In its latest set of grant awards, R3 Cayman Foundation is pleased to announce grants totalling more than CI$190,000 to several local non-profit organisations with programmes in the areas of food relief, education and reskilling, mental health and the environment.
R3 Chairman Bryan Hunter says the second set of grants includes a greater emphasis on funding initiatives and projects in the area of Recovery.
“Recovery focuses on short- to medium-term efforts to rebuild communities, stimulate the economy and protect the environment following a disaster,” Mr. Hunter explains. “We are grateful to our generous donors for enabling these grants and to the local non-profit community for rising to the challenges presented by COVID-19 with innovative solutions.”
Relief: Education, Food Assistance
In response to the continuing economic impact of COVID-19, R3 awarded an additional CI$25,000 each to Cayman’s Acts of Random Kindness (ARK) and Meals On Wheels.
R3 Relief Chairman Woody Foster says the Foundation is leveraging its close working relationships with local non-profits to ensure the maximum impact of its funding.
“It’s a testament to our community solidarity that our local charities are working together, being open and transparent about their needs so we can ensure R3’s funding is going where it is needed most,” he says. “In the case of Meals on Wheels and ARK, these grants were vital to ensuring they could meet the continued demand for food relief.”
An additional CI$41,000 was awarded to Literacy Is For Everyone (LIFE) in support of its Education for Everyone programme which, through close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, provides children in need with laptops and internet access to enable distance learning. The success of the programme inspired the Ministry of Education to launch a “One-to-One” laptop programme to provide laptops to all Government school students for use at home and at school.
“This donation will complete the funding of the Education for Everyone programme,” Mr. Foster says.
Recovery: Reskilling, Childcare, Mental Health, Environment
To further support the reskilling of unemployed Caymanians displaced by COVID-19 and the diversification of the Cayman Islands workforce, R3 awarded CI$81,260 to the University College of the Cayman Islands. This funding provides financial aid to current students, including those enrolled in technical and vocational education and training, to enable them to complete their courses, and it has helped to support a compressed vocational training summer programme offered by UCCI to more than 110 students.
R3 also made a grant of CI$25,031 to the Central Caribbean Marine Institute to enable 12 needs-based Caymanian students to participate in its Ocean Science Scholarship programme.
R3 Recovery Chairman Joannah Bodden Small says the camp will be an opportunity for high school children from Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac who have been disproportionately affected by the impacts of the pandemic to participate in this exciting weeklong learning interaction that they may not have ordinarily been able to experience.
“The students will be immersed in an incredible learning opportunity we hope will inspire their curiosity, provide an appreciation for our valuable marine life, and spark friendships for years to come,” she says, noting the grant will cover the cost of flights, room, board, and excursions for the students.
Recognising the impact of the pandemic on mental health in young people, R3 also granted CI$25,000 to the Alex Panton Foundation in support of its Emotional Literacy Programme.
Mrs. Bodden Small says the Foundation is proud to support the school-based programme.
“The Emotional Literacy Programme helps children develop the skills to communicate effectively and cope with anxieties. These are essential skills, not just for processing the unprecedented circumstances they have experienced over the last few months, but for lifelong emotional wellbeing,” she says.
An additional CI$10,000 grant was made to the Cayman Islands Red Cross in support of its back to school initiatives to facilitate a safe transition back to the classroom. The programme will help to instil health and hygiene best practices through an educational video to help prepare students and supporting materials for use in the classroom and at home.
In an effort to contribute to local employment while protecting the natural environment, R3 also approved a donation of CI$8,000 to the National Trust for the Cayman Islands to hire local carpenters to build bat boxes.
“This unique and time-sensitive initiative allows the National Trust to provide local carpenters with employment while benefitting our natural environment and protecting a local species during their breeding season. Bats are important to our islands’ biodiversity and they are a valuable resource in helping to control mosquitoes and other insect populations,” Mrs. Bodden Small says.
NPOs Encouraged To Apply for Grants
Mr. Hunter says local non-profit organisations, or organisations exempted from non-profit status under current legislation, can now apply online for funding from R3 using a short application available on the R3 website.
“Currently, R3’s funding efforts are focused on addressing the unprecedented human and economic hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and preparedness efforts for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season,” Mr. Hunter says. “We encourage local charities with programmes, projects or initiatives in these areas to apply for an R3 grant.”