Press Release

Amgen Foundation Joins Fundación Comunitaria in Community Response to Prevent COVID-19

San Juan, Puerto Rico, April 16, 2020 | Amgen Foundation joins Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico (FCPR), other donors such as The Chicago Community Trust, Central Florida Foundation and The Prospect Hill Foundation, as well as individuals who have joined through Global Giving, to drive and strengthen the FCPR community strategy: Collective response to COVID-19.

The strategy is based on preventing and containing COVID-19 in various towns on the island through community health clinics (Centers 330) and community-based organizations that are serving the elderly population. These organizations are providing education and supplies of materials for the prevention and containment of the coronavirus. Additionally, they are conducting clinical trials, providing support with food purchases, and cultivating community organizing to keep this population healthy.

“For the FCPR to be able to support the communities, it needs two key partners: the organizations in the community, ready and willing to give their best, and donors who believe in the work of the FCPR to execute strategies with these community collaborators effective ”, mentioned Dr. Nelson I. Colón Tarrats, executive president of the FCPR.

The FCPR Board of Directors approved $223,000 to drive the strategy that has allowed granted $ 174,647.10 to eight non-profit organizations (six clinics and two community organizations) to execute their prevention strategies and containment of the coronavirus. To identify nonprofits, the FCPR conducted an invitation call to entities that had already collaborated with the FCPR in past emergency situations and that could execute a community program focused on the elderly population. With the contribution of $350,000 from the Amgen Foundation, added to about $55,000 from other donors, the program is strengthened by reaching the figure of $625,000, with which the FCPR has the potential to join organizations to work with more communities throughout the entire island.

“The Amgen Foundation has further increased its commitment to our communities in Puerto Rico as we experience the COVID-19 global health emergency. We reaffirm our commitment to supporting community-based organizations that provide assistance to the most vulnerable and needy communities in times of emergency such as the one we currently live in. With our support we seek to mitigate the social and economic impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had in our communities”, said Aixa Caballer, Leader of the Amgen Foundation in Puerto Rico and Senior Manager of Corporate Affairs at Amgen in Puerto Rico.

The first grant of this strategy was to VAMOS Concertación Ciudadana Inc., to work on an education, prevention and containment program in three communities of Guánica (Arenas, La Laguna and La Luna), the epicenter of recent earthquakes -their residents still live that reality daily, so they are among the most vulnerable populations on the island. Their intervention includes: visiting each house to provide access to protective supplies such as gloves, masks, and disinfectants; execute a screening protocol that includes referrals for COVID-19 tests through a community nurse and a local doctor; and activate a system of loudspeakers for those who do not have access to electronic means, as well as a system of young volunteers to make purchases and other “errands” for this population of older adults. “This project is part of the development of community plans for emergency management and aims to achieve zero deaths of the elderly due to coronavirus in the communities served. Furthermore, this initiative becomes a model for other communities in Puerto Rico, and we are available to assist them in their development”, said Justo Méndez Arámburu, general coordinator of VAMOS Puerto Rico.

In addition, the FCPR granted Corporacion de Salud y Desarrollo Socioeconómico El Otoao (COSSAO) and the following community health clinics, better known as Centers 330: Concilio de Salud Integral de Loíza, Inc.; PryMed Medical Care, Inc.; Migrant Health Center, Western Region Inc.Centro de Servicios de Salud Primaria de Patillas, Inc.; y Corporación de Servicios de Salud y Medicina Avanzada, Inc. (COSSMA), benefiting approximately 14 communities in 10 towns. It is estimated that 7,781 people will receive services that are being offered.

These clinics will strengthen their work team in charge of monitoring and caring for the health of older adults; implement preventive measures; gain access to COVID-19 texts; they will buy and deliver medicines and food, to prevent people from exposing themselves and maintaining a good diet; they will buy medical equipment; and they will make referrals to other clinics or health institutions.

“Community contagion requires a community response. The government, municipalities, the commercial and financial sector, and individuals are doing their part, but in that equation, there is a lack of community organization that provides support to the most vulnerable. With this in mind, the FCPR activated a support response to community health clinics and grassroots organizations that are making efforts to prevent and contain the coronavirus, particularly among that population of older adults,”, added Colón Tarrats.

The initiative also has a series of allies such as the Asociación de Salud Primaria de Puerto Rico (ASPPR), Coalición de Sabiduría COVID19 en Puerto Rico (COSACO), and others.

We invite you to be part of the Collective Response to COVID-19, donating to the Puerto Rico Community Recovery Fund at www.fcpr.org. From the menu, tap Donate, read the instructions, and choose the above fund to make your donation. You can also donate through Global Giving: Zero Deaths … A Collective Response to COVID-19.

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