Foundation established to manage private-sector emergency fund

A private sector-led emergency recovery fund announced in early April and kicked off with an initial $1 million personal donation from Ken Dart is taking shape.

The fund will be managed by R3 Cayman Foundation to support readiness, relief and recovery efforts in the Cayman Islands in response to emergencies and disasters, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release issued by the foundation on Friday morning.

Following the initial Dart grant, the foundation has received commitments of nearly $2 million from individual and corporate donors, the release stated.

Ken Dart has pledged to match these private-sector donations up to an additional $4 million.

Mark VanDevelde, CEO, Dart Enterprises

Mark VanDevelde, CEO of Dart Enterprises, said in the release, “By pooling resources and expertise, the private sector can leverage its strengths to make an invaluable contribution to each of the three islands’ preparation, response and resilience in times of national emergency.”

R3 Cayman Foundation stated that its immediate priority will be to identify and fund projects which help alleviate the substantial human and economic impact of COVID-19 on the community. The fund also aims to enable the Cayman Islands to emerge better and more resilient from the pandemic.

R3 Cayman Foundation draws on Cayman’s new foundation company legislation, with a board of directors taking responsibility for all decisions, including how funds will be allocated towards readiness, relief and recovery efforts for COVID-19 and national emergencies in the future, VanDeVelde said.

The foundation will complement existing government-led national efforts by supporting local non-profit organisations with funding for projects involved in all aspects of a disaster cycle, the release noted.

Readiness, relief and recovery cover the preparation for potential natural and man-made disasters, the coordination of assistance for those affected by a disaster, as well as rebuilding and economic-stimulus initiatives.

Woody Foster, president, Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce
Woody Foster

Woody Foster, one the foundation’s new board members, said in the statement, “The intent of R3 Cayman Foundation is to complement the good work already being done in our community, and consolidate private sector support of organisations active in these areas.

“By collaborating and communicating with non-profits and government agencies, we can ensure a more efficient and thoughtful distribution of funds.”

Once incorporated, R3 Cayman Foundation will be registered as a non-profit organisation. It is also in the final phase of being established as a foundation company, the release stated.

The board of directors will comprise Joannah Bodden Small, Annikki Brown, Pilar Bush, Chris Duggan, Woody Foster, Richard Hew, Bryan Hunter, Nicoela McCoy, Carla Reid and David Ritch.

Governor Martyn Roper

Governor Martyn Roper will serve as principal, a key governance role with sole authority for the appointment and removal of supervisors. Former attorney general Richard Coles will be appointed as a supervisor of the foundation.

The new fund will work in collaboration with the Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund, which was set up to help with relief efforts following 2004’s Hurricane Ivan. The National Recovery Fund has been dormant for several years, but is being reactivated, Roper announced on Friday.

Roper said in a statement, “We are very grateful to everyone working to make these two initiatives a success and to the funders who have very generously devoted their time and resources. The initial donation from Ken Dart was an important catalyst. The two funds will collaborate closely and enable Cayman to be even more resilient in tackling the threats that we all face from natural and man-made disasters”.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who was also quoted in the statement, said, “We have a good track record of dealing with crisis and a proud tradition of assisting our neighbours in times of need. COVID 19 has pushed the boundaries of resilience around the world and with this year’s hurricane season predicted to be a particularly active one, it is important that we use every resource we have to keep everyone safe.

“In recent weeks we have seen the real impact that joint Government and Private Sector collaboration can have as we have tackled the vital supply issues around testing and the delivery of PPE. The opportunities presented by the R3 Cayman Foundation and the Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund will be important as we seek to solve further problems as we move forward into uncharted waters”.

The R3 Cayman Foundation board will meet in the coming days to begin mapping the priority areas for COVID-19-related funding, according to the foundation.

The law firm Appleby advised on the new foundation company structure and local accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers has indicated its willingness to provide annual audit services on a pro bono basis, the release noted.

Further information about R3 Cayman Foundation and the initiatives it will support will be announced and shared on R3foundation.ky.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now