In the fall of 2017, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Florida Keys were devastated by two back-to-back Category 5 Hurricanes, Irma and Maria. In response, St. Croix Foundation launched the CARE (Caribbean Assistance and Relief Effort) Fund to provide direct support to front-line relief efforts and holistic, long-term recovery strategies. Today, your gifts to the CARE Fund have already had a direct impact and are supporting our community’s recovery in the below priority areas.
To join us in our efforts, please send your gift today and in the ‘message’ section, please indicate the CARE Fund.
- Coordination and Direct Support of Front-Life Relief Efforts
Within a week of Hurricane Maria, we activated a coordinated pipeline for the local distribution of relief aid thus ensuring that neighborhoods hardest hit and least accessible are served. We are also providing direct support for shipping, storage and on-the-ground distribution costs. As a result we have developed a comprehensive civic-centric network that can be leveraged for preparedness and response to future natural disasters.
- Data Collection on Unmet Needs for Strategic Recovery
The Foundation is collecting critical data from residents through our Needs Assessment Survey, which connects individuals who have critical needs with organizations that assist in providing vital services and supplies. Data collected will also serve to inform the community-wide dialogue about next steps in the recovery process and identify strategies to more effectively respond to future natural disasters.
- Direct Resources for Local Nonprofit Organizations
In 2018, the Foundation will begin awarding strategic grants to organizations that offer programs and direct services that target the most vulnerable and underserved affected populations. Through our Nonprofit Needs Assessment Survey, SCF identified organizations whose operations were impacted by the storm and needed immediate relief. The data collected enables the Foundation to steward philanthropic resources to help nonprofits resume providing these critical services.
- Architectural Audits & Sustainable Rebuilding Strategies for Homeowners
Currently, the Foundation is convening a team consisting of local licensed architects, engineers, contractors and building professionals to conduct a comprehensive audit of the structures that performed well during the storm and those that did not to provide residents with guidelines for rebuilding through a community education campaign. Final results of the study will also inform sound and sustainable building codes which will be presented to policymakers for possible amendments to existing building codes for the Territory and for other neighboring islands in the region with less stringent building standards. Hurricane Maria’s path disproportionately impacted neighborhoods with high rates of poverty. Several unique characteristics of St. Croix include a high rate of home ownership, even among low to moderate income families, and a very low rate of home insurance. After all public assistance for recovery has been exhausted, there will still be a substantial unmet need. The Foundation will develop a grant program to assist residents in the most critically impacted communities to help homeowners rebuild safely and sustainably.
- Resiliency and Preparedness Planning
Working with private and public sector partners to develop and institute comprehensive resiliency strategies for St. Croix and the Territory, the Foundation is developing programs and processes that can be activated during times of emergency and disaster. One focal point of this work will be building sustainability and resiliency for farmers in addition to emergency preparedness strategies surrounding public safety, public health and communications.