400 Puerto Ricans gifted new homes after hurricane devastation

Today, I'm Brave launched 100Roofs Project to step in when the U.S. government wouldn't.

More than 400 families in hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico have been gifted new homes by Today, I’m Brave, the non-profit has announced.

A total of 116 homes devastated by superstorms Irma and Mari nearly two years ago were donated roofs by the 100Roofs Project -- which exceeded its goal. 

The homes, formerly living under tarp, were rebuilt in municipalities Morovis and Orocovis thanks to the efforts of the non-profit born out of Los Angeles-based agency David&Goliath. 

"Looking back, it’s incredible to see how much we were able to achieve in such a short period of time," said David Angelo, founder of Today, I’m Brave and founder and chairman of creative agency David&Goliath. 

Angelo explained that the mission began in early 2018 when Today, I’m Brave produced the award-winning documentary Pa’Lante, directed by Ramon Rodriguez and starring Rosie Perez. It highlighted personal stories of local Puerto Ricans five months after the hurricanes hit and showcased HEART 9/11’s pre-apprentice program and the rebuilding of five roofs. 

He continued: "We thought if we can make a difference with five roofs, imagine the difference we can make by rebuilding 100 roofs and training even more pre-apprentices to rebuild in their respective communities.

"It was scalable and sustainable and we immediately recognized the potential for great impact. That’s how the 100Roofs Project came to be and became a movement that connected HEART 9/11, Rosie and Ramon with a community of purpose-driven people and brands to effect positive change. And it did, in spades." 

Nearly 200 professional carpenters from HEART 9/11 were sent to Puerto Rico and a total of 38 pre-apprentices received hands-on training for a period of 10 weeks, while rebuilding roofs along with instruction on measurement, safety, engineering and technical skills. They graduated from the program this past summer and now have the skills to rebuild roofs in their own communities. 

In a bid to achieve its goal of 100 roofs for 100 families, the 100Roofs Project launched a multi-level philanthropic, community-outreach effort with the to raise $500,000. This included creating a fundraising platform, a corporate sponsorship program for brands. It culminated in a star-studded charity gala in downtown Los Angeles with some of Hollywood’s top Latin celebrities. 

"None of this would have been possible without the shared desire and generosity of spirit of a community of purpose-led individuals, organizations, brands, nonprofits and media who wanted to make an immediate difference," said Angelo. 

"Rosie and Ramon were leading the charge by promoting 100Roofs on national TV, many of LA’s top productions companies joined the movement and contributed, media companies were offering in-kind donations from iHeart Radio, to Twitter to OUTFRONT Media which donated a billboard in the heart of Hollywood to help fundraise for 100Roofs. And we had world class brands join as corporate sponsors. It truly was phenomenal that we were able to not only reach but surpass our fundraising goal in less than two months. 

"It’s this kind of philanthropic marketing, one that offers a tangible, sustainable solution to social causes and brings together like-minded people, that will ultimately move the needle and make the biggest difference in the world. It has to." 

The 100Roofs Project sponsors included Innocean Worldwide, Red Bull, Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch, Ameriprise Financial, thelab, Silver Lining Entertainment, Human, Sanctuary, Fell VFX, Canvas Worldwide, The Bigger Picture, Margarita Mix, Barking Owl, Jamm, Arts & Sciences, IMG, Union, Nasser and Rula Watar Foundation, Therapy Studios, United Talent Agency, Golden Boy Boxing, GGG Promotions, NBC Universal, Disney, Native Content, and Showtime. 

In addition, David&Goliath client Chicken of the Sea International donated more than 10,000 cans of shelf stable seafood, including tuna and sardines, to both support and sustain the 100Roofs Project volunteers on the ground and the Puerto Rico community at large.

But work is not done. There are still thousands of roofs yet to be built. 

Angelo added: "We are currently in talks with other brands and partners in the hopes that we can continue to build even more roofs, and welcome those who want to join in this heart-driven movement."

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