The Island Spirit Fund

by GlobalGiving
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The Island Spirit Fund
The Island Spirit Fund
The Island Spirit Fund
May 31, 2022

What it looks like to let communities lead

Carlo, Executive Director of La Marana
Carlo, Executive Director of La Marana

In 2017, Carlo witnessed firsthand the devastation in Puerto Rico after hurricanes Irma and Maria—and the painfully slow government response that left lights out in communities for months. “No one is coming,” he recalls thinking. “No one is coming to save you. No one is coming for your family. You have to save yourself.” Carlo believes Puerto Ricans themselves know best how to create safer futures, but they’re shut out through broken systems. His job is to make space for Puerto Ricans to envision and enact solutions as the Executive Director of the nonprofit La Maraña, an Island Spirit Fund partner. 

La Maraña’s story was featured in GlobalGiving’s recent Community Forward Film Series, highlighting nonprofits putting communities in the driver’s seat of change. [Watch Carlo discuss La Maraña’s work in this one-minute video.]

GlobalGiving’s interim CEO recently shared in an article how research shows community-led organizations like La Maraña are more agile, connected, and flexible. They’re able to act quickly because they understand the contexts in which they work. They’re able to harness local assets because they have long-held relationships with their neighbors. They’re able to pivot based on changing needs because they see and feel those needs every day.

The world’s most pressing problems, like recovery from back-to-back natural disasters, will never be solved if the people with the most promising solutions continue to be shut out. Instead, we need to back the people with local knowledge, with lived experiences of the issues, the people from within communities who want to create change.

When you support the Island Spirit Fund, you lift up changemakers at organizations like La Maraña, Protectores de Cuencas Inc, CHANT, Patient Assist, St Croix Long-Term Recovery Group, and St John Community Foundation. Thank you for helping communities lead the way.

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Organization Information


Location: Washington, D.C. - USA
EIN: 30-0108263

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Twitter: @GlobalGiving

About GlobalGiving’s Disaster Response

When a disaster strikes, recovery efforts led by people who live and work in affected communities are often overlooked and underfunded. GlobalGiving is changing this reality. Since 2004, we've been shifting decision-making power to crises-affected communities through trust-based grantmaking and support.

We make it easy, quick, and safe to support people on the ground who understand needs in their communities better than anyone else.

They were there long before the news cameras arrived, and they’ll be there long after the cameras leave. They know how to make their communities more resilient to future disasters, and they’re already hard at work. GlobalGiving puts donations and grants directly into their hands. Because the status quo—which gives the vast majority of funding to a few large organizations—doesn’t make sense.

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