Friday, April 11, 2008

New York Foundation Grant will enable the Garifuna Coalition to Develop Garifuna Advocacy Center

The goal is to establish a resource center for the Garifuna Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 19, 2008

Contacts: José Francisco Ávila (917) 783-5298

New York – The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization is delighted to announce that the Board of Directors of the New York Foundation has authorized a grant of $42,500 to develop an advocacy Center to provide social services and advocate for community members.

“The support of the New York Foundation, offers an opportunity to build the community institution that we seek and look forward to building the administrative capacity of our organization,” said Jose Francisco Avila, treasurer of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc., has operated as a volunteer organization with no paid staff. While the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. has organized successfully without the support of a paid staff person and an office of its own, it realizes that to continue in this fashion would severely limit its ability to broaden its programs in a dependable way. Therefore, the New York Foundation’s funds will help in the achievement of that goal.

The funds raised will be utilized to support the staff position of one organizer as well as to pay for basic organizational infrastructure such as an office, and telephone. To assure the sustainability of the Center, the Garifuna Coalition has launched a fundraising campaign, seeking financial support from the Garifuna Community’ and friends of the community, in addition to the elected officials. It has also scheduled various fundraising activities during the upcoming months and New Horizon Investment Club has agreed to donate part of the proceeds of their Annual Carnival Dance, scheduled for Saturday, May 31.

“We are very grateful to the Board of Directors of the New York Foundation for authorizing the grant and for their belief and support in our organizing efforts as we strive to secure a future for our community,” said Rejil Solis, president of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc.

The Bronx is home to the largest Garifuna Community in the world, according to unofficial estimates, the Bronx Garifuna population exceeds 100,000, which is larger than the Garifuna populations of Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua and any of the 53 Garifuna communities located in Honduras.

“With this grant, the Garifuna Coalition will be much better equipped to do outreach within the Garifuna community to enable members of the community to make use of the programs it offers. Additionally, a staff person will enable the Garifuna Coalition to expand services it provides since administration of these services will no longer be dependent on volunteer support.,” said Jerry Castro, Executive Director of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. .

About the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc.

The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization headquartered in New York City. It was founded on May 9th, 1998 and was incorporated as a Domestic not for Profit Corporation on May 28, 1999. The purpose of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. is to serve as a resource, a forum, and advocate for Garifuna issues and a united voice for the Garifuna community. It seeks to find solutions to social problems such as, poverty, immigration and housing affecting the Garifuna people, through grassroots organizing and community development.

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