In the last 4 years we’ve accomplished so much thanks to the support of our Board, the generosity of our donors, and the partnerships that we’ve built. Your kindness and trust has made our impact possible. As we enter our fifth year, we wanted to take a moment to summarize our work thus far and share how we create our different programs. From 2018 to now, Love City Strong has:
  • Rebuilt 36 homes.
  • Installed 70 water filtration systems, serving 223 people. As a result, we replaced the consumption of 2,680 plastic water bottles per month.
  • Remediated mold in over 100 homes.
  • Made or replaced 200 address signs for seniors and families.
  • Pre-staged MREs and boxed water across the island to last 5,000 people for one week after a disaster.
  • Delivered sandbags to an average of 75 seniors per year.
  • Trained more than 50 people across multiple first responder programs, like CERT and Stop the Bleed.
  • Delivered 12,000 meals directly to seniors and families during the first COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Distributed over 4,000 reusable masks throughout the community.
  • Supported mass-vaccination efforts on St. John for 8 weeks, helping hundreds of residents and visitors to get their shots.
All of our programs serve those with the highest risk for health and safety challenges in the St. John community, first and foremost: Seniors, persons with a disability or chronic health condition, and families with young children.
When our team gets together to brainstorm a new program, we start by asking ourselves the following 6 questions:
  • What issue caused by a disaster does the program address, and/or what issue are we trying to prevent from happening in the future?
  • Does the program serve the most high risk individuals in our community, and can it be replicated by those who have the means to provide it for themselves?
  • Who are our partners locally that can support us?
  • How can we center local businesses and skilled individuals in the U.S.V.I. in our program work so that funding we receive stays in the territory?
  • What data can we gather during the course of the program, and how can this data be used in the future?
  • Is the program scalable to the other islands in the territory, other communities in the Caribbean, or rural communities globally?
Using the Resilient Housing Initiative (RHI) as an example, the answers are:
  • We are addressing the massive loss in permanent low and middle income housing suffered as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Moreover, we want to rebuild homes so that they’re more storm resilient in the future.
  • The program serves seniors, families with children and infants, and individuals with a disability or a chronic health condition. All of our clients are typically underserved by existing hurricane recovery/rebuild programs.
  • We identified the St. John Community Foundation to help us with case management and All Hands and Hearts (who were on an extended mission in the USVI at the time) to help with on-site labor via their volunteers.
  • We hired St. John-based construction companies and licensed contractors to perform all rebuild work, purchased our supplementary tools and equipment from businesses on St. John and St. Thomas when possible, and ordered building materials either from local suppliers or from Puerto Rico.
  • We keep track of all of our expenses for each site to help federal partners like FEMA. This facilitates a better understanding of the true cost of housing rebuild on St. John; factoring in volunteer labor, shipping, and more.
  • With local case management who live in and are a part of the community that they serve; strong partnerships with local contractors and suppliers; and access to both private and government funding, this program can be replicated in communities similar to St. John.
As a newer nonprofit organization, we are grateful for the faith that our community, our donors, and our partners have put in us from day one. We truly could not do this without you. We hope that by sharing some of our results, along with the methodology behind the work that we do, we will continue to earn your trust. For LCS to keep building our impact, funding is critical. Donate today to support our ongoing programs, and help us create new ones. With your help, we can continue to have a big impact for St. John.
Tuesday, November 30th is Giving Tuesday, the global day of giving back! Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: A day that encourages people to do good. Over the years, Giving Tuesday has grown into a global movement. It inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, volunteer, and celebrate generosity.  This year, you can join the movement by donating to Love City Strong. Your donation will support our efforts to build a more prepared St. John.  To leverage donations on Giving Tuesday, the Global Giving Foundation is offering an Incentive Fund of $1,000,000. This fund will be distributed across ALL of its participating charities around the world, including LCS! When you donate on November 30th through our Global Giving page, we’ll receive a portion of these matched funds. If you’re on St. John, you can also support us this year by dining in or taking out from High Tide Bar & Seafood Grill all day on Giving Tuesday, and adding a $20 donation to your tab. As a thank you, you’ll receive a limited edition “Give a Little Love” tote bag (while supplies last)! A little bit of love goes a long way! *If you do decide to visit this restaurant, please follow all mask wearing and social distancing guidelines that they have in place. Thank you for your support of Love City Strong, and for considering us as a recipient of your generosity this Giving Tuesday. None of what we do would be possible without YOU!
St. John Getaway Raffle for Giving Tuesday, to benefit Love City Strong

As many of you know, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as Giving Tuesday – a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.

This year, as part of our Giving Tuesday fundraising efforts, Love City Strong has put together a “St. John Getaway” raffle, which launched on November 1st. The prize package includes accommodations (a week’s stay for 2 at the new Wharfside Village Hotel), discounted rental from Slim Man’s Jeep Rental, lots of activities options, plus over $1000 of gift certificates for dining and shopping.

