On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on the island of Puerto Rico as and neighboring Caribbean islands, all of which were previously impacted by Hurricane Irma. The Category 4 storm devastated Puerto Rico, leaving essentially the entire island without electricity, communication or passable roads. Several municipalities went months and power was restored. It may take years to not only recover from this disaster and restore the island its pre-storm state, and build a more resilient future. Under the generous leadership of renowned singer Marc Anthony, the alliance SOMOS UNA VOZ was created to respond to the disaster.
NCDP was engaged from the beginning of this initiative to help to develop a strategy to maximize the reach of the funding, ensure vetting of proposals through the establishment and management of an Expert Advisory Committee, and to manage the proposal granting process and impact follow-up. NCDP has also facilitated relationships between grantees and with other agencies and organizations active in the recovery efforts.
Since its inception, SOMOS UNA VOZ has partnered with several non-governmental organizations to assist in rebuilding the island. Threatened by a grown list of disasters, SOMOS UNA VOZ has expanded aid beyond Puerto Rico and hurricane relief. The grant recipients include child serving organizations that provide immediate disaster response as well as medical care and auxiliary services, education, and housing.
In total, approximately 185,000 people have been reached by 27 programs across the region since the end of 2017. Below is a comprehensive list of SOMOS UNA VOZ grant recipients.
Immediate Humanitarian Response in Puerto Rico
Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico
In December of 2017, the Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico (BGC) was awarded a gift to aid immediate disaster relief in the municipality of Loíza.
Impact: 3,794 individuals
In December of 2017, Extra Bases was awarded a gift to aid with emergency disaster relief in the municipality of Morovis.
Impact: 450 individuals and 500 families and counting
Fundación Yo No Me Quito
In December of 2017, Fundación Yo No Me Quito (YNMQ) was awarded a gift to aid with immediate disaster relief in the municipality of Fajardo.
Impact: 700 families and counting
Community Rebuilding and Support
Somos Una Voz provided EcoExploratorio a grant to develop and implement the “Voice of Nature” educational program. The purpose of Voice of Nature was to develop resilience in children that live in high impacted areas utilizing personal experiences. The program was implemented in six schools in the municipalities of Fajardo, Naguabo, Loíza, and Morovis.
Impact: 1,700 students and teachers
Feeding America (Banco de Alimentos)
Somos Una Voz provided funds for Banco de Alimentos’ “Backpack” program. The Backpack program feeds children from ages 3 to 12 years old who are experiencing food insecurity during the school year, summer, and holiday weekends. Students from Loíza, Morovis, Ceiba, and Fajardo were enrolled in the backpack program.
Impact: 55,430 meals
Fundación Educativa Concepción Martín (FECM)
Somos Una Voz funds were utilized to create a comprehensive children’s health program. Efforts provided by FECM focused on the eastern islands of Puerto Rico which include Vieques and Culebra. These specific islands have difficulty accessing medical services due to their geographic location.
Impact: 963 children
SOMOS UNA VOZ partnered with Fundación Banco Popular to provide grants to the following organizations:
Grupo Guayacán (Fundación Banco Popular)
Funds were provided as emergency grants to start-up businesses in order to assist in restarting operations and preventing business closure.
Impact: 22 startups, 144 jobs, $2.3M in sales
Care Trucks (Fundación Banco Popular)
Immediate disaster relief across Puerto Rico.
Impact: 35,000 families
Resilient Power Puerto Rico (Fundaciòn Banco Popular)
Eight organizations in Loíza, Yabucoa, and San Juan received solar panel installations.
Special Community Grants (Fundación Banco Popular)
Several grants were distributed to various organizations for assistance with post-hurricane needs.
Impact: 800 families, 6,000 individuals
Somos Una Voz provided funds to the New Jersey based organization Heart 9/11 for housing rebuild. Heart 9/11 rebuilt roofs and homes in the municipality of Morovis. Utilizing the “teach a man to fish” philosophy, local Puerto Rican residents (apprentices) were trained to rebuild roofs and homes.
Impact: 43 home rebuilds (122 residents). Average of 36 apprentices weekly
Hurricane Maria left many on the island of Puerto Rico without power for close to one year. Somos Una Voz provided a grant to INDESOVI to install 45 photovoltaic systems in homes in Loíza that required rebuilding from the hurricane.
Jóvenes de Puerto Rico and Riesgo
In June 2018, Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo (JPRR) received a grant to re-establish their Continuum of Socio-Economic Services to children, teens, and young adults. The programs offered by JPRR were initiated by the large number of young individuals incarcerated Program served the areas of San Juan, Canóvanas, Juncos and Naguabo.
Impact: 2,502 individuals
The Miami Foundation (The Knight Foundation)
The Miami Foundation assisted relocating residents and rebuilding lives in Florida, after the hurricane.
