The Los Angeles Dodgers have pledged to donate $2 million to Puerto Rico’s recovery, more than six months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
Dodgers owner and chairman Mark Walter announced on Tuesday the baseball team’s hefty donation would go to nonprofit Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico to support rebuilding efforts. The team is joining efforts by one of its players, Puerto Rican Enrique “Kike” Hernández, who launched a fundraiser for the nonprofit on YouCaring the day after the storm.
With the money from that fundraiser, as well as other charitable endeavors, Hernández and his fiancée, Mariana Vicente, added over $225,000 to the Dodgers’ donation.
The money will go to Habitat’s work rebuilding and repairing homes on the island, where more than a third of housing stock was damaged in the storm, according to Puerto Rican officials.
“It’s been more than six months since Hurricane Maria’s devastating effects on Puerto Rico and with so much work still to be done, the Dodgers want to do our part to help with the island’s rebuilding and recovery efforts,” Walter said in a statement.
“Kike and Mariana have been such strong advocates for Puerto Rico,” he added. “We want to join their families and loved ones in helping repair the community and work towards a return to normalcy.”
The Dodgers’ donation comes amid a new report from Politico that the Trump administration responded with far more support to Texas after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of that state last year than it did to Puerto Rico after Maria hit just one month later ― both in terms of the speed and size of the federal response.
When HuffPost visited Puerto Rico at the end of January, more than four months after the storm, towns in the western part of the island were struggling without tourists, and many families living in rural areas still had blue tarps on their roofs ― temporary fixes that left them vulnerable to wind and rain.
Many Puerto Ricans who have applied for FEMA aid for housing have been denied, NPR reported ― some because they can’t prove they own their home, which is a relatively common situation in rural areas, where purchasing or building a home can often be a more informal process.
Hernández is one of several Puerto Rican celebrities who have made generous donations to the island’s recovery efforts, including reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee, singer Jennifer Lopez and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.