U.S. Virgin Islands, January 18, 2024 — The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) announced that $110,000 in grants from the Popular VI Community Fund has been awarded to organizations that provide direct services in one or more of the grant’s focus areas, such as youth programs, entrepreneurship, and/or environmental protection. Grants of $10,000 each went to nine nonprofit organizations in the USVI and a $20,000 grant was awarded to the Youth Empowerment Project in Tortola.
Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts (CMCArts) is using the funding to continue to connect students with artists from around the globe, fostering inspiration and engagement through its Artist-in-Residence program.
Coral Oceanic Restoration Education Foundation (CORE) received a grant to train
and educate youth on St. John through a Coral Nursery Program that will focus on how to build, clean, and maintain the coral nursery; education on corals, diseases, invasive species, and environmental impacts; how to maintain databases; and any additional dive training certifications needed to complete the coral nursery work.
Grace Ministries received grant funding to provide a program with ongoing support for community children by assisting them with homework, providing access to computers and printing, and assisting with school projects. The program will also work to foster financial literacy and environmental awareness through field trips and various projects.
My Brother's Workshop (MBW) is using the funding to support vocational training for students by enrolling them in the MBW workshop or cafe and bakery. Students will learn the basic skills of various vocational trades and will also receive mentoring and counseling services.
Nana Baby Children's Home received grant funding to build a therapeutic garden to provide an outlet where children can learn new skills by planting seeds, gardening, harvesting food, and learning about sustainable living. In addition, the garden will help children develop social skills, manage their mental health, and spend quality time with other residents.
Rotary Club of St. Thomas East Eco is using the funding to enhance the original arboretum established in 2005 on the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School campus. The project will focus on repairing and updating the site and creating an outdoor classroom space where students can engage in tree research and become tour guides.
St. Thomas Swimming Association is using the funding to provide 500 swimming lessons for children ages 4 to 18 years old. Learning this crucial skill will decrease their risk of injury, provide life-long recreational opportunities and open up future careers in the marine industry.
United Jazz Foundation received grant funding to support an after-school initiative for Junior and High School students with a focus on using music as a tool to enhance students' skills, including music writing, notation skills, and the ability to express personal stories through their craft in a professional recording environment and public space.
Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) is using the funding to support an innovative model of youth workforce development in the BVI with a focus on the hospitality industry. Youth ages 15-18 will be selected for paid internships as youth counselors, participate in seminars that develop soft skills, be introduced to the hospitality industry, and be mentored by industry professionals.
In partnership with CFVI, Popular Inc. established the Popular VI Community Fund at CFVI with an initial donation of $100,000 in 2022. The initiative focuses on the well-being of the communities Popular serves in St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, Water Island and Tortola.
"The purpose of the fund is to support the philanthropic interests of Popular and its employees in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, specifically to enhance services from nonprofit organizations that are focused on youth education and economic empowerment, such as vocational training and employment support, or environmental projects," said Oran Roebuck, Senior Vice President and Division Manager of Popular’s Virgin Islands Region.
Organizations interested in learning more about establishing a fund at CFVI can email Sonia Barnes-Moorhead, Vice President of Development and Capacity Building, at firstname.lastname@example.org.