Walsh announces fund to support Puerto Rico after hurricane

Photo Courtesy/Mike Ritter/Martin J. Walsh Campaign
Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced a fund to support hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. / Photo courtesy of Mike Ritter/Martin J. Walsh Campaign

By Maya Dengel, news correspondent

In light of devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Foundation announced the creation of the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund Sept. 29.

The fund will aid the relief and reconstruction efforts in the territory and serve as a support system for any Puerto Ricans arriving in Massachusetts as a result of the hurricane.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Puerto Rican people, those who live here and those who are on the island, as they recover from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Maria,” Walsh said in an Sept. 29 press release.

The Boston Foundation will immediately donate roughly one third of funds raised, while the remainder of the money will be dispersed throughout 2018 for other recovery projects in Puerto Rico. The fund will also be utilized for resettlement efforts in Massachusetts.

“The Boston Foundation is committed to joining with [the] Puerto Rican community of Greater

Boston, which has done so much for our city and region, as it seeks to provide immediate relief and long-term support,” said Paul Grogan, president and CEO of the Boston Foundation.

Massachusetts has the fifth largest population of Puerto Ricans in the United States, with 25.1 percent of Boston’s Latino population identifying as Puerto Rican. Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico will focus on gathering philanthropic support from corporations, foundations and individual donors in order to deploy resources to the territory quickly and effectively.

Support has already begun to appear within the Boston community, with donors including Tufts Health Plan Foundation, Partners Healthcare and Massachusetts General Hospital.

“That vision is to assure that we rally together and help those individuals and organizations who are making a difference on the ground and helping the people of Puerto Rico,” said State Representative Jeffery Sánchez, from the 15th district.

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