We’re excited to be able to offer a chance to win this fun and comprehensive vacation package while raising money to support our ongoing disaster preparedness, disaster response, recovery, and mitigation efforts here on St. John and across the USVI. To learn more about the work that we do, please visit our website

The complete prize list includes:

Accomodations: A week stay at Wharfside Village Hotel – King Size room (2 Guests)

Transportation:      Discounted rental from Slim Man’s Jeep Rental

Dining: Morgan’s Mango – $200.00 Gift Certificate 18’64’ The Restaurant – $250.00 Gift Certificate North Shore Deli – $100.00 Gift Certificate St. John Scoops – $50.00 Gift Certificate Kati Ligo – A specialty cheese board and 2 glasses of wine, valued at $60 Trunk Bay Concessions – $100.00 Gift Certificate

Activities: Cabana Day at Lovango Resort & Beach Club Sunset Sail with Big Blue Excursions Half Day Snorkel Sail for 2 aboard Kekoa 2 hr LimeOut Taco Shuttle with Salt Deck

Shopping: Lulee St. John- $100.00 Gift Certificate VirginAbis- $100.00 Gift Certificate The Tap Room “Brewtique”- $75.00 Gift Certificate

The prize drawing will take place on December 1st (the day after Giving Tuesday). Enter today for your chance to win a trip to St. John!
LCS Employee and Client
Kenisha Small, our Community Relations Manager, leads the Go Team.
On St. John, you may see a group of people wearing bright teal shirts driving all across the island in a hurry. They can be spotted at community events, visiting seniors at home, or delivering emergency preparedness supplies to seniors and families. Who are these friendly, cheerful folks in their bright shirts? They are the Love City Strong Go Team! Why is it called the “Go Team?” Our Go Team was modeled after the group of volunteers that worked alongside our founders after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Together with Global DIRT, we enlisted over 50 individuals from all across the island to go into the community and help those in need. These volunteers were nicknamed the “Go Team” because they are always “on the go,” and the name stuck! For 3 months after the hurricanes, the Go Team delivered relief supplies from a variety of outside agencies, helped people clean their properties, connected individuals with resources, managed the massive amount of  in-kind donations arriving on St. John, and gathered data used by federal agencies like the US Army Core of Engineers’ Blueroof Program. Our Team Reflects Our Community When Love City Strong’s founders decided to form LCS into an official NGO, we knew that we wanted the Go Team to be a part of the organizational structure. We learned early on the value of disaster survivors seeing themselves reflected in the response and recovery process. People were more likely to accept help from their friends and neighbors than from outsiders who they didn’t recognize. From the beginning, we made sure that the Go Team reflected the diversity of the St. John community. Though its members and its size have changed over the years, the Go Team has always been made up of individuals from a variety of backgrounds, age groups, and from different areas of the island. All of our employees, including the Go Team, are either Virgin Islanders or transplants who have lived on St. John for at least 5 years. This has been crucial to our success as an organization. What Does the Go Team Do? During the Atlantic Hurricane Season, the Go Team spends their time going through extensive first responder training. They also execute our annual preparedness outreach programs, such as sandbag deliveries to seniors alongside the VI Dept. of Public Works. Every July, we hire a group of 10 to 15 seasonal members of the Go Team. They can be quickly deployed alongside our core team if a major disaster strikes. The seasonal members receive first responder training as well, and help us with a variety of outreach tasks throughout peak hurricane season. Throughout the rest of the year, the Go Team are the ones executing our preparedness and mitigation programs. They change filters for seniors involved in our Water Filtration program; drive seniors to their flu shot appointments; build and post address signs for homes that do not have visible addresses, and more. In 2020, they hand delivered hundreds of meals from World Central Kitchen to seniors and families every week from Cruz Bay to the East End of St. John. They also keep in touch with clients who are receiving program benefits from a contractor or business partner. For example, they make regular visits to those whose homes are being rebuilt through our Resilient Housing Initiative (RHI) program. They firmly believe in meeting our clients where they are, rather than making them come to our office. This allows our clients to feel comfortable and creates a more personal experience for them while they are enrolled in one of our programs. The Go Team is always ready to lend a hand to any group or agency for a disaster preparedness or mitigation project. For example, when the VI Dept. of Health and FEMA asked for our help with vaccination pop ups on St. John, the Go Team led the charge. The Core of LCS The Go Team are the heart of everything that we do. They provide familiar, friendly faces for our clients. Often take on multiple projects and tasks every month for LCS and for our partners. Nothing that we do would be possible without their hard work and dedication to our mission. If you are on St. John, and you see their teal shirts on the go, be sure to wave and say hello! The Go Team might not be able to stop and chat, but they’ve always got time for a smile. Donate today to help the Go Team keep doing their important work.
Love City Strong 2021 Prospectus Release

2021 Prospectus

This month Love City Strong is excited to share our updated 2021 Prospectus

This document outlines our organizational priorities and ongoing projects, including COVID-19 response and our continued efforts supporting vaccinations on St. John. In 2020, we shifted this document from its previous physical form to a living, online version in order to reach a larger audience.

