On the wake of September 20, 2017 – as Hurricane María hit Puerto Rico – you made an important decision: to show up. You made donations, calls, you organized events, you shipped emergency supplies, volunteered at a donation center. You got your organization to give, and fast - you did what you could and more. There are more than 36,000 people, just like you, who made that choice. It is because of people, thousands of people, that the María Fund became a bridge of hope, love and resistance. That is the power of organizing. People.
Here in Puerto Rico, people were on the other side of that bridge, already in action: opening up roads, cooking for hundreds, coordinating relief and brigades to rescue people. Community leaders and organizers of grassroots organizations moved into action Day 1 - and many haven’t stopped since. They assumed the historical responsibility of responding for the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, without hesitance or doubt. They carried on their shoulders a reality that none of us could have prepared for. We were not waiting for the government - we knew we had to save ourselves. The People of Puerto Rico - from every corner of the world, from Brooklyn to Texas, to Mayaguez - we showed up for each other, because it is what we have been doing for more than 500 years - resisting together. That is our power - we are a nation without borders that at the most crucial moment in our recent history, turned our love for our country into a movement. Many of us, felt that Power - and that will change us forever. We are powerful, and now we know what it can do when we organize it.
The bridge we built together allowed us to move resources to more than 40 organizations, who impacted more than 100,000 in the first year. We could have not have done it without a humbling display of Solidarity. The leadership and more than 25 staff at Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) who dedicated long hours, weekends to build the infrastructure and capacity for the fund to exist, grow and move with urgency. The CPD network of grassroots organizing groups who organized immediately to amplify our voices from Puerto Rico, and get more resources. The Boricuas in companies, organizations and foundations who made it their cause to get resources on the ground. To the thousands of Boricuas, who trusted us with their donation. To Iris Morales, the first Chair of our Advisory Committee, and all of the members who assumed the responsibility of making decisions at a time of crisis, with integrity, deep values and commitment.
This is a story of people, power and solidarity, but this is only the first chapter. In Puerto Rico, the wave of imperialism and disaster capitalism continues to hit our shores. The images of 400 closed schools or the thousands homes in risk of displacement might not be on your television right now, but it is just as urgent. Join us for this next chapter - we are just getting started.
Our mission is to support the strengthening of a powerful and aligned ecosystem of social justice leaders, organizations and initiatives that are building community power in Puerto Rico.
We believe that:
Organizing is critical.
In both the short and long run, the biggest factor in establishing a more equitable and sustainable Puerto Rico is the people. The María Fund supports the organizing efforts of the people to rebuild a new and just Puerto Rico.
Support goes to the frontlines.
The people and organizations at the grassroots are leading the day-to-day recovery and rebuilding a new Puerto Rico. The María Fund is dedicated to supporting these initiatives.
The focus is on the long-term recovery.
The impact of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico has been devastating, and it is why the María Fund has actively supported immediate relief efforts. In the months and years to come, Hurricane María’s impact on the economy, the energy system, schools, agriculture, and all facets of society will continue to be felt. As such, the María Fund is dedicated to supporting organizing efforts to achieve a just and equitable Puerto Rico.
This was not just a natural disaster.
The heartbreaking suffering experienced by Puerto Ricans is not just from a normal storm. Hurricane María was a climate disaster that struck a place that, as a U.S. colony, had already been stripped of political power, faced corruption and a failing economy, confronted skyrocketing poverty, crippling austerity, and a crumbling infrastructure. The María Fund supports initiatives that address and seek to transform the root causes of these problems.
A new Puerto Rico is possible.
Hurricane María has created a critical moment of change for Puerto Rico. The María Fund is dedicated to supporting the people, initiatives, and organizations dedicated to the transformation of Puerto Rico’s future into one of equity, justice, and sustainability.
An Advisory Committee directs funding to grassroots initiatives.
The María Fund Advisory Committee is made up 100% Puerto Ricans from Puerto Rico and the United States