In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new foundation was formed to support the Cayman Islands preparedness for and recovery from emergencies and disasters.
Since then, R3 Cayman Foundation has donated more than US$2.2 million to 22 local non-profit organisations in an effort to help those hardest hit by the effects of the pandemic and ready the Cayman Islands for future challenges.
Even as the country’s borders reopen to international tourists for the first time in over a year, R3 Chairman Bryan Hunter said local families are struggling to keep food on the table, lights on and water running.
“Even as many of us enjoy a relative sense of normalcy, the complexity of devastation caused by the pandemic is still playing out in our community,” Hunter said. “Nevertheless, throughout these unprecedented times, the Cayman Islands community has exemplified courage, compassion and collaboration. The very existence of this foundation is testament to that fact.”
R3 follows a research-led approach to determine which areas of need exist in the Cayman community and which organisations to support, while fundraising matching from the Kenneth B. Dart Foundation helps donors double their impact.
“What R3 has been able to accomplish since it was launched exemplifies the strong cooperation between Cayman’s private, public and non-profit sectors,” Hunter said, noting that PwC, Appleby (Cayman) Ltd., Appleby Global Services (Cayman) Ltd., KPMG and Dart also support the Foundation with donated, in-kind services.
One key donation from R3, made in conjunction with the Caring for Life Foundation and another anonymous donor, enabled the Health Services Authority to acquire state-of-the-art genomic surveillance equipment.
“We are immensely grateful to the R3 Cayman Foundation, the Caring for Life Foundation and our anonymous donor for this crucial contribution, which will take us even further in our efforts to learn about and fight this virus,” said Health Services Authority CEO Lizette Yearwood. “Additionally, we will be sharing our COVID findings with international research groups to better protect Cayman and the global community.”
A series of R3 Grants totalling US$600,000 enabled Cayman’s Acts of Random Kindness, Resilience Cayman, Meals on Wheels, Feed our Future and Cayman Food Bank to provide thousands of people in need with nutritious meals and food vouchers.
“As an NPO that is 100% run by private sector donations, we are grateful to have the R3 Cayman Foundation to help us continue to provide relief in times of crisis,” said Acts of Random Kindness Founder and Director Tara Nielsen.
To help the Cayman Islands continue to recover sustainably from the effects of the pandemic, Hunter said R3 also prioritised technical and vocational training for local residents.
“We believe that upskilling and reskilling our people will give them a hand up in a time when they need it most, and strengthen our resilience for the future," he said. " Several donations have been made in this area, including to the University College of the Cayman Islands, Build Your Future Cayman, Children and Youth Services and BPW Cayman."
In the year to come, Hunter said R3 will prioritise assisting local charities with disaster preparedness, awareness and training; infrastructure hardening and investment in disaster response equipment; providing support to food, utility and rent relief programmes; housing remediation programmes; continuing to support education, children and family services; wellness and mental health programmes; and preservation of biodiversity and the natural environment.
“The R3 Board believes strongly in the importance of our mission and looks forward to continuing to help our three islands proactively prepare for, resiliently cope with and sustainably recover from man-made or natural emergencies and disasters,” Hunter said.
This article appears in print in the January 2022 edition of Camana Bay Times.
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