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Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development Donates $1.5 million to R3 Cayman Foundation

Government 07 Feb, 2022 Follow News

Andre Ebanks, Minister of Investment, Innovation and Social Development

Bryan Hunter, Chair of R3 Cayman Foundation

The Cayman Islands Government's Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development (MIISD) today announced a donation of $1.5 million to the R3 Cayman Foundation to assist with ongoing housing repairs for vulnerable Caymanians.

The Hon. Minister André Ebanks stated that this donation, an innovative approach to urgent housing repairs, creates a valuable partnership with respect to social development between the Ministry and R3 Cayman Foundation. He explained:

"Extensive damage to a significant number of homes arose from, or was exacerbated by, Storm Grace in mid-August 2021, affecting many Caymanians who lack the financial wherewithal to fund these repairs. The high volume of 2021 outstanding housing repairs requires additional resources, and with this donation, they can be delivered through the expertise and efficiency of the voluntary sector with the aim to clear as much of the backlog as possible before the commencement of the 2022 hurricane season."

The Minister continued:

"Since its inception during the Covid-19 pandemic beginning in 2020, the R3 Cayman Foundation has played an integral role in addressing acute and ongoing needs in the Cayman Islands. As a non-profit entity it has demonstrated that it operates with the highest standards of professionalism and accountability. The investment of these funds is a tangible demonstration of Government's commitment to advancing social development for people in the Cayman Islands, and we are delighted that R3 Cayman Foundation shares our vision."

Eric Bush, Chief Officer of MIISD, noted that in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Grace in mid-August 2021, Government's Housing Repair Programme received hundreds of requests for homes to be repaired after severe damages. Notably, home insurance coverage is not available to cover these repairs. This programme benefitted over 40 homes since August, and in 2022 will continue to carry out this urgently needed work adjacent to the housing repairs funded through the donation to R3 Cayman Foundation.

Commenting on the Ministry's donation to R3, Bush said, "The Ministry is delighted to undertake this strategic partnership with R3 Cayman Foundation, with our mutual goals of aiding vulnerable people in the Cayman Islands and building long term resilience in our community."

The Ministry's donation to R3 Cayman Foundation will be matched by the Kenneth B. Dart Foundation, pursuant to its commitment to match third person donations up to CI$4 million. The Ministry's contribution will be used to carry out the identified housing repairs for those who fit specific eligibility criteria - including priority given to Caymanians over age 60, disabled, vulnerable and/or low income families with children. The matched funds will be utilised by R3 Foundation to fulfill its mission and serve other social development needs throughout the community.

Bryan Hunter, Chair of R3 Cayman Foundation, noted that R3 will carry out the housing repairs programme by making an equivalent donation to Resilience Cayman, which R3 has supported in the past in relation to their food, utilities and rent support programmes.

He also noted that R3 has policies and procedures in place to (i) ensure that the non-profit organisations that it supports are well-run with strong financials and governance standards and (ii) ensure that it provides appropriate oversight in relation to large donations such as the one in this case.

In addition, he noted that the donation from the Cayman Islands Government to R3 Cayman Foundation builds on their already strong relationship in that R3 has in the past provided funding support to a number of the Government's initiatives and programmes that fall within R3's objectives, such as the following:

• R3 has provided funding to Hazard Management Cayman Islands to support various strategic readiness initiatives.

• R3, in partnership with the Caring for Life Foundation and an anonymous donor, has provided funding to HSA to assist them to acquire the genomic sequencing equipment that they have used to great effect during the pandemic for the detection and containment of Covid-19 variants.

• R3 has provided funding to the Department of Environment in support of their Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Response Plan.

• R3 has provided funding to the Tourism Attraction Board to assist with repairing and rebuilding the irrigation system for the Colour Gardens in the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, which was damaged and/or destroyed by TS Grace.

Commenting on the donation from the Government, Hunter said, "R3 is pleased to accept the generous donation from the Cayman Islands Government in support of the housing repairs programme, which falls within R3's readiness and relief objectives in that its aim is to repair homes that have been damaged by a tropical storm or hurricane or to repair homes that are in such a state of disrepair that they are unlikely to withstand a future tropical cyclone. We are also delighted to provide a series of donations amounting to the $1.5M donation to Resilience Cayman and to work with them to ensure that this programme is carried out efficiently and effectively."

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