A new, Rochester-based nonprofit has been founded to help the Bahamian island of Elbow Cay rebuild following the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian this summer.
Hope Town United is a community-led organization founded by Matt Winslow and his wife, Courtney Sands Winslow. Constellation Brands Executive Vice Chairman Richard Sands, and Courtney Winslow’s father, is a member of the strategic advisory committee of HTU.
The new nonprofit will gift $500,000 toward the rebuilding of the Hope Town Primary School and Hope Town’s Medical Clinic on Elbow Cay, officials said this week. Hurricane Dorian devastated the island with 200 mph winds. Following the storm, Matt Winslow organized the evacuation of some 250 residents from the island.
“Recovery after Hurricane Dorian will not be easy, but we are energized and ready to lead the effort to rebuild a more environmentally sustainable and resilient Hope Town,” he said in a statement. “Working with community leaders and partner organizations, we are bringing infrastructure and innovation to the island. We have an opportunity and an obligation to make Elbow Cay a global model for how to rebuild with an eye toward resiliency and environmentally sustainable design.”
The school will receive $500,000 and all of the steel necessary to rebuild, thanks to the Jones family, owners of Nova Steel Inc. Prior to the hurricane, the Hope Town Primary School provided schooling for 70 preschool to fifth-grade students on Elbow Cay. HTU has received approval from the Minister of Education to lead the rebuilding project.
“Schools are the heart of every community, a place where ideas and opportunity take flight,” Scott Jones said. “That’s why we’re so pleased to do our part to help bring the Hope Town community back to life. We’ve made it a family priority, and Nova Steel is making it a company priority, to make sure we rebuild Hope Town stronger and better than ever.”
The clinic will be rebuilt and fully funded by Hope Town Rising’s Mark Bailey Sr. and Flagler Health+. As a sister hospital, Flagler Health+ will provide ongoing support for the clinic, said Jason Barrett, CEO of Flagler Health+
“This joint venture is a commitment to the Abaco Islands and to the people that we have come to love,” Bailey said. “The euphoria of potential recovery can be fragile, and we believe that Hope Town and the surrounding cays will recover at a more rapid pace, and with positivity, assuming quality medical care can be delivered. With the clinic up and running, we look forward to a strong and vibrant community returning.”
HTU will serve as the economic engine leading the restoration efforts. HTU’s focus is to restore the historic public structures, small businesses and residential homes while also engaging global engineering experts to design and construct resilient and environmentally sustainable island infrastructure.
HTU plans to launch a strategic plan that focuses on an international fundraising campaign to support near-term recovery needs, as well as the creation of innovative, blended finance structures and impact investment vehicles for the construction of modernized infrastructure.
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