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10/10/2019 | Organizing for a Just Recovery in Puerto Rico and Beyond

The Next Phase of the María Fund

In 2017, CPD launched the María Fund (MF) to provide emergency funding to Puerto Ricans devastated by Hurricane María and raised over $7 million to help community-based groups. Earlier this year, the MF Advisory Committee, MF staff, Puerto Rico affiliate Taller Salud, and CPD leadership met to celebrate the accomplishments of the fund and to discuss its future. There, a decision was made to transform the fund from a short-term project housed at CPD to a stand-alone, Puerto Rico-based, permanent organization—a long-term resource mobilization vehicle for the Puerto Rican people.  

The fund was launched  in partnership with, and at the request of Puerto Rico CPD affiliate Taller Salud, and allies on the ground in Puerto Rico on the anniversary of the day that Hurricane María hit Puerto Rico. Their vision was to build the kind of fund that’s desperately needed in moments such as these, and based on extensive climate disaster experience throughout the years in the CPD family of organizations. 

The María Fund was created intentionally knowing that Hurricane María would most impact communities of color and low-income communities. Furthermore, those communities would likely have been excluded from immediate relief and long-term recovery efforts, and corporate powers and corrupt elected officials would aim to orchestrate a large-scale disaster capitalism plan after the storm. The CPD Network knew that local organizing groups would need to massively step in as the main providers of short-term relief and as the resistance to longer-term power grabs. We wanted to make sure that decisions about Puerto Rico were made by Puerto Ricans, with nearly 100% of the funding dedicated to organizing groups to transform the root causes of racial capitalism, colonialism, the climate crisis, and more. 

Since its founding, the María Fund has moved resources to grassroots efforts that show a strong commitment to organizing historically marginalized people at the intersections of the deepest inequalities in Puerto Rico. To date, it has moved more than $4 million in funding to 49 initiatives and organizations working on crucial short- and long-term projects. See the newly released María Fund impact report for more. The María Fund has also activated major and grassroots funders. Over half of the $7 million raised came from 36,000 individual donors. 

Going forward, the María Fund will focus on strengthening a powerful and aligned ecosystem of power-building movement leaders, organizations, and initiatives in Puerto Rico—vital work anywhere and especially in Puerto Rico at this critical juncture. As a first step, the María Fund will be moving from CPD to Tides Foundation and will create the infrastructure necessary for an independent entity with a long-term vision for intentional and responsible resource distribution.  Continue to follow the María Fund by signing up for its mailing list here

CPD is thrilled to support the future of the fund and excited for how it can continue to support the beautiful and incredible organizing of the Puerto Rican people.