What is a Prospectus?

A prospectus is a document that describes a school, organization, or potential project in order to attract or inform clients, buyers, or investors. For our purposes, the prospectus is a part of our efforts to keep our current and potential donors engaged in our activities and plans for the future. 

What is included in the Prospectus? 

The document revisits our core mission and values as an organization. In addition, it breaks down our accomplishments and upcoming goals for each of our ongoing projects. It specifies the impact that our projects have had on the community, highlighting measurable outcomes and progress. Finally, it identifies tangible results tied to various donation amounts, in each project area. 

How can I help?

This year, the Caribbean faces yet another active hurricane season, and based on recent evidence we know that storms are coming through more often and with more intensity. Community preparedness, which is at the core of the Love City Strong mission, is more important than ever. 

If St. John holds a special place in your heart and you’re emotionally invested in our recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the COVID-19 pandemic, please take a few moments to read through this year’s Prospectus and share it with your friends and family! 

If you are able, consider making a donation, or sign up as a monthly donor, to help us build a stronger and more resilient community as we continue to recover. 

When a disaster strikes, those of us watching from afar have an immediate impulse to give our belongings to those who have lost everything. The impulse to give things like food or clothing is not necessarily a bad one. But if your goal is to help in a way that is as meaningful as possible, giving canned goods, clothes, or other items to disaster survivors is often less effective than giving one simple item: Money. When resources on the ground are limited, and in communities like St. John where those helping on the ground are themselves disaster survivors, everyone’s time and energy are precious. Physical goods create extra work for those active in recovery. Organizations and volunteers have to devote their time and resources to the collection, sorting, storage, and distribution of goods. This involves money and valuable man hours that should be spent addressing a community’s immediate, most pressing concerns. Moreover, in post-disaster areas there may not be enough actual space to deal with donated goods. When the majority of physical structures in a community are destroyed, safe and secure long term storage is nearly impossible. With communities in a state of disrepair, and so much storm debris on the ground to deal with, donated goods can create a severe strain on a community’s waste management system.  The best and most meaningful act of charity that you can do for a community after a disaster strikes is to donate money, not physical goods. Providing funding to community organizations eliminates many of the aforementioned challenges, and allows those of us on the ground who are engaged in recovery work to truly meet the community’s needs as they occur.  Here are a few things to remember when donating:
  • Donate money directly to trusted, well-established nonprofit organizations with ties to the community. Use free websites like GuideStar and Global Giving to get background information on them, and ensure that they will be good stewards of your generosity.
  • Use Go Fund Me or Facebook fundraisers to support individuals or families. Avoid using these platforms to donate to nonprofits, as they create another layer of complication in the giving process. There can be hidden fees and long delays in funding disbursement. 
If you are going to donate physical goods, wait for community organizations on the ground to tell you what the community needs. Do not provide what you think a community needs, and do not start mass-donation efforts until you know exactly what is needed. The needs on the ground are ever changing after a disaster. Wait for the community to express itself to you rather than jumping to your own conclusions. At the end of the day, providing “stuff” is a short term solution to a long term problem, and is a less effective way of helping those in need. Things like maintaining shelters and rebuilding destroyed homes take time and funding. Money provides the mechanism to get these big projects started, while also helping organizations on the ground address the most immediate needs that a community has after a disaster. 
The LCS Team and St. John Fire Chief Clarence Stephenson
This week, our team partnered with the Virgin Islands Fire Department and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church to help distribute boxes of food to St. John residents as part of the USDA’s Farmers to Families program. While this is the fourth time that boxes of food have been given out on St. John, the current distribution model relies on those in need going to distribution sites.  Our team’s inclusion in this round of distribution ensured that a crucial group of individuals was able to receive this program’s benefits: Seniors and people with a disability or chronic health condition that renders them homebound. We delivered boxes of food directly to 80 homes across the island in a single day. Our longstanding model of going directly to those we serve for all of our programs, rather than making them come to us, means that we are uniquely able to navigate St. John quickly and efficiently. This allows us to provide people with goods and services from other organizations who might otherwise not be able to access them. Thanks to the support of our Board and donors, we are able to provide vehicles for our employees to participate in programs like this. Providing our team with vehicles, PPE, and the tools that they need to do their jobs ensures that they do not have to use their personal property for work purposes. This lends itself to our belief in a strong work-life balance, and strengthens our impact. Your donations ensure that we can continue to support other organizations’ efforts when we are not working on our own programs. Click here to read more about what we do, and please consider a donation today. With your help, we can keep supporting our community whenever we are able.
