NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., May 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, today announced a donation of $100 million to two organizations, Direct Relief and Habitat for Humanity International, to strengthen access to healthcare and housing in Puerto Rico. The organizations will receive $50 million each. This donation is an extension of the more than $4 million AbbVie provided following the unprecedented natural disasters of 2017.
"AbbVie has a longstanding commitment to the people of Puerto Rico, having operated on the island for nearly 50 years. Last year's hurricanes were devastating, but we are proud that — thanks to the sacrifices made by our colleagues in Puerto Rico — our operations were not disrupted and patients relying on our treatments could continue to receive them," said Richard A. Gonzalez, chairman and chief executive officer, AbbVie. "We deeply appreciate the hard work of our employees, and all the people of Puerto Rico, and we hope today's announcement will deepen and strengthen our long relationship. Together with Direct Relief and Habitat for Humanity, we will build a stronger health care infrastructure and contribute meaningfully to the rebuilding of homes."
Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rosselló stated, "With this important contribution today by AbbVie — with aid that goes directly to health and housing, two priorities in our Administration — the company proves to be an example of what a private sector committed to the community should be. After the hurricanes passed through our region, AbbVie collaborated with us in the reconstruction of the Island. After 50 years in Puerto Rico, we are grateful that they continue to be available as a workplace for the Puerto Rican working class."
With the donation, Direct Relief will help rebuild and strengthen Puerto Rico's primary healthcare system, better preparing it to withstand future hurricanes and outages of power or water. Direct Relief will support more than 60 community health centers and local healthcare facilities over a three-year period. These facilities care for a combined 352,000 resident across Puerto Rico. To prevent interruptions in care, Direct Relief will provide the health centers with reliable energy sources including solar power, battery storage and generators, giving them the ability to produce their own clean water supplies. Direct Relief will also fund mobile health units, train and support an expanded medical workforce, increase access to a reliable supply of medicines, and institute telemedicine programs at select hospitals and health centers.
In Hurricane Maria's immediate aftermath, Direct Relief began fielding urgent requests for medical supplies from across the island and was able to move quickly based on its longstanding support of Puerto Rico's health centers. In the months since, Direct Relief has been the largest non-governmental donor of charitable medical resources to Puerto Rico, providing more than 247 tons of requested medicine and medical supplies to 61 healthcare facilities across the island.
"Hurricane Maria inflicted unprecedented pain on the people of Puerto Rico, and AbbVie's unprecedented commitment to help them is a privilege for Direct Relief to be part of," said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe. "AbbVie's extraordinary support will be invested in the critically important work of community health centers in Puerto Rico, which serve residents who otherwise lack access to essential primary healthcare and referral services that are needed more than ever."
Over the next five years, Habitat for Humanity will partner directly with hurricane-affected families to address their shelter needs, as well as work toward policies and systems that will improve shelter, land and resilience issues across the island. Habitat expects to directly assist 13,000 people through repairs, new construction, workforce training and assistance with clear property titles. Through its work to effect policy and systems reforms, Habitat also expects to make significant progress in aiding many of the estimated 1.3 million Puerto Ricans who live in housing that was built without clear title or proper permits. Those residents face significant barriers to construction and repairs as well as assistance from other sources of aid. Based on Habitat's damage assessments and input from municipalities, efforts will begin in the greater San Juan area, followed by the southern part of the island and then the east.
"AbbVie's generous donation will help Habitat for Humanity as we work with many Puerto Ricans whose homes and communities were devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria," said Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity International. "Habitat has a long history of helping communities recover after major disasters. We are committed to working alongside the people of Puerto Rico to increase access to safe, decent and affordable shelter on the island and to address longstanding and persistent housing issues and challenges that were exacerbated by the storms. We look forward to working with the Puerto Rican government and local municipalities to develop long-term housing solutions that will help families gain clear title to their land, while also helping grow and improve the construction sector to offer improved construction methods and training for the rebuilding process."
Habitat for Humanity has been building and repairing homes in Puerto Rico since 1997. Weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Habitat assembled and shipped 2,000 shelter repair kits to the island. In partnership with Save the Children, Habitat distributed kits to families in Caguas, Santa Isabel, Coamo, Arroyo, Guayama, Salinas, Patillas, Orocovis, Loiza, Humacao and Vieques to make immediate repairs to their damaged homes. Habitat also distributed 2,000 solar kits for families that lacked access to electricity.
This donation from AbbVie is the first part of its commitment to make an additional $350 million in charitable contributions to U.S. not-for-profit organizations in 2018. The contributions have been fully allocated and provide AbbVie with the opportunity to support charities creating long-term impact in communities in need, including Puerto Rico, North Chicago and cities across America.
For additional details and ongoing updates, visit AbbVie.com/PuertoRico to learn more.
AbbVie is a global, research and development-based biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world's most complex and critical conditions. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to markedly improve treatments across four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience. In more than 75 countries, AbbVie employees are working every day to advance health solutions for people around the world. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
About Direct Relief
Established in 1948 with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies, Direct Relief delivers lifesaving medical resources throughout the world—without regard to politics, religion, ethnic identities, or ability to pay. With operations spanning more than 70 countries and all 50 states in the U.S., Direct Relief is the only charitable nonprofit to obtain Verified Accredited Wholesale Distributor (VAWD) accreditation by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Among other distinctions, Direct Relief earns a perfect score of 100 from independent evaluator Charity Navigator, was listed among the world's most innovative nonprofits by Fast Company, and has received the CECP Directors' Award, the Drucker Prize for Nonprofit Innovation, and the President's Award from Esri for excellence in GIS mapping. For more information, please visit https://www.DirectRelief.org.
About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.