Mutual Aid Infrastructure

"Supporting those who support"

As an intermediary organization in Puerto Rico, we are committed to mobilizing the creation of infrastructure to advance equity and systemic change. Since the Hurricane Fiona emergency in 2022, we have been supporting the creation of mutual aid infrastructure; not only as an emergency response, but with a vision of long-term sustainability. Through the FORWARD Fund we distributed $720,000 in 10 grants to Mutual Support Centers throughout Puerto Rico. These organizations are committed to working from the ground up, addressing systemic issues that are essential to the economic development and well-being of communities. Some of the issues they focus on are: agriculture, agroecology, environmental and energy sustainability, holistic health, provision of essential services, transportation, and they also serve as a liaison between the community and the organizations that want to impact them.

The organizations that we have been accompanying for these 18 months were:

The mutual support centers are located in different geographical areas of Puerto Rico with a common vision: to instigate equity from different areas of the archipelago to tackle inequality. For the most part, these organizations are located in “rescued” schools in the community providing essential services such as food, education, technological support, transportation, cultural workshops; but they also serve as emergency response centers since they are being equipped with solar panels, cisterns, electricity batteries, non-perishable food and shelter.

In addition to active listening throughout these months, we visited some of these communities with our members to learn firsthand how these communities operate and what their needs are. Through our Learning Journeys we were able to experience their holistic health programs, work on preparing food supplies and learn about the challenges faced by the agricultural communities they serve.

As part of the process of learning more about how these organizations work and their impact on the community, we held two meetings during the year (virtual and in-person). During both “juntes” (meetings) we gathered these organizations together to build trust among them, learn more about each other’s work, create opportunities for feedback and share useful tools with each other. In addition, we also had our Charging Stations meetings (1:1) with each of them to continue learning about them, their upcoming projects and how they envision mutual aid in Puerto Rico.

These Mutual Aid Centers are doing incredible efforts towards the sustainability of these communities.

  • Equipping the rescued schools with solar panels, water cisterns, bedding, clothing for all ages and non-perishable food.
  • Organizing brigades to prepare the farms in the neighborhood to prepare them for planting.
  • Organizing agro-markets with products from fishermen and farmers.
  • Producing agricultural inputs of natural origin.
  • Strengthening a network of biofactories in Puerto Rico.
  • Connecting local farmers to funds available for their efforts
  • Offering acupuncture and other holistic and integrative health services
  • Conducting second-hand clothing markets to raise funds
  • Connecting the agricultural sector with the fishing sector
  • Distributing groceries in the communities on a daily basis
  • Providing technological workshops for all ages
  • Offering transportation for medical appointments or other issues
  • Offering educational workshops for after-school reinforcement, cultural workshops in music and dancing
  • Supporting the elderly in their daily care and pressing needs
  • Advocating to establish policies in favor of the communities,

The FORWARD Fund is a strategic investment tool that allows the creation of infrastructure that supports these organizations in continuing expanding their efforts. Filantropía Puerto Rico embraces the commitment to create and sustain these platforms in which the social sector has the opportunity to think, strategize, collaborate, exchange, listen and learn about diverse practices that will continue to mobilize and advance equity.

Keep track of our moves