Mercedes-Benz Brazil contributes to Rotarian relief efforts in Chile
Rotaractor Ana Carolina Silvestre da Costa examines one of the ambulances purchased with the Mercedes-Benz Brazil donation. Photo courtesy of Ana Carolina Silvestre da Costa
The initiative of a Rotaractor and the determination of a past Rotary International director helped secure a donation of US$568,000 from Mercedes-Benz Brazil to support Rotarian disaster recovery efforts in Chile.
Ana Carolina Silvestre da Costa, a Rotaractor and former Rotary Youth Exchange student, has been working in the internal communications department for Mercedes-Benz Brazil for three years. Because of her community service work through Rotaract, Costa was put in charge of overseeing the company's charitable giving.
When Costa's superiors asked her for ideas as to where the company could make a donation for earthquake relief, she reached out to Roberto Barroso Filho, a past district governor, who encouraged her to suggest the Brazilian Association of The Rotary Foundation.
"When I took it to the upper level, everyone had already heard of Rotary and knew its reputation," Costa says. "No one had any hesitation."
José Alfredo Pretoni, a past RI director and past Foundation trustee, met with Mercedes-Benz representatives to discuss the terms of the donation and served as the liaison to Rotary leadership and the Brazilian Association of The Rotary Foundation.
Rotary Chile Recovery Fund
The Mercedes-Benz donation more than doubled the amount available to Rotary clubs through the Foundation's Rotary Chile Recovery Fund, set up after a powerful earthquake in February 2010 devastated parts of Chile. The quake and a subsequent tsunami destroyed homes, hospitals, and schools, displacing families, limiting health care, and blocking children's access to the schools that remained open.
Part of the Mercedes-Benz donation has been used to purchase three ambulances to help transfer patients in the communities of Constitución, Talco, and Talcahuano to regional hospitals, and three minivans to shuttle children to school. The remainder is available to Rotary clubs and districts through Matching Grants for recovery projects in Chile.
"With this humanitarian help, we hope to mitigate the difficulties faced by the Chilean population, especially in this important moment of reconstruction and return to normal daily routine," says Jurgen Ziegler, president of Mercedes-Benz Brazil.
Although the Foundation is no longer accepting contributions to the Rotary Chile Recovery Fund, a significant portion of the $1 million collected by the fund remains to be awarded. The fund is administered through Matching Grants and can be used for projects providing humanitarian assistance and supporting disaster recovery in Chile. The fund acts as the Foundation's match for disaster recovery projects taking place within the country. A club or district in the affected regions of Chile may partner with a club or district outside of Chile and apply for a Matching Grant.
For help in reaching Rotary leaders in Chile, contact Susan Doxtator, Humanitarian Grants supervisor, at email@example.com.