When Hurricane Maria hit Cruzan Rum’s home island of St. Croix, the brand pledged $10 million over five years to rebuild disaster-affected communities. Here’s how they are making good on that promise.
Support long-term local recovery efforts and build resilience for future storms through disaster cause marketing
In 2018, St. Croix, the home island of Beam Suntory’s Cruzan Rum brand, was devastated in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Cruzan Rum wanted to do something to support the community and recognize the resiliency of the people of St. Croix.
To ensure no one weathers a storm alone, they recognized the need to support long-term relief and recovery efforts across the United States and its territories, rebuilding and renewing communities impacted by hurricanes.
Cruzan Rum pledged to raise $10 million by 2022 by donating $1 per case of rum sold, but they needed a trusted and experienced grantmaking partner to make the disaster cause marketing program happen.
A fund to support organizations on the ground
Cruzan Rum turned to GlobalGiving to launch the Island Spirit Fund. GlobalGiving first recommended nonprofits working in the US Virgin Islands on long-term recovery efforts. Five initial nonprofit partners working in areas such as housing and environmental rebuilding in the US Virgin Islands were selected to participate. As Cruzan Rum expands the program, additional organizations in other hurricane-impacted communities like Florida and North Carolina receive support as well.
GlobalGiving created a designated fund where Cruzan Rum, its distributor partners, and individuals could donate. Every three months, the Island Spirit Fund grantees post reports with photos and stories of the work they’re doing and provide data to quantify their impact. GlobalGiving collects funding from Cruzan Rum and its distribution partners and disburses it regularly to Island Spirit Fund organizations. By partnering with GlobalGiving, Cruzan Rum streamlines its communications and paperwork—and only needs to work with one charity as its commercial co-venture partner for its cause marketing promotions.
Lasting partnership with community-led organizations
In a typical month, thanks to the Island Spirit Fund, local organizations and their volunteers complete more than 4,000 hours of work on the ground, help 300 individuals, build or improve 6 homes, plant 100 trees, and host 20 events.
“GlobalGiving has played an instrumental role in getting Cruzan’s Island Spirit Fund off the ground, helping us identify and liaise with the local organizations that best bring our recovery and resiliency efforts to life. Thanks to GlobalGiving’s expertise, the Island Spirit Fund has grown from an idea to a multi-million dollar grant program.”
— Clement Reid, Marketing Director Vodka & Commercial Brands, Beam Suntory
Island Spirit Fund’s impact grows with each passing month of Cruzan Rum’s ongoing disaster cause marketing commitment. According to Imani Daniel, Executive Director for the St. Thomas Recovery Team, one of the Island Spirit Fund organizations, “The Island Spirit Fund has really raised morale on St. Thomas, as well as on the other two islands.”
Featured Photo: More than 1,500 days since hurricanes Maria and Irma by La Maraña