Governor Cuomo and the Partnership for New York City Launch the Puerto Rico Relief & Rebuilding Fund at New York Community Trust to Coordinate Donations from Business Community for Local Charitable Organizations in Puerto Rico
Three-Pronged Effort with GNYHA, HANYS, NYSNA and 1199SEIU Provides Medical Supplies, Personnel and Technical Assistance to Puerto Rican Hospitals
Jennifer Lopez, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and Cesar Perales Serving as Co-Chairs of the Effort
Visit ny.gov/PuertoRico to Learn More and Take Action
Following his visit to Puerto Rico to deliver emergency supplies and see firsthand the widespread damage and devastation from Hurricane Maria, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today launched the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico. The effort brings together a wide range of civic, business and industry partners to provide needed services, goods and funds to help the people of Puerto Rico recover and rebuild, and provides opportunities for New Yorkers to contribute to the relief efforts. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Charities Bureau will monitor the fund to ensure the organization follows all necessary rules and regulations governing the solicitation of funds and distribution of resources. JetBlue has committed to $1 million as an in-kind contribution to transport the customers and cargo for relief efforts. Governor Cuomo is the honorary chair of the effort, with Jennifer Lopez, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and Cesar Perales serving as co-chairs.
“After seeing the breathtaking devastation and unfathomable need for help firsthand in Puerto Rico, I am launching this effort to put the full weight of New York’s resources behind the Puerto Rican people,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York has a long and proud history of standing up to help those in need, and with millions of Puerto Ricans suffering, we must do everything we can to help our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters recover. I thank our partners who have already donated and encourage all New Yorkers to lend a hand as we work together to help this community rebuild.”
“Puerto Ricans have helped make New York great — and we will not leave our family alone in its time of need. Our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters are Americans, and we must all do our part to help with the long recovery ahead,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “I encourage all New Yorkers to give through reputable charities and follow my office’s tips to ensure their dollars are put to good use.”
“Given the loss and devastation, we need everyone to pay attention and to urgently support Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Mexico City with donations and contributions,” said Jennifer Lopez, Co-Chair of the Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort. “We know we must address the immediate needs and means of survival for the people while being focused on the long term rebuilding of the infrastructure of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Mexico City. I cannot tell you what it meant to me and to the people of Puerto Rico to see New York not only pledge support but Governor Cuomo to actually show up with resources and supplies. It is now time for all Americans to be front and center in helping to bring awareness and solutions to the task of rebuilding Puerto Rico.”
Puerto Rico Relief & Rebuilding Fund
Governor Cuomo has engaged the Partnership for New York City, the city’s leading business organization, to establish the Puerto Rico Relief & Rebuilding Fund at New York Community Trust, a public foundation, that will make grants to local charitable organizations in Puerto Rico that are helping with recovery and rebuilding from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, focusing on the most needy households and communities. Funds and in kind contributions are being solicited from the business community, with a minimum donation of $10,000.
Organizations that will receive support through this initiative include, but are not limited to:
- Caritas de Puerto Rico, the Catholic Charities affiliate providing direct aid and services to low income households across the Island
- Center for a New Economy, a nonprofit economic development and policy organization that is working with local organizations to deliver humanitarian aid, help local government secure and use federal disaster aid, and develop rebuilding initiatives that incorporate objectives of resiliency and self sufficiency
- Centro Para Puerto Rico, a foundation that operates programs dedicated to alleviation of poverty and helping poor communities improve their conditions
- Foundation for Puerto Rico, a private foundation that works with local nonprofit groups and government to improve the economy of the Island. They are dedicating all their staff and facilities to establishing a center that is coordinating outside assistance that is coming into Puerto Rico and deploying this aid to relief and rebuilding efforts
- Con PRmetidos, a nonprofit organization of young professionals that is delivering assistance to local groups and those most in need in communities across the Island
- Para la Naturaleza, a trust that manages the natural and historic preservation resources of Puerto Rico that have been badly damaged by the hurricane
Statewide Donation Drive
Across the state, New Yorkers are encouraged to drop off goods for donation at selected locations between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. The drop off site for the Central New York Region:
Central New York
Senator John J. Hughes State Office Building
333 E. Washington Street
The drop-off sites will accept donations every day between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
A full list of charitable organizations for financial contributions is available on ny.gov/Puerto Rico.
