded to 24 communities in 12 towns to support 300 additional small businesses, and create 72 new businesses and 1,116 jobs. Since Hurricane Maria struck, FPR has supported more than 200 businesses in 11 municipalities with an investment of half a million dollars.