Sandals Foundation commits $50m to Project STAR

PROJECT STAR, the social and economic development initiative created by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) in partnership with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), has been bolstered with a commitment of $50 million in financial support, over the next five years, from Sandals Resorts International and its philanthropic arm, Sandals Foundation.

Heidi Clarke, executive director of Sandals Foundation, said the partnership with Project STAR will allow the organisation to reach more vulnerable communities that are in need of positive social outcomes, support local infrastructure and stakeholders to create an environment that can bring a level of transformational change that will benefit young people, their families, and the networks that they trust.

“We anticipate a number of outcomes, including insightful data that will be retrieved from the monitoring and evaluation of the interventions being implemented.

“It is through assessment of lessons learnt that we can modify our approaches for success. On mid-term outcomes, we look forward to all community stakeholders, particularly young people, being the driving force behind their personal and physical spaces, strengthened social cohesion, and resilience,” said Clarke.

She underscored that the ultimate hope of Project STAR is for a continued collaborative approach to social interventions being implemented across the island, resulting in the empowerment of young people through their positive shift in mindset, leadership in advocacy, and a resilient pursuit of their dreams which, in essence, will benefit the wider community and nation.

In the meantime, Saffrey Brown, Project STAR director, in expressing appreciation to Sandals Foundation, said that the project is looking forward to working with the organisation.

“This commitment from Sandals Foundation signals a tremendous vote of confidence for the work of STAR. We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the Sandals team and, indeed, with our other corporate partners that have so far donated, and look forward to what we will accomplish together in this effort,” said Brown.

Imega Breese McNab, PSOJ executive director, in commending those who have donated to Project STAR, said that the private sector must be a force for social transformation, playing its role by applying creativity and innovation in addressing issues affecting society.

“Jamaica’s social issues require a unified effort by the private sector, civil society, and the Government. Project STAR is about the socio-economic upliftment of our people in some of our most neglected communities and, therefore, it requires the business community to support through funding, training, mentorship, and job creation,” said Breese McNab.

She predicted that with the business community’s participation in supporting Project STAR, it will ultimately positively impact crime and violence.

Among the donors that have committed support to Project STAR so far are Jamaica Money Market Brokers, Scotiabank, Carreras Limited, Musson Foundation, CB Facey Foundation (PanJam), National Commercial Bank, Sagicor Foundation, Sagicor Financial Group, Digicel Foundation, GraceKennedy, Supreme Ventures, Spanish-Jamaican Foundation, Restaurants Associates Limited, Rainforest Caribbean, Barita, Richard and Diana Stewart Foundation, and American Friends of Jamaica.