Thursday 26 November, 2020

Dart to donate at least $1.25 million towards Cayman COVID-19 relief

Dart CEO, Mark VanDevelde

Dart CEO, Mark VanDevelde

"Although there are tough times ahead, and COVID-19 remains a fluid situation, we have no doubt that the Cayman Islands will weather the storm, and like any storm, there will be silver linings," says Dart CEO Mark VanDevelde of the commitment of Cayman Islands' largest investor, domiciled locally for the past thirty years.

VanDevelde confirms that Dart is committed "to supporting emergency relief efforts needed to alleviate the economic and human hardships caused by the pandemic, as well as promoting and facilitating sustainable economic activity within our jurisdiction."  

Recently, the company supported the government in transporting 165,000 South Korean COVID-19 tests to the Cayman Islands.

Upcoming Dart-led construction projects, including the expansion of Cayman International School and the development of a new commercial office and residential building at Camana Bay, are expected to employ approximately 350 construction personnel and with a minimum US$115 million investment in the local economy.

The following financial contributions, representing a minimum of CI$1.25 million and up to CI$5.25 million have already been pledged towards COVID-19 relief.

Private Sector Fund for National Recovery

"Ken Dart [has] pledged CI$1 million to a private sector-led fund and has offered to match any other donations up to an additional CI$4 million," advises VanDevelde. "The intent is to provide support through various phases of recovery, from emergency preparedness and immediate financial relief to longer-lasting economic development. By collaborating with community partners to pool our resources and expertise, we can make a bigger impact together."

If Mr Dart's contribution is matched, this will bring the total initial funds in the private sector fund to CI$9 million.

Cayman Islands' Governor, Martyn Roper, has advised that the fund will have 4 broad objectives:

1) immediate crisis support; e.g., the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment/testing capacity,

2) support to individuals who are in distress; 

3) the immediate economic needs of business; 

4) longer-term economic development of the Islands.

The board will be made up of representatives from across the Private Sector plus a Government member.

Dart Grants Programme

Launched in 2019, the Dart Grants programme offers fixed grants to "well-run, registered non-profits with high-value work in the areas of youth development, education or the environment."

In 2019, Dart awarded CI$250,000 to nine local non-profit organisations: Special Needs Foundation Cayman received the CI$50,000 Dart Grant while CI$25,000 each was awarded to the Alex Panton Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cayman’s Acts of Random Kindness, the Cayman Islands Sailing Club, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute, Literacy Is For Everyone, the Stingray Swim Club and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.

This year, all of the $250,000 in grant money will be redirected to support COVID-19 community initiatives. 

“With a substantial investment across the three islands of the Cayman Islands, we appreciate the human and economic hardship our country is experiencing. We will always put our people and community first,” says VanDevelde. “As we have been for over twenty-five years, Dart remains committed, through good times and bad, to the continued health and prosperity of our islands. We are in this together.” 

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