The “Resilient Puerto Rico Advisory Commission”—announced on November 16, 2017—will be an independent and inclusive body led by Puerto Ricans and designed to offer recommendations for how to use private, philanthropic, local government, and federal recovery dollars to repair and rebuild the critical systems devastated by Hurricane Maria. Locally led, and supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the Ford Foundation, the commission will offer recommendations to help rebuild Puerto Rico in a way that makes the island stronger – physically, economically, and socially – and more prepared to confront future challenges.
The commission will identify concrete projects and initiatives and develop recommendations after several months of deep engagement with local communities, NGOs, philanthropies, the private sector, governments, academia, members of the Puerto Rican diaspora, and others.
The commission will be composed of approximately 25 members and led by an executive committee of co-chairs. It will include a diverse group of representatives from all sectors of society. Four co-chairs have been named:
- Richard Carrión, Chairman Popular, Inc.
- Ana María García-Blanco, Executive Director of the Instituto Nueva Escuela
- Carmen Concepción Rodríguez, Chair of the Department of Planning, La Universidad de Puerto Rico
- Miguel A. Soto-Class, Founder and President of the Center for a New Economy
In conjunction with the three foundations, the co-chairs will further design the structure of the committee. The co-chairs will also select its members. The commission will be staffed by the Center for a New Economy and a technical consultant partner.
The commission will aim to have a robust report released in March 2018. The commission will also develop a recommendation regarding the creation of a longer-term body, meant to exist for additional months or years, which can guide and implement recommendations for a resilient recovery. It will lead working groups and make recommendations in the sectors of energy; mobility; economic development; infrastructure; housing; and fiscal strength.
This commission will provide:
- A platform with external credibility and independence;
- Independent guidance to decision makers, informed by local context and the best available knowledge and expertise, to support evidence-based policy making and recovery strategies;
- The commission will collaborate with local and mainland Foundations in the development of medium and long-term philanthropic strategies for equitable rebuilding.
- Visibility for Puerto Rico’s interests, on the Island, in Washington, and beyond;
- Publicly available and reliable data and analysis; and
- Groundwork for a longer-term resilience and equitable growth strategy that can be advanced by a future body.