Puerto Rico Focuses on Resilience

By Ernie Smith (original article published in Associations Now)

Nearly six months after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, the word on the minds of the island’s nonprofit community is “resilience” and a wide variety of groups have worked to help improve the situation on the ground.

But as the storm draws further into the rearview mirror, one group is working to ensure long-term recovery is managed in an effective way. The Resilient Puerto Rico Advisory Commission, first announced in November, is designed to offer recovery recommendations that help strengthen the territory as a whole. While the commission is funded by three major foundations—the Rockefeller Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the Ford Foundation—it is operated locally.

The initiative, which got going at the beginning of the year per Nonprofit Quarterlyis currently in sprint mode, with the goal of developing a series of recommendations for how to rebuild Puerto Rico by focusing on six areas: economic development, energy, housing, natural infrastructure, physical infrastructure, and social services such as health and education.

The commission’s executive director, Malu Blázquez, told the news outlet that things are moving quickly, with working groups set for the next few months.

“We have an aggressive schedule of events,” she told the news outlet. “I packed as many meetings as I could to get as much participation as possible.”

The focus on resilience is showing up in other ways as well. This week, a group called Resilient Power Puerto Rico, which is focused on renewable solutions to the territory’s power problems, announced a $2.5 million outreach initiative to help bring energy to 100 community centers throughout Puerto Rico.

Read more on Associations Now