One month after the unprecedented category 5 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, experts have conﬁrmed that it could be six months before power is restored to the majority of residents, leaving over 35% of the hurricane’s survivors without access to clean water. Some citizens have had to resort to drinking water from hazardous waste sites just to survive. Puerto Rico is facing a humanitarian crisis unparalleled in modern American history.
This initiative is the brainchild of ﬁtness entrepreneurs Andrew Page and Anuj Patel (founders of the Axle Workout) who came together with artist and social entrepreneur Andrea Pizziconi (founder of Compositions for a Cause and The Christie Company) to support our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico, focusing particularly on restoring access to safe water.
The collaborators will launch an awareness and fundraising “Lift Up PR” month-long challenge on social media on November 7th bringing together the collective millions of followers among their respective network of celebrities, politicians, musicians, ﬁnanciers, and socially conscious businesses (the “Influencers”). Influencers will spread the challenge by posting images of them “lifting up” others encouraging followers to take their own photos to post and then text “LIFT” to 69238 or follow a link in social posts to make a donation to Operation Agua. Each follower will be encouraged to challenge three friends to do the same to build momentum for the movement. This month-long campaign will conclude with a “Lift Up PR” Axle workout event in NYC in December bringing together the campaign’s influencers and those donors and followers who were most active in galvanizing the campaign.
In order to maximize our impact, #LiftUpPR has chosen to use our advocacy, communications and ﬂexible funding mechanism to amplify efforts already underway on the ground. After extensive due-diligence, the collaborators identified Operation Agua as the most cost-efficient and credible collaborative initiative serving the crisis of bringing clean water to those residents still without access and will be partner with them on this initiative. Spearheaded by the American Federation of Teachers through their 501(c )3 disaster relief fund, and in partnership with Operation Blessing, AFSCME and the Hispanic Federation, Operation Agua leverages the partners’ skills and relationships to bring safe, reliable water to Puerto Rico. The 40,000 members of the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico will serve as volunteers on the ground to distribute water filters and purification systems even the most remote parts of the island. As little as $30 brings a water filter to a family, while $5000 bring a disinfectant generator that can purify 150,000 gallons per day, enough to serve an entire community. Operation Agua has a target goal of 100,000 clean water filters and 50 generators for which the Lift Up PR collaborators seek to assist with a fundraising minimum target of $100,000—impacting over 50,000 families.
We welcome partners, influencers and potential corporate sponsors with a common mission to join the host committee for the New York event and use their social media platforms using the #LIftUpPR challenge as an engine to elevate awareness and advocacy for the continued struggle of the people of Puerto Rico. The combined efforts of new partners who bring financial or social media assets and the existing consortium of partners will have a direct positive impact on hundreds of thousands of families.