The United Arab Emirates has given The United Way of Collier County US$3.5 million (~3.1 million Euros) to restore seven reefs that are part of the Florida Keys.

Announced late last month, the gift is part of a larger $10 million pledge to the state of Florida for Hurricane Irma relief efforts. United Way of Collier and the Keys will execute the gift’s impact strategy in partnership with experts at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) along with other local, state, national and international stakeholders.

The United Way will make the majority of these funds available to local reef restoration organizations to execute the critical reef restoration work.

Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE ambassador to the United States, said:

“This is what friends do for each other in times of need. The UAE is delighted to be able to help the Florida Keys community in this special way and begin to restore its iconic coral reefs. We share the same planet and face the same challenges. That’s why the UAE is so proud to collaborate with partners in the US and around the world to better protect and preserve vital ecosystems.”

The United Way will oversee, manage, and distribute the grant as part of its continuing Hurricane Irma recovery programming and assistance. These will include projects to ensure the viability of the reef and thereby the financial stability of the Florida Keys community who depend upon it to provide over $4.7 billion (~4.2 billion Euros) in annual revenue.

Steve Sanderson, president and CEO of The United Way of Collier and the Keys, said:

“We are honored to work with the Ambassador and the Embassy as a trusted partner and look forward to this valued partnership continuing. This donation is truly transformative, providing for the asset-limited, hardworking families who are dependent on the reefs and marine life yet are still struggling from the effects of this devastating hurricane. We are so thankful for the outstanding collaboration through this gift. As part of the “Mission: Iconic Reefs” effort, what we are doing here and the knowledge we will gain will have a local as well as global impact.”

For more info, go to the United Way of Collier County’s website or check out the video below.

 

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