Alumni Impact Fund 2019: Winning Project

Thanks to all who supported the 2019 Alumni Impact Fund campaign. The following project has received Alumni Impact Fund support.

Partnering with the People of Puerto Rico in Disaster Recovery

SFC Eladio Tirado, who is from Puerto Rico, speaks with residents as he helps during recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria, in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, October 7, 2017

Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

After Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico in 2017, RAND helped its government develop a comprehensive recovery plan. A key part of that effort included collecting data from individual Puerto Ricans and community-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the recovery effort. Although the RAND team shared its findings with the government of Puerto Rico and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the project's sponsor, it has not had the opportunity to disseminate critical findings back to the people of Puerto Rico. In the wake of the peaceful protests that led to the resignation of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares in summer 2019, there is a window of opportunity to empower individual citizens and NGOs to become active participants in Puerto Rico's reconstruction and recovery.

With Alumni Impact funding, Marielena Lara and Vivian Towe propose to develop language- and culturally appropriate outreach opportunities to connect directly with the people of Puerto Rico and share RAND's findings and insights.

2021 Update

With support from the RAND Alumni Impact Fund, Marielena Lara and Gabriela Castro partnered with Puerto Rico community groups, including local NGOs and foundations, sharing RAND findings with them from its earlier recovery assistance work there, and then asking them to help surface and discuss what might better help underserved communities rebuild and recover. In this RAND Remote conversation, Lara and Castro discuss the initial analysis RAND performed to help support the Commonwealth’s reconstruction and recovery efforts. They then describe barriers that surfaced through engagement and conversations with community-trusted NGOs, including issues of equity in disaster recovery, and also share ways that RAND can help strengthen and safeguard communities and build resilience for the future. Lara and Castro are introduced by Winfield A. Boerckel, Vice President of the RAND Office of External Affairs.