Requested items include batteries, flashlights, portable lanterns, diapers, baby wipes, cases of water and feminine hygiene products. All items must be completely unopened and packaged.
In coordination with this effort, the New York Mets are asking each fan attending games at Citi Field on September 25, 26 and 27 to bring donations for the relief effort to the ball game between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Additionally, the Mets will collect supplies between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Seth Lugo, pitcher for the Mets, joined the Governor’s announcement today representing the partnership.
Three-Pronged Medical Assistance Partnership with GNYHA, HANYS, NYSNA and 1199SEIU
In response to growing medical needs in Puerto Rico, the Greater New York Hospital Association, Healthcare Association of New York State, the New York State Nurses Association and 1199SEIU will work together on a three-pronged approach to provide medical assistance to Puerto Rico. The partnership will:
- Identify teams of health care professionals, including bilingual professionals, to deploy to Puerto Rico
- Provide logistical support to assist in obtaining and delivering medicine and medical supplies.
- Develop sister relationships between health care facilities in New York and those in Puerto Rico to provide comprehensive support during the long term recovery of Puerto Rico’s health care system.
Port Authority Emergency Personnel
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is preparing to deploy emergency personnel to Puerto Rico to assist in the coordinated recovery efforts. The Port will assign 45 aviation staff to assist at San Juan International Airport and other airports in the Commonwealth, 11 Port staff to assess damage and assist with re-establishment of Port of San Juan operations, and 10 members of the Port Authority Police Department are available for search and rescue as well as support to airport security. In addition, the Office of Emergency Management will provide support equipment and four EMTs to assist. The Port Authority team will be an entirely self-sufficient operation.
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Co-Chair of the Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort, said, “I commend Governor Cuomo for the actions he’s taking. On Friday we traveled to Puerto Rico together to assess firsthand the damage from Maria and deliver supplies, personnel and assistance. The launch of this effort is another important step that demonstrates New York’s commitment to helping our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters in their time of need. New York and Puerto Rico are inextricably linked. For New Yorkers, Puerto Ricans are family – for some figuratively and, for many of us, literally. New Yorkers take care of their family and this newest effort will help channel additional help from our state to the Island. This is a catastrophe of historic proportions that will require coordination at all levels of government. I will be advocating at the federal level for additional efforts, including swiftly repairing and rebuilding Puerto Rico’s electrical grid, helping small businesses recover and addressing the looming Medicaid cliff.”
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Co-Chair of the Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort, said, “Hurricane Maria brought devastation to the communities, homes and lives of our families, brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, and as we only just begin to grasp the destruction Mother Nature as wrought, it is with hope – thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo, that our families will receive the help and resources they need to rebuild and recover stronger than ever before. Through the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort, New York is one again providing a platform for residents across this state to lend a helping hand. We are providing medical assistance and personnel on the ground, and a food and water supply critical to ensure the safety of people of Puerto Rico. We remain committed to helping P.R. build back better than ever. To our families in Puerto Rico: New York is with you, shoulder to shoulder, every step of the way.”
This relief effort follows Governor Cuomo’s trip to Puerto Rico on Friday, when he and a delegation of administration and emergency response officials brought the following supplies:
- More than 34,000 bottles of water donated by The Coca-Cola Company;
- 9,600 ready to eat meals;
- 3,000 canned goods donated by the National Supermarket Association;
- 1,400 cots;
- 1,400 blankets;
- 1,400 pillows;
- 500 flashlights; and
- 10 10kW generators.
Additionally, 60 members of the New York Army National Guard, four Black Hawk helicopters and 50 State Police are on standby.
New York State shares many deep ties with Puerto Rico, with many New York-based companies employing thousands in Puerto Rico at locations across the island. In addition, 1.2 million New Yorkers, or 5.7 percent of the population, are of Puerto Rican ethnicity. This means that more Puerto Ricans live in New York than anywhere else outside the island. According to estimates in the 2016 American Community Survey, there are 280,904 residents in the State of New York who claimed Puerto Rico as their place of birth.
This trip was not this first time that Governor Cuomo’s has visited Puerto Rico either. In 1998, as Secretary for Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton, then-Secretary Cuomo traveled to the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges to assess damage and speed up the delivery of federal assistance. Further, in 2015, Governor Cuomo traveled to Puerto Rico twice as part of solidarity missions to assist the island with its ongoing healthcare crisis and economic challenges