As part of its social commitment to Puerto Rico and in response to the public health emergency caused by COVID-19, Popular recently donated $1 million to entities whose priorities include the acquisition of medical equipment and care of the homeless, as well as support for small and medium-sized companies and scientific research. Similarly, funds have been allocated to purchase face masks and face protectors.
"Aware of the difficult situation we are going through, we have identified areas that require urgent attention, such as the manufacture and distribution of protective equipment for workers who are on the first line of defense, and prioritized our donations towards them," said Eduardo Negrón, first executive vice president of Popular's Administration Group.
Popular acquired 60,000 masks, which are being distributed to pulmonologists and different public and private hospitals in Puerto Rico, such as Centro Médico and Hima Hospital in Caguas. Starting May 2020, 5,000 masks will be donated to the Puerto Rico Police Department for their personnel. The masks, which will also be distributed to Popular employees, are made with textiles that have received repellent and antibacterial treatments. These are manufactured in Puerto Rico by Kandor Manufacturing in Arecibo. Executive Uniforms, a company that makes uniforms for the bank's staff, has joined forces with them for this project.
Popular has also joined forces with students and professors at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and has provided them with materials to make face shields for health personnel. Popular has also donated 3D printers to Engine4, so they may triple the production of these face shields.
Researching the severity of the impact of SARS-CoV-2 in Puerto Rico on certain demographics, health care personnel and pregnant women is part of the University’s social engagement agenda. In support of this research, led by Dr. Josefina Romaguera, Popular donated $50,000 to the Society of Graduate Doctors of the University of Puerto Rico’s School of Medicine.
Negrón also mentioned that Popular has provided aid to small and medium-sized businesses and non-profit entities, such as Grupo Guayacán, Causa Local and Centro para Emprendedores, which have launched educational programs. Popular also offers support initiatives for small and medium-sized businesses affected by this emergency. According to Negrón, one of those initiatives is a series of educational videos by the Center for Entrepreneurs, focused on the organization of finances for business. These videos are available on Popular's YouTube page. Negrón mentioned that the Banco Popular Foundation also supports various non-profit organizations with emergency donations, so that they can continue offering their services virtually.
"As the main bank in Puerto Rico, our mission is to present and support everything that makes it easier for our people to be safer, healthier and have the necessary tools to jointly embark on a stronger and more sustainable economy," concluded Negrón.