Armed with a personal donation of $10 million, the philanthropic arm of Puerto Rican investor and businessman Orlando Bravo, Bravo Family Foundation (BFF), is in the process of providing immediate relief to thousands of households impacted by Hurricane Fiona.
“We are going to reach – we estimate – between 3,000 and 3,500 homes. We want them to be able to return to their homes and we are giving them what they need such as beds, mattresses, refrigerators and everything in the kitchen.”, Bravo detailed in an interview with Negocios.
The managing partner of the largest investment firm in the technology industry, Thoma Bravo, explained that in order to move with the necessary speed, some 150 people have been activated, including the foundation’s staff and volunteers.
“We are focusing first on the affected people who need the most help. The average profile is many adults over 65, many single mothers, families with minors and people who need medical help”, he detailed.
He explained that the response mission includes “a great job of coordination” led by the executive director of the BFF, Blanca I. Santos. This includes identifying and documenting cases, ordering furniture, fixtures, and other items, as well as delivery.
For his part, Santos shared that the first order was made with Mueblerías Berríos, because they supported the BFF with a good discount.
When asked how the selection of cases takes place, Bravo explained that the BFF began with the networks they have cultivated in the past years with its Exceptional Community Leaders program and with the Empowering Young Entrepreneurs initiative (known as EYE, for its acronym in Spanish). English).
“It was the first management we did and the foundation moved to communities where we already have that presence in Mayagüez, Sabana Grande, Hormigueros, Toa Baja, Salinas, San Germán, Loíza, Cabo Rojo and Cayey,” he listed.
In the first weekend after the emergency they already had 100 households identified to receive direct help. From there, the foundation’s staff has been establishing contact with other community leaders and allies to identify specific needs and cases.
Almost five years in the field
The BFF was born in 2018 after Bravo and his family undertook a humanitarian mission after the passage of Hurricane Maria, which occurred in September 2017.
“The foundation already has around 70 employees full-time and part-time, and we have committed $100 million here in Puerto Rico,” reported the man from Mayagüez.
In addition to programs with community and school leaders, BFF has a high-impact business accelerator called the Rising Entrepreneurs Program (REP). This initiative also connects entrepreneurs from here with international investors who are part of Bravo’s network of contacts on a personal level and of his firm Thoma Bravo.
“What we have done and what Blanca (Santos) and the team have done hardly happens anywhere, because the foundation is very unique. It is not only the funds, initiatives and mission, but it is operational as well. We do the work ourselves.” stressed.
“All of our programs are working with each other. An ecosystem is being created. Many of our direct aid volunteers have benefited from our other programs. That inspires because, when one is trying to get up and help the other, it multipliesBrave reflected.
“Our vision is for Puerto Rico to have a more inclusive and prosperous society and economy. That is the point,” he concluded.