R3 Cayman Foundation grants shift focus to ‘Recovery’

Tara Nielsen of Cayman's ARK with the Chairman of the R3 Cayman Foundation, Bryan Hunter. ARK is one of the many non-profits to receive grants from R3.

In its latest set of financial awards, R3 Cayman Foundation has announced that grants totalling more than $190,000 are earmarked for several local non-profit organisations with programmes in the areas of food relief, education and reskilling, mental health and the environment.

R3 chairman Bryan Hunter said the second set of grants included a greater emphasis on funding initiatives and projects in the area of recovery.

“Recovery focusses on short- to medium-term efforts to rebuild communities, stimulate the economy and protect the environment following a disaster,” Hunter explained. “We are grateful to our generous donors for enabling these grants and to the local non-profit community for rising to the challenges presented by COVID-19 with innovative solutions.”

In response to the continuing economic impact of the pandemic, R3 awarded an additional $25,000 each to Cayman’s Acts of Random Kindness and Meals On Wheels.

R3 relief chairman Woody Foster said the foundation is leveraging its close working relationships with local non-profits to ensure the maximum impact of its funding.

“It’s a testament to our community solidarity that our local charities are working together, being open and transparent about their needs so we can ensure R3’s funding is going where it is needed most,” Foster said. “In the case of Meals on Wheels and ARK, these grants were vital to ensuring they could meet the continued demand for food relief.”

A grant of $41,000 was awarded to Literacy Is For Everyone in support of its Education for Everyone programme which, through close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, provides children in need with laptops and internet access to enable distance learning.

The success of the programme inspired the Ministry of Education to launch a ‘One-to-One’ laptop programme to provide laptops to all Government school students for use at home and at school.

“This donation will complete the funding of the Education for Everyone programme,” Foster added.

To further support the reskilling of unemployed Caymanians displaced by COVID-19 and the diversification of the Cayman Islands workforce, R3 awarded $81,260 to the University College of the Cayman Islands. This funding provides financial aid to current students, including those enrolled in technical and vocational education and training, to enable them to complete their courses, and it has helped to support a compressed vocational training summer programme offered by UCCI to more than 110 students.

R3 also made a grant of $25,031 to the Central Caribbean Marine Institute to enable 12 needs-based Caymanian students to participate in its Ocean Science Scholarship programme.

R3 recovery chairman Joannah Bodden Small said the camp will be an opportunity for high school children from Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac – who have been disproportionately affected by the impacts of the pandemic – to participate in this exciting week-long learning interaction that they may not have ordinarily been able to experience.

“The students will be immersed in an incredible learning opportunity we hope will inspire their curiosity, provide an appreciation for our valuable marine life, and spark friendships for years to come,” Bodden Small said, noting the grant will cover the cost of flights, room, board, and excursions for the students.

“CCMI would like to thank the R3 Cayman Foundation and its donors for supporting the Ocean Science Scholarship programme,” said CCMI president and CEO, Carrie Manfrino. “The programme provides a rare opportunity for students to learn alongside scientists, as they search for answers that enable us to protect marine biodiversity for the future.

“Experiences like these change peoples’ lives and we can’t thank R3 enough for supporting CCMI and the 12 Ocean Science Scholarship recipients.”

Recognising the impact of the pandemic on mental health in young people, R3 granted $25,000 to the Alex Panton Foundation in support of its Emotional Literacy Programme.

Bodden Small said R3 is proud to support the school-based programme.

“The Emotional Literacy Programme helps children develop the skills to communicate effectively and cope with anxieties. These are essential skills, not just for processing the unprecedented circumstances they have experienced over the last few months, but for lifelong emotional wellbeing,” she said.

An additional $10,000 grant was made to the Cayman Islands Red Cross in support of its back-to-school initiatives to facilitate a safe transition back to the classroom. The programme will help to instil health and hygiene best practices through an educational video to help prepare students and supporting materials for use in the classroom and at home.

In an effort to contribute to local employment while protecting the natural environment, R3 also approved a donation of $8,000 to the National Trust for the hiring of local carpenters to build bat boxes.

“This unique and time-sensitive initiative allows the National Trust to provide local carpenters with employment, while benefitting our natural environment and protecting a local species during their breeding season,” Bodden Small said.

“Bats are important to our islands’ biodiversity and they are a valuable resource in helping to control mosquitoes and other insect populations.”

Non-profits encouraged to apply for grants

Hunter said local non-profit organisations, or organisations exempted from non-profit status under current legislation, can now apply online for funding from R3, using a short application available on the R3 website.

“Currently, R3’s funding efforts are focussed on addressing the unprecedented human and economic hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and preparedness efforts for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season,” Hunter said. “We encourage local charities with programmes, projects or initiatives in these areas to apply for an R3 grant.”

Organisations and individuals seeking funding from R3 should visit www.r3foundation.ky to download the application form. To donate to R3, email [email protected].

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