Sharing resources at the Disaster Mitigation Expo
This May's impact report marks 7 months since Hurricanes Irma and Maria swept through the U.S. Virgin Islands last year in September. Since then, and because of your generous gifts to St. Croix Foundation's CARE Fund, the Foundation has served hundreds of people directly. And through our support of our sister nonprofits and our convening of federal, local, and grassroots relief efforts, we've provided countless resources that have reached thousands of people. Together, we've helped mothers provide for their infants, ensured the elderly and disabled have electricity and medical supplies, and conducted hundreds of referrals to ensure our residents received public assistance.
But perhaps most importantly, we've served as a data collector and repository of vast amounts of vital information that has helped us to bring together diverse groups to develop a cohesive, equitable, and sustainable rebuilding plan that is community based. Since our last report in March, the Foundation has been busy doing what we do best: supporting hurricane recovery and nurturing resiliency through a holistic, community-based lens. Here's what we've been working on and have accomplished in the past few months:
Leveraging the Household Needs Assessment Survey & the Nonprofit Capacity Survey
Initially, we knew that both the Foundation and our community would need data to inform immediate relief strategies, such as the distribution of supplies and to connect individual’s in crisis with organizations that may be able to help. To do so, we surveyed 1,046 individuals and households impacted by the disaster in some of the hardest hit areas on the island and processed 353 referrals for 273 individuals resulting in eligible residents becoming registered for public assistance. And because so many nonprofit organizations in our community fill critical service gaps, particularly in the wake of the hurricanes, we also conducted a Nonprofit Capacity Survey to determine how to support our nonprofits best so that they could get back to work.
Today, with the full results of both surveys completed, we are now able to leverage our data collection to inform the Foundation’s intermediate and long-term disaster recovery strategies as well as assist us in emergency preparedness planning for the future. Here are some of our findings, made possible through your contributions and the expertise of Dr. Jesse Klein of Florida State University and Dr. Mike Campbell, University of the West Indies, who analyzed the data.
Household Needs Assessment
- 93% of people interviewed through St. Croix Foundation’s Resident Unmet Needs Study (1,050 respondents) said their homes were damaged and, of those, 80% had roof damage.
- Of those residents who were surveyed through the Study, 72% had no homeowner’s insurance. Of those with insurance, only 27% felt their insurance coverage would be sufficient to cover damages. Only 25% of respondents with insurance reported they were able to afford the deductible.
- In households in which a member had special medical needs, 26% indicated that they did not have access to the medicine or medical equipment needed after the storm.
- 65% of residents reported in the Study that they had mold in their homes.
- 34% of respondents to the Foundation’s Study had either reduced hours at work or had not yet returned to work as a result of the storm.
Nonprofit Capacity Assessment Study
- Of the 60 nonprofit organizations St. Croix Foundation surveyed through our Nonprofit Assessments Study, 75% who had facility damage have had only temporary repairs or none at all.
- 70% of the NGOs who responded to our Nonprofit Assessment reported an increase in demand for their services; and 64% are either operating on a limited basis or not at all.
Armed with data from our Household Needs Assessment and Nonprofit Capacity Survey, the Foundation was able to (1) assist St. Croix's Long Term Recovery Group forecast needs for housing, medical care, and financial support; (2) build a strategic grantmaking program through our CARE Fund to ensure our nonprofits will be able to get back to work serving the most vulnerable in our community.
Results for both Studies are available on request and be provided by contacting the Foundation at 340.773.9898.
Strengthening our Long-Term Recovery Group
In deepening our direct support of nonprofit and grassroots organizations to achieve a holistic, community-centric recovery, St. Croix Foundation is providing the St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group with sound financial management through our Fiscal Sponsorship Services. At this time, the Foundation is waiving all financial management fees (typically 5% - 7.5%) and providing a discount for office space this coalition of over 30 civic, nonprofit, and faith-based organizations will be able to leverage more of their dollars to fill unmet needs, fundraise, apply for grants, and direct funds to meet critical needs, both immediate and emerging.
Already on the move, the Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG) held their first Youth Opportunity Fair on May 5th, introducing countless St. Croix youth to the LTRG and other organizations and programs that are currently available in the community in order to inspire, engage, and mobilize young people to be an integral part of our collective rebuilding efforts.
Even more recently, the Foundation (as a standing member of the LTRG) joined the 2018 Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Expo on May 19th (seen at left) to assist in disseminating information resources on disaster recovery and preparedness.
Strategic Grantmaking through the CARE Grant
In February of 2018, St. Croix Foundation launched the CARE Grant to provide strategic grants to St. Croix based nonprofit organizations and charitable initiatives that offer programs and direct services targeting the most vulnerable and underserved populations affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Foundation awarded over $275,000 in grants to 16 nonprofit organizations for projects that are (1) developing services and/or programs, (2) building capacity to allow expansion of existing services, and (3) reconstructing facilities necessary for conducting programs that directly relate to the needs of hurricane victims or recovery.
With 8 of 13 public schools on St. Croix having been condemned, all public schools students receive only 4 hours of instruction per day at school, the Foundation's grants focused particularly on youth programs that are filling critical gaps for families and our young people. Grants ranging from $7,500 to $50,000 were awarded to the following organizations: AZ Academy’s Summer STEM Project, Caribbean Center for Boys & Girls -Fueling the Youth, Choices Basketball Association -Summer Training Camp, Christiansted Lighthouse Mission, CMCArts, Inc., Cruzan Cowgirls Horse Rescue, Frederiksted Health Care, Men’s Coalition -Developing Youth Resiliency, Onyx Opera, Good Hope Country Day School -Summer Theater Camp, St. Croix Walls Project, USVI Soccer Association, VI Perinatal, and World Ocean School.
As an important component of our strategy, our CARE Grant has strict reporting requirements that allow the Foundation to support organizations throughout their project as well as continue to gather information on the conditions of our nonprofits as wells as our residents.
Sustainable Rebuilding: Moving Forward
Today, as we move into the intermediate and long-term phases of our hurricane recovery efforts we are focusing attention and resources on equity and sustainability. To do so, the St. Croix Foundation is even now developing a Solar-Supported Community Demonstration Program to begin with a "pilot" project that will serve as a replicable model of sustainable community development that will install affordable, energy cost reducing, solar-PV systems in community residences. The Foundation is pursuing this program urgently given that the 2017 direct strike of Hurricane Maria on St. Croix exposed the critical need that working communities, in particular, have for such a program.
Now more than ever, your support of the CARE Fund is making an impact on the lives of those who call St. Croix home. We’re in this together, and in partnership with you, we will help our community recover, rebuild, and thrive.
Engaging our youth for holistic rebuilding!
Music in Motion, a CARE Grantee, is all smiles!
Our Long Term Recovery Group gains momentum!