Last year, NPQ reported that three major foundations—Ford, Open Society, and Rockefeller—pledged $5 million to Puerto Rico to “guide a sustainable and equitable recovery effort” after last September’s Hurricane Maria. In another recent article in our Puerto Rico series, we featured La Red de Fundaciones de Puerto Rico, the island’s foundation network, which will receive $1.5 million of that money to strengthen the nonprofit sector. According to Karina Claudio-Betancourt, Program Officer at Open Society Foundations, another $200,000 went to Deloitte for a damage assessment that the island hopes will result in appropriate federal funding aid and the remaining $3.3 million to the Resilient Puerto Rico Advisory Commission to develop recommendations and establish priorities for the recovery and restructuring of Puerto Rico.

The Commission, which launched at the beginning of the year, has until the end of June to develop priorities and recommendations for rebuilding Puerto Rico “stronger and better,” according to Malu Blázquez, the Commission’s executive director. She recently told NPQ, “We have an aggressive schedule of events. I packed as many meetings as I could to get as much participation as possible.”

If the Commission wants to influence how any money that comes to Puerto Rico is assigned, whether it’s federal, state, or philanthropic, Blázquez has no choice but to balance participation with speed. How will it do this balancing?

The Commission is focusing on six topics:

  • energy
  • physical infrastructure
  • natural infrastructure
  • housing
  • economic development
  • education/health/social services

Read more about Puerto Rico's recovery by Cyndi Suarez at Nonprofit Quarterly