Professional Curator

Chung-Wha Hong

Just Recovery in Puerto Rico Portfolio

Puerto Rico

This is a movement moment in Puerto Rico. In the midst of devastating disaster, Puerto Ricans are coming together with a vision toward a Just Recovery, a rebuilding effort centered on justice, community engagement and climate resiliency. Even before the destructive hurricane, Puerto Rico was suffering from debt, austerity, extraction and loss of economic control. The philanthropy sector could fund rebuilding the old, or we could support a Just Recovery, where groups can rebuild community-controlled renewable energy system, sustainable agriculture with food sovereignty, kick out corporations looking to profit off the disaster and stop the vicious cycle of debt, austerity and poverty. The portfolio of 4 grassroots groups that Grassroots International funds, are working toward that vision of Just Recovery, with active grassroots community engagement.

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At Grassroots International, we fund social movements in the Global South. Specifically, we support social movements in the Global South, that work on issues of land, water, seeds and food. Within that universe, we have a three-pronged funding strategy of supporting 1) sustainable livelihoods, 2) human rights defense and 3) movement building. These three funding strategies are often integrated and aim to provide maximum flexibility for social movements to develop their own political and movement building strategies. Our overall relationship with our grantee partners is one of long-term partnership, where we accompany them and support them through times of setbacks and times of victories. We don’t rely on short-term outcome metrics, but the long-term work of building power and building community, to change the dominant systems of today.

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About the curator

I spent most of my life, over 25 years, doing community organizing, advocacy and coalition building on human rights, disarmament, worker rights, health care and immigrant justice. I experienced some of the most incredible changes in the immigrant communities throughout the years. At the same time, I grew more cynical about the non-profit-philanthropy-legislative-industrial complex. That’s when I found Grassroots International. Its work of solidarity building and funding movements on the front lines of land/water protection and anti-privatization/extraction work got to the root-causes of all the issues I had worked on. I found it helpful to apply the principles of organizing to philanthropy, whether it’s organizing donors through one-on-one cultivation, or never wavering from the belief in the leadership of the affected people, or the importance of building democratic and inclusive organizations as the only vehicles for broader social change.

3 Years in grantmaking
Experience at Grassroots International
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Opportunities in this portfolio

Grassroots International (GI)

GI Just Recovery in Puerto Rico

Gifts of any size are welcome. For the Just Recovery Fund, 100% of the funds raised from this appeal will be divided equally among the 4 organizations in the current portfolio. We will disburse the grants in the coming weeks, together with additional funds raised. We will measure the success and impact of our grants through working with grantees to use measurements that they used for specific contexts i.e. food and water distribution, solar energy projects or how many farms were rebuilt etc. We will also assess how many community members were engaged and organized, any growth in the organizational capacity to manage the work and success of policy advocacy and communications work to promote the concept of Just Recovery. 1) Boricuá is a member organization of La Vía Campesina, a global network of small farmers and producers promoting food sovereignty and environmental protection through sustainable family farming. They will be supporting small farmers to rebuild their homes and livelihoods and are mobilizing farmers and volunteers to help each other. Now more than ever, the brigades will play a critical role in rebuilding Puerto Rico’s food system from the ground up. 2) Movement of Popular Agroecology (MAP) is composed of grassroots rural groups promoting food sovereignty through agroecology that includes popular education, solidarity brigades, exchange of seeds and preservation and dissemination of traditional peasant knowledge. They will be working to rebuild farms, nurseries, and homes through organizing solidarity reconstruction brigades and workshops. Additionally they will be providing construction materials, seeds, medicines and other urgent material aid. 3) Feminist Collective in Construction is a grassroots feminist organization that has been active since 2014, with a commitment to struggle for the well-being of the most vulnerable communities in Puerto Rico. They are establishing a grassroots-organized space that would function as a gathering point and distribution center of resources to alleviate the most urgent necessities of Puerto Rican women, LGBTQI people, non-binary folks, undocumented women and other people and communities in resistance. 4) Casa Pueblo is a community-based organization works for the protection and management of natural resources, sustainable development and energy democracy. Casa Pueblo aims to provide 20,000 solar lights to the island and light up the rural communities in the mountainside, starting with the city of Adjuntas. They are also supporting recovery efforts in Puerto Rico’s rural areas.

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