NEW YORK, NY, JANUARY 11, 2018 – Today, All Hands and Hearts – Smart Responseannounced they will be entering Puerto Rico to begin rebuild efforts after the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The international disaster relief organization has initially committed to working in the area through at least 2019.
The commitment to Puerto Rico is made possible by a donation of US $400,000 from The Radcliffe Foundation, led by international philanthropist Frank Giustra, who saw the needs first-hand while visiting Puerto Rico this week with All Hands and Hearts Co-Founder and Vice Chair, Petra Nemcova. Giustra said Radcliffe and All Hands and Hearts will assess further humanitarian and financial needs while the first phase of the re-building is underway.
“We are so thankful for Frank Giustra’s caring heart and support from his Radcliffe Foundation. Together we will be able to help the families in Puerto Rico affected by the recent devastating hurricanes,” said Nemcova. “Frank has been a vital partner over the years, supporting projects around the world, and his commitment to help others has uplifted the lives of many families. During our recent visit to Puerto Rico we were touched by the families we met as they are all so strong and resilient despite the deep hardships they are facing.”
The two areas of initial focus will be around the towns of Yabacoa and Barranquitas with roughly 75-100 volunteers working daily to help complete the work. Early work in these areas will consist of several key rebuild efforts. The number one priority will be roof tarping, as a significant amount of homes are currently exposed and tarping will prevent future damage from occurring and ensure families are in homes that will be protected from the elements.
Additional work includes mucking and gutting, which consists of helping homeowners, schools, and other community facilities with the removal of debris and cleaning out of interior damaged walls, flooring, etc., which have not been cleaned for four plus months. Mold sanitation will also be another critical job as many homes have seen the growth of black mold and as the heat and humidity picks up this will be even more rampant and if left untreated will cause long-term health issues. Tree removal is also going to take place as the high winds caused many trees to come down and chainsaw work will be needed to remove unwanted debris from properties.
“I have no doubt All Hands and Hearts will make a major contribution in helping the families of Puerto Rico rebuild their lives after the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said Frank Giustra, CEO of the Radcliffe Foundation. “I have met many of these volunteers, who come from around the world for weeks, even months, at a time to assist families and children in need. They work six days a week, up to 11 hours a day, in any conditions, to make a difference. At a time when we are bombarded with negative news, their compassion is an inspiration. The Radcliffe Foundation is honored to support their humanitarian work.”
Once the initial disaster response phase is complete All Hands and Hearts will turn its attention to the repair of single-family homes, and other community infrastructure, as there is a critical need as most community members have been waiting for help since September and October when the hurricanes hit.
All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response was formed in 2017 during a merger with All Hands Volunteers (founded by David Campbell, a former tech CEO) and Happy Hearts Fund (founded by Petra Nemcova, supermodel and philanthropist). The two organizationhave provided relief to those who have been impacted by natural disasters for more than a decade. As a result of the merger, All Hands and Hearts has rebuilt 193 schools (supporting over 101,200 children) and assisted over one million individuals to date.
All Hands and Hearts currently has active programs in Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Nepal, and Peru. To learn more and to sign up for volunteer opportunities, please visit www.allhandsandhearts.org.
About All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response:
All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response effectively and efficiently addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters. By listening to local people, and deploying our unique model of engaging volunteers to enable direct impact, we rebuild safe, resilient schools, homes, and other community infrastructure.
About The Radcliffe Foundation:
The Radcliffe Foundation was established in 1997 by Canadian financier and philanthropist Frank Giustra. The Radcliffe Foundation practices direct-impact philanthropy by taking a private-sector approach to aid delivery. We develop partnerships with NGOs, governments and businesses around the world to make a strategic impact in the lives of families and children in need. More information can be found at http://www.RadcliffeFoundation.org/
Brittany Graham and Caroline Humphrey