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Press Release

Center for Disaster Philanthropy Supports Americares Hurricane Maria Recovery Program

  • November 05, 2018
  • Supporting Mental Health in Puerto Rico

Stamford, Conn. — Nov. 5, 2018 — The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) has awarded Americares $500,000 to support mental health and psychosocial programs for Hurricane Maria survivors in Puerto Rico with an emphasis on helping older, low-income adults. 

The funds will allow Americares to continue to meet health needs in storm-damaged communities as well as help Americares reach its goal of teaching 5,000 health workers and emergency responders coping skills to manage stress and trauma. The training prepares health workers to care for patients affected by the storm, as well as address their own mental health needs. With older adults a growing segment of the population even as the island’s overall population declines, Americares is better equipping health workers caring for an aging patient population to identify mental health needs and refer patients for services. 

“Thousands of Puerto Ricans are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria,” said Americares Vice President of Emergency Programs Kate Dischino. “The partnership with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy will allow us to continue supporting the mental health needs of survivors, while paying special attention to the needs of a particularly vulnerable group—low-income older adults.”

Americares Hurricane Maria Recovery Program is meeting survivors’ health needs and restoring access to care in storm-damaged communities across Puerto Rico. The health-focused relief and development organization has had an emergency response team on the ground in Puerto Rico since the hurricane.

A significant priority in the recovery effort is a long-term commitment to support Puerto Rico’s mounting mental health crisis. Americares is addressing this crisis through its “Healing for Health Workers: Building Mental Health Capacity in Post-Maria Puerto Rico,” initiative launched as a Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery meeting in Miami earlier this year. To date, Americares has trained more than 1,500 health workers and emergency responders in Puerto Rico through disaster preparedness and mental health workshops and delivered $40 million in aid for Hurricane Maria survivors in Puerto Rico and Dominica.

“As part of the long-term recovery from disasters, it is important to support the emotional well-being of both survivors and disaster workers, particularly in vulnerable and elderly populations,” said Robert G. Ottenhoff, president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. “CDP is proud to support Americares in its work addressing the mental health and psychosocial needs in Puerto Rico.”

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), is currently managing six Disaster Funds, totaling $24 million, with a focus on making disaster-related contributions more effective and strategic. The organization recently awarded grants totaling $2.9 million to communities affected by Hurricanes Maria and Irma in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands.

Americares responds to an average of 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year, establishes long-term recovery projects and brings disaster preparedness programs to vulnerable communities. The organization has a long history of responding to emergencies including the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2014 Ebola outbreak and, most recently, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence and Michael.

About the Center for Disaster Philanthropy
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s mission is to transform disaster giving by providing timely and thoughtful strategies to increase donors’ impact during domestic and international disasters. CDP is currently managing $24 million in six Disaster Funds on behalf of corporations, foundations, and individuals. In the face of intensifying natural disasters and worsening humanitarian crises, CDP also works to raise awareness of the urgent need to support the full lifecycle of disasters, from mitigation and preparedness to long-term recovery and resilience, particularly among vulnerable populations. For more information, visit:, call (202) 595-1026 or tweet us  @funds4disaster.