The 2017 hurricane season was one of the most active seasons on record, with Hurricanes Irma and Harvey making direct hits on the U.S. mainland, as well as devastating Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and Cuba. Hurricane Maria made a direct pass over the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as a Category 5 storm, devastating the area for the second time in the span of ten days. Hurricane Jose made an indirect pass on the Carolinas and the northern seaboard as it swept back out to sea.

flooded streets in Juana Matos, Puerto Rico
People walk in a flooded street next to damaged houses in Catano town, in Juana Matos, Puerto Rico, on September 21, 2017. Credit: Hector Retamal, AFP/Getty Images.


Though the transition from relief to recovery typically takes place four or five months after a U.S. disaster, that has not been the situation in the Caribbean. While tremendous work is occurring by federal and nongovernmental partners, significant relief work continues and mid- and long-term needs are still being determined. Given this unique situation—particularly in Puerto Rico and the USVI/BVI—CDP is adjusting our grantmaking timeline to incorporate a more rigorous, extended assessment and to reflect the complex on-the-ground situation.

Grantmaking Timeline

Approximately $3.4 million was donated to the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Recovery Fund.

September 2018 – $2.9 million awarded to 12 organizations
December 2018 – Full fund distribution

Grant Committee

The grant committee for the CDP 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Recovery Fund includes:

Committee Chair: Lori J. Bertman, President and CEO of the Baton Rouge- based Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation. Lori is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of CDP.

Dee Baecher-Brown, President, Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands

Janice Petrovich, Executive Director, Red de Fundaciones de Puerto Rico

Sara Moffitt, Program Officer, Crown Family Philanthropies

Javier E. Zapata-Rodríguez, Deputy Director for Economic Development, PathStone Enterprise Center

Bob Ottenhoff, President and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy


New grantees will be posted as additional grant funds are awarded.

Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross received $25,000 to support families on the island of Barbuda with ongoing repairs and reconstruction to their homes.

Americares was awarded $500,000 to accomplish three goal: 1) provide training, support services and skills to reduce stress, improve coping and reduce burnout among 5,250 post-disaster care providers recovering from Hurricane Maria; 2) determine the level to which various levels of support interventions reduce stress, improve coping and reduce burnout;. 3) train 2,750 care providers to integrate psychosocial programming into emergency and safety net sector primary care.

ASPIRA received $300,000 to address food security via three work objectives. They will work to increase the amount of locally grown food, support economic development through tourism activities, and develop agriculture and hospitality industry skills in youth ages 12 to 18.

Barefoot College was awarded $250,000 to provide communities with stable and sustainable electricity so they can manage self-sufficiently. This effort will benefit the Fund focus areas related to food security and health and mental health resources with agricultural improvements, internet access, and increased communication with the outside world.

Centro de Servicios Primarios de Salud de Patillas Inc. received $50,000 to develop an educational program for elderly populations to keep food in good condition during disasters or emergencies with emphasis on securing food, potable water, food storage, reading and interpreting food labels, nutritional and healthy menus, among other food security issues. The program also provides coolers to keep medications safe, water filters, cans of food and bottled water.

COSSMA, Inc. was awarded $49,398 for their pilot “Strengthening Our Roots” project which includes community training sessions on home gardening that will expand to new community health clinics Puerto Rico. This grant will enable them to reach more beneficiaries through community training sessions addressing food security and aims to increase the number of people growing healthier foods at home.

Fundación Casa Cortés received $25,328 for their “Educa Cortes: The Art of Wellness and Mental Health” program, in partnership with AARP, that will bring innovative healing and art therapy activities to senior citizens in Puerto Rico to reduce levels of post-traumatic stress.

International Medical Corps (IMC) was awarded $250,000 to support their efforts to improve access to evidence-based, high-quality and culturally-sensitive mental health and psychosocial services (MHPSS) for vulnerable populations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition to completing MHPSS needs assessments and mapping existing medical services, IMC is enhancing the capacity of healthcare staff to provide MHPSS by developing a mental health training package and conducting training for at least 255 healthcare staff from 15 clinics. They’ll also work to improve community awareness of mental health and psychosocial support, and strengthen referral pathways.

Love City Strong was awarded $100,000 to address the lack of sustainable access to clean and safe drinking water at the household level by promoting and installing new UV and carbon filtration systems on residential cisterns, targeting senior citizens, single-parent families, low-income households and people with disabilities on St. John.

NetHope received a grant in the amount of $303,600 to accomplish three goals: First, they will 1) ensure that nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and community organizations have necessary connectivity; 2) build an information management system that will enable local community organizations and NGOs to share indicators and data sets; 3) enable citizen correspondents to aggregate stories around the response.

The Puerto Rico Agricultural Extension Service (PRAES) was awarded $300,000 to support food security and food preservation, provide mitigation education, and increase farming biodiversity across all five regions of Puerto Rico.

Mentes Puertorriquenas en Accion (Mentes)/DMPA Corp received $10,000 to support #EnAccion a civic engagement program in which citizens contribute to community projects through volunteering activities, pro-bono work and internships. This project will work in the Toa Baja community with 150 residents to foster community outreach, food security and livelihoods.

PathStone Enterprise Center, Inc. received an award totaling $140,000 to provide direct sub-grants to at least thirteen small businesses and provide technical assistance to at least thirty small businesses to support resiliency and general business administration. PathStone wishes to expand its current donation fund and technical assistance program.

Puerto Rico Community Foundation received $200,000 to support economic activity and job generation by working closely with economic development community-based organizations that work with individuals in their communities to provide new competencies and skills that facilitate job creation and long-term self-sustainable projects. This will be accomplished through community business incubators and technical assistance efforts.

The Puerto Rico Conservation Trust was awarded $35,000 to outfit one community center with solar panels for renewable energy and water catchment and filtration system by June 2019, and to train key community members to ensure the installed equipment will receive the required maintenance. The overarching goal of this work is to have sustainable community centers that serve as symbols of self-sufficiency, hope and innovation.

The Solar Foundation received $500,000 for the Rio Piedras Market Solar Jobs Training Project. Goals of this effort are three-fold: 1) increase food and energy security for the Plaza del Mercado in the Rio Piedras neighborhood of San Juan; 2) build workforce capacity for the local solar industry; and 3) measure improvements to the livelihoods and economic recovery of project beneficiaries.

St. Croix Foundation for Community Development received $50,000 to support their Community Solar Project in partnership with the Virgin Islands Workforce Investment Board, Sustainable Systems International and Lion’s Den Solar. The project will train 40 individuals in the community on fiber optics and solar installation through the National Center for Construction Education and Research.

The St. Thomas Recovery Team via Lutheran Social Services received $300,000 to continue to coordinate St. Thomas’ long-term recovery response, resource management, resilience planning, and training in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. As part of this project, they will: promote urban gardening and local food production, identify food desert hot spots, and ensure the continued viability of local indigenous fruits and vegetables for future generations.

Take Action

We’re grateful for all the generous donors to the CDP 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Recovery Fund in support of recovery work currently underway. Though this fund is now closed, please consider supporting our efforts to transform disaster giving. We will use your donations where they are needed most. Explore additional ways to support CDP here.


For more information or for additional assistance, please contact:

Regine A. Webster
Vice President
(206) 972-0187