On Friday, Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the launch of the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund. The goal: to raise $1 million for the island and for families arriving in Massachusetts after Hurricane Maria.
By Tuesday afternoon, the fund had already registered close to 1,000 credit card transactions and received pledges of about $800,000 from local institutions, according to Keith Mahoney, spokesman for the Boston Foundation, which is administering the fund.
“Our pipeline is very healthy,” said Juan Carlos Morales, who cochairs the Latino Legacy Fund at the foundation and is a member of the Puerto Rico fund’s advisory committee. “We’ve only been at this for two business days.”
The Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico fund’s advisory committee hopes to have the first round of money sent out by Friday. Up to one-third of the money raised will be immediately distributed for relief efforts. The remainder will be deployed over the next year, through 2018, for reconstruction and to support resettlement efforts in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth.
Aixa Beauchamp, who cochairs the Latino Legacy Fund with Morales and is also a member of the committee, said it’s important to note that this work is being driven by the community.
The initial response is “making sure people on the island have what they need: food, safety, and water,” Beauchamp said. She expects the rebuilding effort in the coming year to be massive.
“Close to 1,000 credit card transactions is just a sign that people are looking for real ways to help,” said Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, chief executive of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción and chair of the advisory committee.
The funds will benefit nonprofits on the island with a strong focus on the community, strong leadership, and management credibility, Calderón-Rosado said.