BOSTON - Friday, September 29, 2017 - Representative Sánchez, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Governor Charlie Baker, and the Boston Foundation to announce the creation of the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund. Hosted in partnership with the Latino Legacy Fund and the Alliance for Puerto Rico, Boston United for Puerto Rico will be dedicated to the relief and reconstruction of Puerto Rico and to support any Puerto Ricans arriving in Boston and the Commonwealth as a result of the destruction from Hurricane Maria. The fund comes in response to thousands of Puerto Ricans organizing in their communities across Massachusetts.
“The apocalypse hit Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico's people are crying for help,” said Representative Jeffrey Sánchez. “The Puerto Rican community within our Commonwealth of Massachusetts is rallying with Gov. Baker, Mayor Walsh and myself to guarantee that the community's vision becomes a reality. That vision is to assure that we rally together and help those individuals and organizations who are making a difference on the ground and helping the people of Puerto Rico. Together, we can make a lasting impact on the lives of Puerto Rican families from our Commonwealth of Massachusetts to our sister Commonwealth in the Caribbean.”
Nearly 100 percent of the island remains without power, and about 91 percent of cell sites are out of service, according to the most recent Department of Energy and FCC reports. 11 supply points have been set up on the island where 1.1 million liters of water and 1 million meals have been delivered to the island, but with no way to distribute goods across the island, ports are near capacity. Puerto Rico’s government lacks the resources necessary to execute immediate recovery efforts.
"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Puerto Rican people, those who live here and those who are on the island, as they recover from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Maria," Mayor Martin J. Walsh said. "We have been in close communication with officials from Puerto Rico and, with such a strong Puerto Rican community here in Boston, they know we are here to help, for as long as they need."
Initial gifts will be used as challenge grants to the community for a wide-ranging fundraising appeal. Up to one third of funds raised will be immediately distributed for relief efforts and the remainder of the fund will be deployed over the next two years, through 2018, for reconstruction and economic recovery projects in Puerto Rico and to support resettlement efforts in Boston and the Commonwealth.
“The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico is so severe that it will be months if not years before the island fully recovers. The Boston Foundation is committed to joining with Puerto Rican community of Greater Boston, which has done so much for our city and region, as it seeks to provide immediate relief and long-term support.” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation.
Vanessa Calderon-Rosado will chair the Advisory Committee overseeing the fund, with Mayor Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker serving as honorary co-chairs and House Ways and Means Chair Representative Jeffrey Sanchez as honorary vice chair. The Advisory Committee will also include Aixa Beauchamp and Juan Carlos Morales from the Latino Legacy Fund, and experts from the Massachusetts Puerto Rican diaspora community.
Massachusetts has the 5th largest population of Puerto Ricans in the continental United States. In Boston, 32,226 residents identify as Puerto Rican and 25.1% of Boston's Latino population identify as Puerto Rican.
More information on Boston United for Puerto Rico can be found at www.tbf.org/puertorico.