Vieques Ready

$25,410 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 236 people in 13 months

Vieques Ready Inc. is a nonprofit Puerto Rican corporation with an application for tax exemption as a 501c3 charity pending with the Internal Revenue Service. Vieques Ready 's mission is to provide storm preparedness and relief services to residents of Vieques, Puerto Rico. For many residents of Vieques, transportation is limited before a storm, and after a storm strikes, downed trees and power lines and lack of fuel often preclude residents from traveling by car to obtain relief.  

Therefore, Vieques Ready envisions a neighborhood-based system to assist needy residents in preparing for storms and to provide immediate relief after a storm strikes. Each neighborhood center will have a kitchen with a storeroom stocked with nonperishable items and drinking water, along with emergency supplies, such as satellite phones and first aid.  Additionally, a center will provide temporary safe housing during and after a storm for individuals in unsafe housing situations. 

This effort has been started by Vieques locals Nathan Marr, a US Coast Guard licensed captain of  Marauder Sailing Charters  and his partner Edgardo Rosario Rentas, a native of Puerto Rico and experienced manager in Puerto Rican tourism and hospitality industries. 

Vieques is part of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  It is a small island (around 100 square miles) located 8 miles from Puerto Rico.  Around 9000 people live on the island permanently. For decades, Vieques was the bombing range for the US Navy until protests started by local fishermen eventually drove the Navy out and turned the areas into the Caribbean's largest fish and wildlife refuse.

Vieques is a magical place. No stoplights. No golf courses. No fast food chains. It is a place of extreme hospitality where horses roam and breezes welcome visitors to the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is a place where locals are passionate about their island and culture. 

When Hurricane Maria ravaged Vieques as a category 5 storm on September 20, 2017, we learned quickly that governmental aid was slow to arrive and restoration of basic services (electricity, water, and phones) can take months. We must rely on ourselves to be prepared and take care of each other before and after a storm strikes.

Because Nate is not able to set up personally this page, we (Jane Kurtz and Lisa Bassi) are assisting in this relief request and here are our words:

Jane: I've owned a small house on Vieques for almost twelve years. It is more than a vacation house, it is home to my family.  My kids have grown up on the island during breaks and love it as I do. As a former lawyer representing nonprofit entities, and current writer , I promise to assist Vieques Ready in fulfilling its mission to provide preparedness and relief services. Thank you for any help you can give.

Lisa: I have known Nate since he was a child and watched with much pride and admiration as he evolved into the skillful, honorable adult he is today. He and Edgardo are competent and loving and very much part of life on Viecques as business owners,  residents, employers/managers and friends and colleagues.  They will ensure that the money Jane and I are able to raise through this site goes where it is most needed - to the families and individuals who will use it to survive and recover after the storm passes through. They are blessed to have the kind of insurance and networks that will allow them to recover as quickly as possible but they do not have the resources to help all the people who will need it and this is where we come in.  

If you are wondering about my credentials, I spent most of my life in the financial services industry. I was a registered principal and a registered representative, employed by a Fortune 500 company for almost 30 years. I am now retired from that position, teaching yoga and working part time at things I love. I have decades of deep ties to the Caribbean and much admiration for the beauty of the islands and the resilience and skill of the people who live on them. My mother survived Andrew while living on Tortola.  I will be happy to provide more details for those who wish to have them but rest assured I am  honored to help as needed with the management and disbursement of the funds we raise.
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Some updates from the island just in from Captain Nate's mom...
it's been 2 months since Hurricane Maria hit and there is still no electricity. Water came back a few weeks ago, but is out again. Phone service came back (albeit spotty) a few weeks ago, but also is now gone again. There has been a lot of rain. The new normal is very challenging even for the strongest, most prepared residents, so I cannot imagine how the infirm or elderly are coping. We have so much to be thankful for, please spread the word about Vieques Ready Inc. Jane
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Dear supporters of Vieques Ready,

We are now a Puerto Rican nonprofit corporation (Vieques Ready Inc.) with an application for tax-exemption as a 501c3 charity pending with the IRS. According to the IRS, "When the IRS approves a timely filed exemption application, exempt status is recognized back to the date the organization was created. ... However, contributors to the organization do not have advance assurance of deductibility because the organization’s exemption is pending. If the organization ultimately qualifies for exemption for the period in which the contribution is made, the contribution will be tax-deductible by the donor. Alternatively, if the organization ultimately does not qualify for exemption, then the contribution will not be tax deductible." This means that as of October 12, 2017, any donations made to Vieques Ready can be treated as deductible donations, but in the event the IRS does not approve our application, the donations would end up not being deductible. We will promptly post any updates on the IRS' review of our application. The process can take several months. Thanks for your support!
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Dear donors, I need to give you an update on how funds are being withdrawn, as required by GoFundMe:

1. As stated in our story, I am a homeowner on Vieques and friend of Nate Marr who is on island and is using money we raise to aid in hurricane relief for Vieques residents.
2. Until the banking and communication (phone and internet) systems in Puerto Rico are functioning normally, I am withdrawing the funds in my name.
3. Immediately after the funds are withdrawn, I am transferring them to Nate Marr via paypal in order that he may access the funds to purchase supplies and provide aid. Our goal is for the funds to be transferred directly to Vieques Ready, but that might take some time until banking is more reliable in Vieques.
4. If you have ANY questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via the GoFundMe links. I am awaiting updates and photos from Nate on supplies purchased and distributed. Please understand that internet and cell phone communications are still very spotty in Vieques and that Nate's immediate focus is on providing relief. It remains a very primitive situation on the Island.
5. Other exciting news is that we've incorporated Vieques Ready and will be filing within the week for federal tax exemption as a 501(c)(3) entity. I will post an update as soon as that occurs.

Thank you so very much for your support. Jane Kurtz
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More photos from Captain Nate. www.viequesready.org
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$25,410 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 236 people in 13 months
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