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Leon Kaye headshot

These Companies Step Up After Hurricane Maria Devastates Puerto Rico

By Leon Kaye

Yes, Puerto Rico is part of the U.S., but after three hurricanes that have disrupted thousands of lives and generated billions of dollars in damage over the past month, many Puerto Ricans and their brethren on the mainland feel ignored. And their anger is justified, as a fatigued media, cluelessness about the island’s relationship to the U.S. (Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens) and a White House more focused on NFL players has contributed to a feeling that Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million citizens have fallen under the radar.

Nevertheless, there are companies that have been stepping up in their quest to assist Puerto Rico, so 3p is highlighting a few. And we welcome you to link to any NGOs or relief organizations in the comments section, as this is no way an exhaustive list.

Bacardi: The venerable rum distiller has promised $3 million for hurricane disaster relief assistance, with $2 million of that amount dedicated to Puerto Rico. Funds, according to the company, will provide relief and support rebuilding efforts in partnership with NGOs and local governments in affected communities.

Bristol-Myers Squibb: The pharmaceutical company’s foundation says its donations total $400,000 to support relief efforts related to Maria, Irma and Harvey. In Puerto Rico, the foundation says it is donating $250,000 to NGOs working on the ground.

Google: Yesterday, the Silicon Valley titan said it would donate $1 million in total to the Puerto Rico relief effort, an amount that includes funds contributed by individual employees. According to CNet, Google, its employees and through their efforts, “the public,” have together raised $7 million in total for hurricane relief efforts.

Humana: The health insurer has so far donated $250,000 for Red Cross efforts related to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Humana has also said it has suspended its referral system and prescription authorization for its customers across Puerto Rico.

JetBlue: The airline has had to reduce the number of daily flights into Puerto Rico because of limited air traffic control systems and airport facilities, but many of those JetBlue flights have delivered much needed supplies to the island.

Lowe’s: So far, the home improvement retailer has donated $2.5 million for disaster relief efforts this year. That amount includes another $500,000 recently added for relief efforts due to Hurricane Maria and the earthquake in Mexico.

Starbucks: The coffee retailer, which employs hundreds of Puerto Ricans, has pledged $250,000 for disaster recovery efforts for the island. The company has also allowed customers to make donations through its smartphone app to benefit the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

UPS: As of press time, the logistics and delivery company has sent two of its air freighters to Puerto Rico, both of which delivered ready-to-eat meals (MREs).

Verizon: Multiple press reports have confirmed that the telecommunications company has pledged $1 million for disaster recovery efforts related to this year’s hurricane season. In an effort to raise more funds for Puerto Ricans, Verizon has also said it will match employees’ contributions to hurricane relief-focused NGOs.

Walmart: The retail giant recently committed $5 million in support of  Hurricane Maria relief efforts. This builds on the commitments previously announced by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation totaling $35 million to support 2017 hurricane assistance in response to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

Finally, many organizations are requesting cash donations so they can direct assistance to those who need supplies most desperately. PBS has listed a group with campaigns dedicated to the Puerto Rico relief effort here.

Image credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr

Leon Kaye headshot

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

Read more stories by Leon Kaye