SMDF’s “modern logo”
PHILIPSBURG–Taking a moment to acknowledge its efforts throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021, the St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF), is celebrating what it refers to as “nine fruitful” and “exciting” years of existence.
Along with its anniversary celebration, the organisation is also launching its new look including a modern logo and revamped social media accounts and website.
The new look captures the organisation’s commitment to cradling and nurturing a brighter St. Maarten, where its people can grow into their full potential through targeted social development initiatives, SMDF said in a press release on Monday. “Though the official look may be changing, SMDF’s unwavering dedication remains at the heart of the organisation’s work. With the continued support of its public and private sector partners, SMDF will continue its work to improve the lives of St. Maarten’s most vulnerable groups as it has always done.”
SMDF said while 2020 was a year of unexpected challenges, it was also a year of unexpected growth. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, SMDF pivoted its efforts to manage new programmes without so much as a second thought. With the country’s economy devastated, wages plummeting and unemployment skyrocketing, SMDF managed the Income and Unemployment Support programmes within St. Maarten Stimulus and Relief Plan (SSRP) on behalf of government. Since its inception, the programme has provided financial relief for hundreds of persons struggling to survive and overcome the fallout of the pandemic.
Similarly, SMDF’s COVID response activities also had the organisation serving as a Coordinator of the Collective Food Programme, which supported 4,800 households by means of hot meals, food boxes, and e-vouchers. In the coming weeks, SMDF will continue to coordinate and provide food support to these persons collaboratively with its Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) partners.
“Social development is a dynamic and ongoing process that requires constant assessment of the needs of the community and the ability to respond through creative initiatives that fill voids as they appear,” it was stated in the release. Through its Workforce Development Programme (W4D), SMDF created a free opportunity for learning for over 400 persons. “Education has long been one of the key means of improving one’s income and quality of life. With so many unable to follow traditional learning programmes, the initiative launched with e-learning platform Coursera, gave residents a chance to learn new skills and better equip themselves to re-enter the workforce, while at home, during the less than active economic year.”
In addition to its programmatic developments, SMDF said 2020 was one of – transition for the organisation – with the retirement of its first leadership. In December 2019, SMDF’s first Managing Director Keith Franca retired, passing the helm to Makhicia Brooks as of January 1, 2020. Similarly, in May 2020, incorporators Richelda Emmanuel-Rodriguez, Joy Arnell, and Marinka Gumbs all retired at the end of their two terms making way for new Supervisory Board Members Louisian Wathey, Zuleima Violenus-Salmon, and Claudette Forsythe-Labega who join Zylena Bary and Ahmed Bell.
“Without collaboration, SMDF can neither fund nor execute projects to the extent it does now,” SMDF said thanking organisations that have been along with them through its journey, including but not limited to associated NGOs, donors and partners, the government of St. Maarten, Windward Islands Bank (WIB), the Ministry of BZK, NAGICO, and the Netherlands Red Cross.
“As the organisation goes through its tenth year, it will be doing so with the steadfastness and optimism necessary to development-work. With St. Maarten and its people at the heart of its work, SMDF will continue to find innovative ways to fulfil its mission of contributing to a society that cares.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/smdf-launches-its-new-look-for-9th-anniversary