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The People are uniting and, as a result, WE ARE NOT TO BE DEFEATED! I proudly share with you details of the progress we’ve made, working together, since launch of the Hurricane María Relief Drive for Artists at Pregones/PRTT.

First, a quick reminder of our guiding principles in conducting the Drive:
(1) 100% of donations received are delivered to artists in Puerto Rico in the form of unrestricted micro-grants of $500; (2) recipients in multiple disciplines are identified through a peer-to-peer network, reaching cities and towns throughout the island; (3) each micro-grant is hand delivered by trusted on-the-ground volunteers; on exceptional occasions, we have used wire transfers (expensive for the artist) and regular mail (inconsistent).

$80,000 AND COUNTING!
We launched on September 27, motivated by the desire to support artists with whom we had a history, and eager to play a leadership role in the first wave of relief after the hurricane. We identified 10 talented and dear individuals who we knew were in urgent need of financial assistance, and set out to collect funds via designated benefit performances and donations of all sizes. We were not going to stop at 10 recipients, it was a start.  To date, we have surpassed $80,000 in donations, grants, and pledges, pouring in from 26 U.S. States/Territories and 66 Cities, including London. Esteemed colleagues in New York-based and national philanthropies, including the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Southwest Airlines, have also made substantial gifts. That means more than 150 artist households in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico are benefitting from our collective efforts!

We are helping many artists that we know and admire, and many others with whom we’re connecting for the first time. The need is still urgent, and the roster continues to grow organically via recommendations by micro-grants recipients themselves, and through the activities of outreach, delivery, and fundraising partners. The Drive is now extended through December 31.

ARTISTS ARE PEOPLE TOO!
What have recipients done with their $500 micro-grants? Awards being modest in size and for emergency use, we do not require that recipients submit formal accounting reports on the use of funds. And yet, many of them have chosen to express their gratitude and personal stories via social media posts, text messages, phone calls, and e-mails. We learn that the challenges faced and met with our support are far ranging: to replace doors and windows damaged during the storms; to help meet this month’s rent or to buy food; to acquire new necessities like batteries or a standalone generator; to assist one or more elderly parent or grandparent; to make it viable to participate in grassroots relief efforts, or to travel at home and abroad in support of relief advocacy; to resume or fuel new creative and income-generating projects. More than one recipient chose to share her/his micro-grant dollars with other artists. In short, that our artists are people too, and they’re facing a humanitarian crisis. View a selection of thank you messages from recipients, in their own words, at this link: #GivingTuesday Relief Drive E-Message

IT TAKES A VILLAGE: THANK YOU! ¡GRACIAS!
Progress to date exceeds our initial expectations. The Hurricane María Relief Drive for Artists at Pregones/PRTT proves that our community is rich in leadership, solidarity, ingenuity, and rigor. Our idea to put $500 micro-grants directly in the hands of impacted artists, without intermediary costs, meant we had to mobilize trusted networks and build a volunteer pipeline between donors and persons in need. From opening our box office and donations desk to accept transactions of all sizes, to the law firm that donated 3-months’ worth of weekly FedEx expenses and coordination, to volunteer travelers carrying personally addressed envelopes and braving roads to hand deliver each award in Puerto Rico, we’re doing just that.

We are grateful to supporting sister organizations La Marqueta Retoña and Teatro SEA in New York, Roadside Theater in Kentucky, ArCoNet/The Arts & Community Network in Pennsylvania, and Jazz on the Tube online. We thank Consejo Artístico de Puerto Rico (CAPR), for serving as intermediaries with donors in and outside of the island, and Puerto Rico Independent Musicians & Artists (PRIMA), for launching its own successful drive in connection with ours. Cheers to the owners and patrons of Bronx Alehouse, in the Kingsbridge neighborhood, who threw a big benefit party and raffle in support of the Drive! Related collaborations also include our company’s participation in Encuentro de Las Américas International Theater Festival, in Los Angeles, with a special benefit performance of our production Apagón/Blackout presented by Latino Theater Company in association with Hero Theatre, Taller Kurubina, and Cunyá.

