For this year’s annual #GivingTuesday, CABA and Climate XChange will be raising funds for the Hurricane Maria Community Recovery Fund, housed at the Center for Popular Democracy, which provides immediate relief and long-term support for Puerto Rico’s rebuilding efforts in the wake of the storm. As part of our campaign, we’re highlighting organizations on the ground in Puerto Rico focused on building back better to create a more resilient, sustainable future for the island. To make a donation and help groups like these continue their important work, please visit our YouCaring page. Every dollar makes a difference.
#GivingTuesday Spotlight: Puerto Rico is Building Back Better
Resilient Power Puerto Rico
Launched just hours after Hurricane Maria made landfall on the island, the nonprofit Resilient Power Puerto Rico developed a three-stage process to address short- and long-term needs. As part of the first stage, team members have delivered mobile solar-electric systems to the most remote and hardest-hit communities, enabling those affected by the storm to light their homes and businesses, communicate with family and friends, filter water, and charge electronic devices.
The second phase will expand on the first, with the goal of creating 100 solar towns by the end of 2017. Mobile solar kits will be installed in each town’s central plaza or community gathering spot, and local residents will be trained during the installation process, a measure the group hopes will develop the island’s clean energy workforce.
Finally, the group will work through the year 2021 to promote solar electricity for every household in Puerto Rico. Recognizing that the island must move away from fossil fuels and become more energy-independent in the era of climate change, Resilient Power plans to expand Puerto Rico’s solar energy adoption for the benefit of local residents and the climate.
Para La Naturaleza
Originally developed to promote the values of ecological conservation, clean air and water, and habitable cities, Puerto Rico-based Para La Naturaleza has directed their efforts toward Hurricane Maria relief efforts in recent months. Following the storm, the group developed the Para La Naturaleza Community Fund, which provides both immediate and long-term support for Puerto Ricans impacted by extreme weather.
To date, the group has helped more than 30 communities clear roads, remove debris and deliver supplies. Going forward, Para La Naturaleza hopes to deliver 10,000 home emergency kits, complete with mosquito nets, solar lamps and water filters. As a longer-term project, the organization will retrofit 50 community centers across the island with solar electricity and water filtering systems.
Finally, Para La Naturaleza will embark on a massive reforestation and habitat restoration project for Puerto Rico’s rainforests. Witnessing Hurricane Maria’s devastation of El Yunque national forest, the group has set a long term goal of planting 1 million trees, in an effort to return Puerto Rico to its original beauty and ecological diversity.
Founded in 2012, the nonprofit ConPRmetidos is no stranger to community development in Puerto Rico. In the past, the group has worked to bridge the gap between Boricuas on the island and the diaspora community spread across the globe, leveraging relationships and connections for the benefit of the local residents.
When Hurricane Maria struck, the team saw a dire need for community networks like theirs. In a pivot from their traditional work, ConPRmetidos began work distributing generators to underserved communities in order to power critical services.
Since then, the group has been raising funds for long-term structural repairs in areas where homes and businesses sustained massive damage. Additionally, the team has helped finance an island-wide needs assessment, which works to identify where particular resources are needed most, and ensures relief groups are not duplicating their efforts, allowing for as much good to reach as many people as possible.
This post is part of CABA’s #GivingTuesday campaign to raise funds for Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Help support changemakers like these who are working to build a resilient, sustainable, clean-energy future for the people of Puerto Rico by donating today. Thank you for your support.
About the author: Emma McGrath is a CABA Communications Fellow and a recent graduate of Northeastern University, where she studied International Affairs and Spanish. During her time at Northeastern, she held three co-ops, most recently with the Office of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. Prior to that, she worked for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and NBC News. As a student, she served as President of the Northeastern University Political Review, and studied abroad in Turkey, Germany and Argentina. Her interests include renewable energy policy, urban planning, and climate resilience. In her spare time, she can be found enjoying the outdoors, exploring New England, and spilling coffee on everything she owns.