AUC Names this Year’s Community Commitment Grant Recipients

Eleven Sint Maarten non-profit organizations were awarded grants to support programs and initiatives that build local capacity and address pressing community needs


American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine today announced the 2019 recipients of their Community Commitment Grant Program. The grants, which are provided through the support of Adtalem Global Education, were awarded to 11 Sint Maarten non-profit organizations with proven records of success building capacity for—and addressing the needs of—their local communities.

The grants were awarded during a small morning reception at AUC’s campus. Dr. Heidi Chumley, Executive Dean, and Dr. Pedro Delgado, Senior Associate Dean for Sint Maarten, presented each organization with a certificate and thanked those in attendance for their leadership and advocacy. 

“We are pleased to continue our support for these valuable organizations, who, in addition to serving the people of Sint Maarten, also contribute to the education of aspiring physicians through their partnerships with AUC,” said Dr. Chumley. “At AUC, we believe a key skill for any physician is the ability to engage the community as a partner, and we are proud of the experiences that shape our students, which are made possible because of our community partnerships.”

Each organization will use the Community Commitment Grant to advance programs and activities that achieve their mission and goals, including: 

  • Artcraft Café Foundation/The Waste Factory will purchase a 3D printer that will be used to create molds for recyclable souvenirs. These souvenirs will be made from local waste (e.g., plastics and bottles) and created by youth, elderly, and disabled volunteers.
  • Community Outreach Mentorship & Empowerment Foundation (COME) will expand their weekend ABC literary program which provides community members with a holistic and therapeutic space to learn and master reading and writing skills.
  • Diabetes Foundation of Sint Maarten will organize a conference focused on diabetes education and outreach and will also use the grant money to purchase diabetes test strips for regular testing in the community.
  • I Can Foundation will invest in safe and efficient storage solutions that can house supplies and equipment for the foster children and families who utilize their services.
  • K1 Britannia Foundation will use the grant to grow rehabilitation programs for at-risk youth, including training initiatives for foster children work and volunteer opportunities for young offenders.
  • Mental Health Foundation – St. Maarten will launch an employment skills development program as a part of their mental health support services.  
  • The Positive Foundation will use the grant to support marketing efforts for their “Be Breast Aware” campaign which encourages women to be aware of their breast health and understand the signs and risk factors for a breast abnormality.
  • Safe Haven Foundation will grow their “Our Neighbors Are Our Family” campaign which teaches women and children the signs of abuse, how to stop it, and how to find safety.
  • St. Maarten AIDS Foundation will purchase rapid HIV tests and condoms which are made available to the public for free at local events and health fairs.
  • St. Maarten Nature Foundation will continue to expand its “Reduce and Reuse St. Maarten” campaign which seeks to reduce single-use plastics while also encouraging local people and businesses to use biodegradable and reusable products.
  • Windward Island Emergency Medical Services will purchase CPR equipment and booklets that will be used in their CPR training courses and school programs.

 For Tes Verheij, Founder of the Waste Factory and a first-time grant recipient, the Community Commitment Grant is an opportunity to not only advance her organization’s goals but also connect with AUC and other like-minded organizations in Sint Maarten. 

“I am grateful to AUC for creating this platform and for helping local non-profits continue their growth,” she said. “This is a community that cares about bettering our environment and our education. With AUC’s support and partnership, we can move these goals forward.”

In addition to financial support, AUC medical students, faculty and colleagues regularly volunteer their time and skills with these and other community organizations. The university hosts Community Action Day, a largescale service initiative, three times a year and facilitates opportunities for campus community members to partner with organizations on service learning and health education activities.