Thank you also to our on-the-ground carriers: Debra Reuben, Juan Ramón Acevedo, Sara Acevedo, Luis Salgado, Denisse Ambert, Alejandra Ramos Riera, Heriberto Feliciano, Mariem Pérez Riera, and Alfredo Richner.

Institutional Donors: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation • Howard Gilman Foundation • Rockefeller Brothers Fund • Southwest Airlines

Individual Donors: Adriana Gallego & Claudio Dicochea • Alan Sukoenig • Alberto Sandoval • Alex Balderrama • Alice Shechter • Alisha Tonsic • Alynda Segarra • Amaya García • Amy Cordileone • Amy Grossberg • Ana Cordero • Andrea Assaf • Angelique Sina + Friends of Puerto Rico • Aníbal González • Anne Edouard • Antonio Rodríguez • Arturo Córdova • Barbara S. Miller • Bala Soto • Belinda Escalera-Morriss • Bill Aguado & Kathy Pavlick • Bill Bragin • Bob Leonard • Brett Egan • Brigid Boyle • Carla Lord • Carlos Aponte • Carole Santiago • Cassidy Kean • Catalina Johnson • Charlie Davis • Charlotte Colavin • Chelsea Smith • Chris Hixson • Christopher Verene • Clara Zornado • Curtis Wells • Dalila Aguilú • David Ralicke • David & Pamela Tuttle • Deborah Ann Maylath • Debra Rubino • Debra Vinci • Diana Taylor • Efraín Tapia González • Elisa Lomazzo • Eliseo Rivera • Elizabeth Veiga • Eva Hagberg • Fernando Acosta • Genevieve Manchand • Georgia Bellas • Gisela Rivera-Figueroa • Griselle Natalia Fullana • Helen Waters • Ian Grunfeld • Ileana Vargas • Isalina Sánchez • J Eston • Jamie L. Bennett • Janet Hayday • Jean Tatge • John Medina • John Unger • Johnny Irizarri • Jordi Anez • José A. Olivares • José Irizarry • Josh Norek • Joshua Icban • Joyce Lindorff • Julia Sarcone-Roach • June Delano • Judianny Compres • Justino & Lucila Rodríguez • Kathryn Ortiz • Ken Goebel & Jennifer McGregor • Kendall Poe • Kirk Douglas • Lanny Grilly • Leticia Peguero • Lisa Lowenstein • Liz Lerman & Jon Speman • Luis Resto • Luis Ubiñas & Deborah Tolman • Lynsey Ayala • Makeda Mays Green • María Jones • Marcia Lifshitz-Haines • María De León • María Rivas • Maribel Araujo • Marinela Ruiz • Mario Ernesto Sánchez • Marlon Bishop • Matt Wagers • Matthew Arnold • Matthew Covey • Megan Clegg • Meklit Hadero • Merián Soto • Michael Kaiser • Michelle Tennyson • Mirielle Clifford • Morgan Lebus • Nancy Wilson • Noelia Rivera-Matos • Olga Garay • Oren Kessler • Orlando Berríos • Orlando Hernández • Paige Sarlin • Paul Norris • Penny Kelleher • Peter Rossiter • Phil Ranelin • Rachel Dady • Ralph Jungheim • Raquel Berríos • Rick Nelson • Robert Ostergaard • Roberto León • Rosa Luisa Márquez & Josė Miguel Villafañe • Samuel Hoi • Sandy Dean • Sarah Aberg • Shawne Major • Susan Berresford • Susan Rosenthal • Swati Jain • Talulah Paisley • Todd Gordon & Susan Feder • Virginia Louloudes • Vita Wallace • Wallace & Nydia Edgecombe • Wanda L. López • Yoshihara McKee Architect, PC

BUT WAIT! THERE’S ALWAYS MORE!
Our Artist Relief Drive is not over! Consider donating by clicking the RED LINK below or here: DONATE NOW!

Also, our partners at Spamilton – An American Parody join efforts through collections after each performance at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, channeled through the Hispanic Federation’s Unidos Disaster Relief & Recovery Program. Performances run through January 7. Get tickets by CLICKING HERE, and don’t forget to bring all your spare change and a check book!

We are part of the first wave, and part of a movement:
¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido! The People United Will Never Be Defeated!

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[Updated to include donors and amount raised through 12/14/17.]