More than half of Puerto Rico’s residents are without electricity, a quarter have no cell service and millions are trying to piece their lives together after Hurricane Maria ravished the island two months ago.
Just in time for the holidays, Rotary member Robert Murray was compelled to do something to help. The Scottsdale resident has donated $1 million to The Rotary Foundation, Rotary’s charitable arm, to support the island’s hardest hit citizens. His donation will help Rotary clubs in Puerto Rico implement projects that will help provide clean water, debris clean up and rebuilding among other things.
“Puerto Rico is my home. I lived on the island for 15 years and raised my children there,” said Mr. Murray, a member of the Rotary Club of Scottsdale.
“We have friends there and built our business on that beautiful island. This is our way to pay back a place that gave so much to us. There is so much devastation on the island and people stressing about how to live day to day. We can only hope that our gift helps provide some relief.”
Mr. Murray and his wife Edit started several successful businesses in Puerto Rico before selling a chain of self-storage warehouses on the island and retiring to the Phoenix area in 2006. In addition to the $1 million donated to Rotary, the Murrays have also gifted $1 million to the American Red Cross to provide baby food and formula to children affected by the storm.
“We wanted to make this donation through Rotary because Rotary clubs know exactly what their communities need,” Mr. Murray said. “Rotary members live in the community and volunteer countless hours to get services to those that need it most and that’s what Puerto Rico needs right now.”
Since its inception in 1917 with its first donation of $26.50, The Rotary Foundation is today a leading humanitarian foundation that has spent nearly $4 billion to help people live better. Each year, The Rotary Foundation provides more than $200 million to end polio and support sustainable projects and scholarships that promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water and sanitation, support education, save mothers and children and grow local economies.