Impact:150 individuals, 500 students program wide
Somos Una Voz provided a grant to Needs Foundation to launch a community health program “Recreo Saludable,” in the municipalities of Corozal and Barranquitas. The community-based health program works with local schools to provide children additional access to healthcare, including mental health services.
Impact: 1,611 students
Programa de Educación Comunal de Entrega y Servicio (P.E.C.E.S)
P.E.C.E.S received a grant to create a program that worked on the post hurricane academic and emotional effects of Hurricane Maria. The grant served the region of Humacao. The loss of significant school days in 2017-2018 had a detrimental effect on students. “Transforming Children’s Lives post Hurricane Maria,” provided tutoring and resiliency education for 2018-2019 school year.
Impact: 16 students, 77 families
Save the Children
Somos Una Voz contributed funds to Save the Children alongside other sponsors. More than 116,000 children and adults in the municipalities of Humacao, Yabucoa, Las Piedras, Canovanas, Morovis, Orocovis, Ciales, Corozal, Aguas Buenas, Comerio, Barranquitas and Naranjito have benefited from Save the Children’s relief and recovery program in Puerto Rico. Relief efforts were implemented in various stages such as providing drinking water, to educational programs.
Sociedad de Educación y Rehabilitación de Puerto Rico (S.E.R)
S.E.R of Puerto Rico is a technologically advanced school and rehabilitation center, that served over 5,000 patients. Having a main location in San Juan, and a second location in Ponce with the centers aided in the purchase of an Electromyography, training for tele-rehabilitation services and RAPAEL Smart Rehab Equipment. All purchased equipment served S.E.R patients impacted by Hurricane Maria.
United Way of Puerto Rico
United Way of Puerto Rico (UWPR) acted quickly and enlisted the assistance of many affiliates and sponsors. Somos Una Voz contributed a grant to the overall efforts undertaken by UWPR.
Impact: 5,623 individuals
US Virgin Islands
Island Health and Wellness Center
Island Health and Wellness Center received a grant to launch a mental health initiative in St. John, US Virgin Island. The trauma left by the hurricanes produced a great need for counseling and mental health services.
Impact: 49 patients, 269 counseling appointments
Love City Strong
A large number of individuals were left with contaminated water on St. John. Love City Strong was provided a grant to aid in cistern and potable water testing in St. John US Virgin Island. Love City Strong enrolled 200 vulnerable households to test potable water for the presence of E.coli.
My Brother’s Workshop
A grant was provided to My Brother’s Workshop to aid in in the rebuilding of St. Thomas, US Virgin Island. Seven homes of elderly and disabled individuals were restored to habitable conditions. A local daycare center was also rebuilt, that served 30 full time day infants and toddlers and an additional 25 elementary aged students for the after-school program. Through the rebuild, My Brother’s Workshop aided 25 at risk youths (ages 16-24) by providing on-job training, mentorship, and job placement.
Friends of Caritas Cubana
In April of 2018, Somos Una Voz provided a grant to Friends of Caritas Cubana to aid in Hurricane Irma disaster relief. Friends of Caritas Cubana invested funds in child serving programs, such as “Holguin,” a program that provides support to children with cancer and diabetes.
Impact: 3,094 participants, 639 family members
After the devastating eruption of Fuego volcano in 2018, the newly built elementary school Enrique Castillo Monge, was forced to close its doors due to its unsafe proximity to the active volcano. In 2019, Somos Una Voz provided a grant to Guatemorfosis to aid in the relocation and reopening of the school.
Impact: 363 students and counting
In keeping with the desire to assist Latin America with its various impacts from natural disasters, Somos Una Voz donated funds to UNICEF to assist Mexico with the aftermath of the earthquakes. As students returned to schools in temporary facilities, there was a surge in waterborne diseases due to a lack of appropriate wash stations and standing water. A grant was provided for UNICEF’s WASH response.
Impact: 1,386 students
Somos + Salud
Two mobile medical units have been gifted to Health Centers, Salud Integral en la Montaña (SIM). The mobile clinics provide health services to children in the mountainous regions of Naranjito, Orocovis, Toa Alta and Corozal, in Puerto Rico. The mobile medical units make it possible for children with accessibility barriers to receive medical and allied health services. Somos Una Voz has made a three-year commitment to support the aforementioned endeavor, “Somos + Salud.”
Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico-Vimenti
Vimenti, is the first school opened by The Boys and Girls Club and is also the first charter school in Puerto Rico. Vimenti provides an opportunity for a higher quality of education to students of lower economic means, who were affected by Hurricane Maria. By providing students with a high level of education, students are afforded greater opportunity to succeed academically, move forward to post-secondary schooling and flourish in life. Somos Una Voz has also funded a Children’s Health Fund (CHF) Program, “Healthy and Ready to Learn.” This program addresses well known health barriers in children that affect the ability to learn in school. Somos Una Voz has pledged a three-year commitment to Vimenti.