As the second anniversary of Hurricane Maria approaches, Ford Motor Company Fund – the philanthropic arm of Ford – and HEART 9/11’s team of first responders collaborated with award-winning actor, director and philanthropist Bryan Cranston in rebuilding initiatives in Puerto Rico.
Ford and Cranston joined Puerto Rican actor Ramón Rodríguez at the famous Toro Verde Nature Adventure Park for the donation of two Ford F-150s to support HEART 9/11’s sustained response and apprentice program launched since Hurricane Maria ravaged the island. Cranston, Rodriguez, and Ford employees also participated in HEART 9/11’s home rebuilding volunteer activity in Orocovis and assisted three families that are still suffering the effects of Hurricane Maria.
Ford employees visited the Escuela Visitación Pagán Aponte in Orocovis to donate back-to-school supplies and a $5,000 grant for the purchase of science department equipment. Ford’s Mobile Science Lab (Ciencia Móvil) vehicle, donated to Centros Sor Isolina Ferré as part of Ford’s ongoing recovery efforts on the island, will host a three-day STEM workshop at the elementary school to advance STEM education and showcase the activities available to schools in Puerto Rico through the traveling science lab.
Ford Fund is committed to building stronger communities and helping make people’s lives better in Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Maria, Ford Fund’s $1.5 million investment has provided much-needed services to the island – from basic needs such as food, water, clothing, and transportation, to other longer-term recovery assistance. Overall, since 2012, Ford and Ford Fund have invested more than $3 million in community-building programs through its Operation Better World initiative, including disaster relief and recovery efforts as well as educational initiatives such as Ford Driving Dreams and Latin GRAMMY® In The Schools.
HEART 9/11 has had a significant presence in Puerto Rico since September 25, 2017 and has deployed more than 832 expert members; surpassed 49,682 volunteer hours; and completed 297 roofs and 75 other projects in the communities of Playita, Orocovis, Morovis, and Cantera. In order to support the sustained response and to help create an expanded skilled workforce, HEART 9/11 launched a 10-week Pre-Apprentice Program at training centers in Orocovis and Playita. Led by highly skilled bilingual instructors from the Carpenters Union and local Puerto Rican faculty, students receive classroom and job-site training while rebuilding houses in their community.