After an initial hint a few weeks ago, a much-anticipated new private sector-led initiative is being launched to support disaster readiness, relief and recovery efforts in the Cayman Islands.
Called the R3 Foundation, it’s already getting started with a firm financial footing, sound management structure and the endorsement from the top levels of government.
In a statement on Friday May 1st, announcing the formal launch of the foundation, R3 listed its immediate objectives as: “to identify and fund projects which help alleviate the substantial human and economic impact of COVID-19 on the community, and enable the Cayman Islands to come back better and more resilient from the devastating pandemic.”
The organisation’s broad remit covers support “in the event of a natural or man-made emergency or disaster, including, but not exclusive to, COVID-19.”
With an initial grant of CI$ 1 million from Ken Dart, R3 Cayman Foundation has already received additional commitments of nearly CI$ 2 million from other individual and corporate donors.
Mr Dart has pledged to match these donations up to an additional CI$ 4 million.
Mark VanDevelde, CEO of Dart Enterprises said: “By pooling resources and expertise, the private sector can leverage its strengths to make an invaluable contribution to each of the three islands’ preparation, response and resilience in times of national emergency.”
R3 Cayman Foundation will complement existing government-led national efforts by supporting local non-profit organisations with funding for projects in the three Rs of a disaster cycle; readiness, relief and recovery.
His Excellency, Governor Martyn Roper and the Honourable Premier, Alden McLaughlin, have welcomed the formation of the R3 Cayman Foundation alongside the planned reactivation of the Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund, formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan.
Governor Roper commented: “We are very grateful to everyone working to make these two initiatives a success and to the funders who have very generously devoted their time and resources.
The Governor credited the initial donation from Ken Dart as an important catalyst, and said that “the two funds will collaborate closely and enable Cayman to be even more resilient in tackling the threats that we all face from natural and man-made disasters”.
In welcoming the initiative, Premier Alden McLaughlin addressed what he sees as “the significant contribution that these two funds will make to Cayman’s preparedness and response to disasters.”
“We have a good track record of dealing with crisis and a proud tradition of assisting our neighbours in times of need,” he added.
Much of R3 Foundation's priority focus will be on supporting Caymans recovery from the rigours of the coronavirus crisis.
in that regard, Mr McLaughlin noted: “COVID 19 has pushed the boundaries of resilience around the world and with this year’s hurricane season predicted to be a particularly active one, it is important that we use every resource we have to keep everyone safe.”
He noted that: “Recent weeks we have seen the real impact that joint Government and Private Sector collaboration can have as we have tackled the vital supply issues around testing and the delivery of PPE.”
“The opportunities presented by the R3 Cayman Foundation and the Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund will be important as we seek to solve further problems as we move forward into uncharted waters,” the Premier stated.
R3 Cayman Foundation is in the final phase of being established as a Foundation Company. Once incorporated it will be registered as a non-profit organisation.
The board of directors will be made up of Joannah Bodden Small, Annikki Brown, Pilar Bush, Chris Duggan, Woody Foster, Richard Hew, Bryan Hunter, Nicoela McCoy, Carla Reid and David Ritch.
Governor Roper will serve as Principal, a key governance role with sole authority for the appointment and removal of Supervisors.
Former Attorney General Richard Coles will be appointed as a Supervisor of the Foundation.
The law firm Appleby advised on the new Foundation Company structure and local accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has indicated its willingness to provide annual audit services on a pro bono basis.
Dart CEO Mark VanDevelde has pointed out that, “drawing on the new Foundation Company legislation, R3 Cayman Foundation's Board of Directors will be responsible for all decisions from this point forward, including how funds will be allocated towards readiness, relief and recovery efforts for COVID-19 and national emergencies in the future.”
Board member Woody Foster (president of the Chamber of Commerce), adds that “the intent of R3 Cayman Foundation is to complement the good work already being done in our community and consolidate private sector support of organisations active in these areas.”
He said, “By collaborating and communicating with non-profits and government agencies, we can ensure a more efficient and thoughtful distribution of funds.”
The R3 Foundation board will meet in the coming days to begin mapping the priority areas for COVID-19 related funding.
With R3 quite literally coming to the rescue to support Cayman's recovery, its focal areas are based on the three core tenets of disaster management:
1. Readiness: safeguarding the Cayman Islands by preparing for a range of potential natural (biological, climatological) or manmade (technical, chemical) disasters.
2. Relief: coordinating assistance for people or entities affected by a disaster or emergency.
3. Recovery: rebuilding communities, stimulating the economy and protecting the environment through short and mid-term initiatives.