SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Fourteen local non-profit organizations will be expanding their environmental conservation efforts this year after being awarded a total of $40,000 by Ford Motor Company’s Environmental Grants Program.
For the 13th consecutive year, Ford is supporting organizations that share its commitment to a greener future. The winning projects benefit people across Puerto Rico by restoring natural resources, developing community gardens and spreading educational efforts.
“Today we have the privilege of supporting a group of leaders that is engaged in protecting our environment,” said Noelle de la Rosa, regional operations manager, Caribbean and Central America. “With each grant cycle, we receive dozens of proposals full of ideas on how to make the island a better place. We trust that, with our constant backing, these organizations will map the way toward Puerto Rico’s sustainable future.”
The six independent judges who evaluated every proposal awarded $19,409 for the development of community gardens, $14,541 for environmental conservation and $6,050 for education efforts.
Among the winning projects is a water monitoring system for the surfing beaches on the west coast, a plan to develop vegetable gardens and student blogs in schools, the rehabilitation of coral reefs on the north coast and local volunteers who will plant hundreds of fruit trees in a community in Haiti.
“Initiatives like the ones Ford Motor Company is supporting with these grants are a great example of the extraordinary impact citizen efforts can have in protecting our environment and producing a reliable, local food supply,” said Carmen Guerrero, secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Environmental and Natural Resources. “These projects help form citizens who are ecologically responsible and who actively participate in our democracy. Thanks to these efforts, we will guide Puerto Rico toward true sustainability.”
The Environmental Grants Program is made possible with the support of various public and private entities. The panel of six judges was comprised of:
• Jorge Báez and Glorimar Toledo, Para la Naturaleza
• Ruperto Chaparro, Sea Grant program director at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Mayaguez campus
• Luis Rodríguez, professor at the UPR Law School
• María Ortiz, interim dean of the Environmental Affairs School at the Metropolitan University
• María Falcón, producer of the television show “Geoambiente del Caribe”
The Environmental Grants Program started in 2001 to help individuals and non-profit organizations develop environmental conservation projects. Since its launch, Ford has awarded more than $5 million in grants to hundreds of environmental projects in more than 60 countries around the world, including nearly $440,000 in grants to more than 60 organizations in Puerto Rico.
The 2013 winners are: