Recognizing the massive humanitarian challenge facing the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) as it recovers from the devastating impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Stephenson family, under the leadership of longtime St. Thomas resident Richard J. Stephenson, today announced a pledge of $5 million in relief funds to assist with the islands’ recovery. Two million dollars is being funded immediately, with the additional $3 million pledged as a matching fund to encourage other donations to the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) for hurricane recovery.
Stephenson, founder and chairman of International Capital & Management Company (ICMC), an Economic Development Company (EDC) on St. Thomas, International Private Bank (IPB) on St. Croix and Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), is partnering with CFVI in launching HelpUSVINow! to aid in the recovery of the USVI from the unprecedented ravages of the two storms. Tax-deductible donations can be made at www.EDCReliefandRecovery.org.
“I was both shocked and dismayed by the immense suffering and damage that has occurred,” said Stephenson. “I immediately sought out the people and organizations with the potential to make the most direct impact on the ground without delay and am eager to contribute my family’s resources to the CFVI to support this effort.”
During this morning’s press conference at the West Indian Company Limited on St. Thomas, during which the CFVI Fund launch was announced, Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp said, “It is the resilience of Virgin Islanders that will lead the way in our return to a thriving international tourist destination. But the road to recovery has many challenges, and we could not be successful in this effort without the generous support of the Stephenson family and our many USVI businesses who have come to bat on our behalf. For this, we are grateful.”
In addition to the $5 million commitment to the HelpUSVINow! Fund, the largest private contribution to the USVI to date in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Stephenson family has coordinated numerous hurricane relief efforts including the charter of a Boeing 737 out of Chicago to deliver critical supplies, medical equipment, food and dozens of generators to St. Thomas and the surrounding islands in the wake of the storms. The family also assisted in helping many USVI residents, especially those with children or special circumstances, fly to the U.S. mainland to get out of harm’s way.
The Stephenson family’s relationship with the U.S. Virgin Islands dates to 2003 when they launched ICMC, which employs over 130 people. Since then, they have been champions and financial backers of community events such as “Jazz in the Park” and to scores of local charities such as CFVI and the VI Cancer Support Fund. The family has recently launched a new private investment entity on St. Croix called International Private Bank, which is in the process of becoming fully operational in the next few months.
ICMC President and CEO Cornel Williams said, “Mr. Stephenson made an unwavering commitment to the U.S. Virgin Islands when he founded ICMC in St. Thomas 14 years ago. Over the years, not only has he invested in the company, but he has empowered ICMC leadership to invest in our community, in initiatives that help to improve health care, education and the general social and economic welfare of the Virgin Islands.”
Williams added, “Supporting the community now, during this most pressing time, is further testament to his long-term vision of helping the Virgin Islands realize a brighter future.”
Also praising the efforts, Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) said, “We know many communities are facing incredible challenges from these storms, and we’re so thankful for the considerable humanitarian efforts of the Stephenson family including this financial initiative that is keeping U.S. Virgin Islanders front of mind as we come together to rebuild. I applaud the Community Foundation and its HelpUSVINow! campaign, and the collaborative and tireless efforts of our EDCs and other USVI businesses and residents for the life-saving work that is supporting our recovery.”
“CFVI has taken a leadership role in the renewal and recovery efforts of our islands,” said Dee Baecher-Brown, president of CFVI, “and we are so very grateful for the Stephensons’ generous support as well as the numerous USVI businesses committing resources to aid our recovery.”
For more information or to donate:
Checks can be mailed to CFVI: PO Box 11790, St. Thomas, VI 00801 with the memo: HelpUSVINow!