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Not for Profit: St. Croix Foundation

Oct 29, 2006 — "We can't have a healthy St. Croix without a healthy Christiansted and Frederiksted," says St. Croix Foundation executive director Roger Dewey.
The foundation works to ensure the towns of St. Croix and the territory are safe and rejuvenated, and small businesses and non-profit organizations can continue to function effectively.
For more than 15 years, the foundation has aided the community by seeking out federal funding for grants, and acting as a fiduciary to many small business and non-profit organizations. Beginning in 1990, after the wake of Hurricane Hugo, the foundation began because founders felt their services were needed immediately.
The foundation has assisted more than 50 new businesses on the island through its partnership with First and V.I. Community banks, according to Dewey, who says the foundation does not make its efforts for public glory.
"Much of our work is behind the scenes," he says. According to the foundation's published information, it recognized the community's problems required "more than mere grant-making," and has committed itself to "providing strong leadership and vision in addressing the problems of the community." The foundation recognized different areas of need within the community, including revitalization, public safety, fiscal management, economic development and youth-education initiatives.
The foundation's most visible project is the Sunday Market Square in Christiansted. The foundation was able to generate more than $5 million in grant monies to revitalize a highly trafficked area of Christiansted. According to Dewey, the area belonged to a bankrupt government agency. The foundation took on the project because "someone had to take a leadership role," he says.
The foundation began its Scrape, Paint and Rejuvenate program in 2001, offering grants to Christiansted property owners who wanted to refresh their business. With grants of more than $1 million, the foundation has aided many businesses in the area, along with revitalizing the public library.
When the Virgin Islands Police Department experienced a manpower shortage, the foundation came to the rescue by acquiring federal funding for security cameras in Christiansted, Frederiksted and Charlotte Amalie.
The foundation also gets credit for molding Elena L. Christian Junior High into a model school. Through federal grants and private donations, the school is well on its way to creating a school curriculum that many public schools may follow in the future. (See "St. Croix Foundation Hopes Bold Initiative Will Pay Future Dividends.")
The foundation's fiduciary efforts have assisted organizations ranging from the Boys and Girls Club to Toys for Tots. In partnership with the Department of Health, the foundation was able to assist the department in acquiring the necessary medicine and supplies needed to assist those suffering from HIV and AIDS in the community.
"If we weren't there in 1999, many people would have had to travel to Puerto Rico for their needs," Dewey says.
The foundation is not an organization fueled by its own ideas for the community; it is set up to aid any organization in the community that may require its services.
"We're always trying to see if we can help people or send them to programs to help them," Dewey says.
For more information on any of the foundation's services, call 773-9898 or visit its website.
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