National Impact Community: San Juan, PR
Puerto Rico Community Foundation
About the Applicant
The Puerto Rico Community Foundation was established in 1985 to develop the capacity of communities to achieve social and economic transformation by stimulating community philanthropic investments. The Foundation’s 2018 strategic focus is to expand access to social, economic, and natural resources for community recuperation and renovation in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The Foundation’s goals are divided across six strategic initiatives: Food and Water, Energy and Environment, Housing, Education, Economic Development, and Philanthropy. The Foundation also led the coordination of Puerto Rico’s formal response to the original MBK Community Challenge issued by the White House in 2014.
About the Project
The Puerto Rico Community Foundation will fund the Loíza Alliance for Peace, a collaboration among youth-serving community organizations that participated in the Foundation’s 2015-16 MBK Planning process. Through concerted efforts that date back almost 10 years, the organizations that compose the alliance provide violence prevention mentorship, negotiation, workforce development, and educational opportunities to boys, youth and men of color in the town of Loíza.
The Foundation is committed to engaging the alliance as a whole, serving as its fiscal sponsor and matching MBK Community Challenge Competition funds. The program is an expansion of Taller Salud’s Acuerdo de Paz (Peace Accord), Puerto Rico’s only tertiary community violence prevention program. Acuerdo de Paz is a local adaptation of the University of Illinois’ CureViolence evidence based public health model, in which violence is understood as a social illness.
The program emerged from community-based efforts to respond to an increase in gun violence in 2009. Violence interrupters are trained to detect grievances and intervene to prevent a violent event from occuring. Interrupters are mentors who carry a caseload of 15 participants at high-risk to commit or be the victim of a violent act. Acuerdo de Paz saw a 53 percent decrease in homicides during its first year of implementation and a 90 percent decrease since its inauguration in February 2012.
Key Implementation Partners
- Puerto Rico MBK
- Taller Salud
- Nuestra Escuela
- Municipality of Loiza