Seven Years of Foundation
Today we celebrate seven years of Foundation for Puerto Rico. Started in 2011, the Foundation began as a means to promote economic development in Puerto Rico. It has since researched and developed numerous policies and ideas that empower all Puerto Ricans as leaders in economic growth.
The Foundation set its primary focus on the Visitor Economy as the most viable short term development strategy in Puerto Rico. Our mission was and remains to transform Puerto Rico into a world destination, encouraging sustainable strategies for social and economic development.
In seven years, the Foundation has elevated the discourse around Visitor Economy and pushed for Puerto Rico to embrace it as an important economic strategy.
As a result, the Visitor Economy now stands out as a viable growth category, with resources being directed towards making Puerto Rico a destination for the world. One of the most important developments occurred when a law was signed to create the Destination Marketing Organization, Discover Puerto Rico. The organization was incubated inside Foundation’s space, with donated staff and resources to get the organization up and running quickly. On July 1st of this year, the organization moved into their new space and commenced operations, marketing Puerto Rico as a destination to the world.
In the middle of the DMO’s incubation, Maria hit Puerto Rico, and Foundation took a new approach to our mission. We took advantage of our Colaboratorio space to get up and running two days after Maria as the de facto headquarters for over 180 organizations, both private and public. We began an ambitious initiative of Hurricane Relief work of over 230 relief missions in communities around the island.
It became clear early that the small businesses in these communities were not receiving ample aid to survive, so we created the Small Business Support Program to help businesses remain open, retain employees, and optimize their business through immediate business assistance and relief. This project also promotes the local economy in areas with a high impact on island tourism. The results were outstanding and we have since expanded the program to other locations, and the policy recommendations made to government were adopted in the CDBG-DR Action Plan.
Our next program developed was the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative. This community-based recovery program is an economic recovery strategy with a sustainable model, supporting communities to become more resilient and active resources in the creation of tourism attractions and experiences. It aims to strengthen local communities, spur their own recovery, and build the infrastructure required for growth. This Summer, the Economic Development Agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce gave Foundation a 5.5M grant to expand the program to 6 regions around the Island. It was the largest non-construction grant the agency has ever given to Puerto Rico.
What’s in store for FPR?
We are expanding and growing the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative to over 24 communities around the Island.
We are launching a new dashboard with Visitor Economy statistics to track Puerto Rico’s development.
We are working with partners to expand and deepen the Small Business Support Program.
We will continue to incubate new NGO’s and support our Collaborators as they build great programs to support Puerto Rico’s recovery.
Train and support small businesses so they maximize their digital presence with our VIEWPR team.
We hope you join us on this journey - together we will transform Puerto Rico into a destination for the world. Please support our work and help Puerto Rico become prosperous and resilient.