A graphic saying thank you to donors.
December 1 was Giving Tuesday, the global day of giving back. In the nonprofit world, there are so many smart and talented leaders, innovative and inspiring solutions, and extremely worthy causes. We are so humbled by the kindness extended to us this year from our donors. Nothing that we do is possible without you. This year, over $4,000 dollars was raised for Love City Strong on Giving Tuesday, ensuring that our efforts to create a more prepared St. John will continue in the years to come. Thanks to the GlobalGiving Foundation’s #MoveAMillion campaign, a significant matching contribution will be made from GlobalGiving to every one of their sponsored charities, including LCS! We would like to extend a special thank you to High Tide and St. John Brewer’s for their support this year, and in years past. Their teams worked so hard to help encourage people to donate on Giving Tuesday by hosting a special raffle event, with dozens of individuals either buying tickets or just donating what they could and asking nothing in return. Even in the midst of such unparalleled challenges, the small business community on St. John never fails to demonstrate their kindness and spirit. We would also like to thank Cruz Bay Watersports for generously donating two sailing trips as prizes for the raffle. For over 30 years, they have delivered premier recreational activities for visitors and residents of the US Virgin Islands, and supported many nonprofit organizations and charity events. We are so fortunate and grateful to be the recipients of their generosity this year. Congratulations to raffle winners Jessica Williams and Megan Folsom! We hope you enjoy a fun and relaxing day on the water. Amidst the upheaval that has impacted all facets of life, and the uncertainty of navigating our personal and professional future, Giving Tuesday was an important reminder of the inherent goodness in people. The connections created during this giving season, whether through kind words, shared messages, or donations to support our projects, have invigorated and motivated us to continue our work. From all of us at Love City Strong, thank you!
Giving Tuesday Information
This Tuesday, December 1 is known as Giving Tuesday, the global day of giving back. Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: A day that encourages people to do good. Over the years it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, volunteer, and celebrate generosity.  This year, you can join the movement by supporting Love City Strong, and our efforts to create a more prepared St. John. Click here to donate now. At LCS, our mission is to ensure that the community of St. John is able to respond, recover, and prepare for disasters. Our approach to disaster preparedness centers on three main initiatives: Community outreach and empowerment, stockpiling emergency supplies, and professional training for our team to make us more effective as first responders. To that end, we have already made a lot of progress over the last 3 years. We created 3 secure storage areas across the island that house a variety of response supplies including boxed water, MREs, solar lights, and first aid supplies. Our team calls or visits over 200 households with seniors both prior to and directly after any tropical weather event of any size; if the senior needs help putting up their shutters or securing their property, we head to their home and help. We have spent several years giving away File of Life and waterproof, flashing emergency lights to people all over the island, and offering to make free home address signs for seniors in an effort to ensure that emergency workers can get to them quicker and easier. With your help this Giving Tuesday, we can do even more to respond to disasters. While we often fundraise for specific projects (like the Resilient Housing Initiative), 2020 has taught us that it is important to have unrestricted funding available as well. Unrestricted donations are funds that can be spent on anything that we identify as a community need, rather than specific projects that we are already working on. This ensures that we can spring into action and address any crisis that may arise. With unrestricted donations, we were able to create and execute community programs in response to COVID-19 quickly and efficiently. This year, programs like our island-wide meal distribution program alongside World Central Kitchen and the purchase and distribution of thousands of reusable face masks across the island were funded by flexible, unrestricted donations. Unrestricted funding also allows us to employ St. John residents and hire St. John businesses to help us do the work.  This Giving Tuesday, join the global movement for good by supporting our efforts through unrestricted funding. If you make your donation via our Global Giving Foundation page, they will distribute additional funds to all of the charities that Global Giving sponsors around the world this year, including LCS, as part of the #MoveAMillion campaign. No matter which causes you donate to or support this year, we encourage everyone to give a little back this Giving Tuesday. Nonprofits play a crucial role in their communities, and they rely on our love to keep them going. Celebrate their efforts through a donation this December 1.
As COVID-19 continues its impact across the globe, nonprofit organizations have stepped up to help their communities by addressing gaps in the pandemic response in a variety of ways. In turn, there has been a significant trend in large philanthropic organizations rising to the occasion and modifying the way they do business with nonprofits. Some foundations have helped by ramping up their allotment of funds to cover general operating costs — A sticking point in an industry that demands low overhead yet high benchmarks for success and sweeping outcomes — While others have extended funding deadlines or shifted funding requirements entirely. At Love City Strong, many of our original plans for 2020 were put on hold temporarily (or in some cases indefinitely) in favor of pivoting to address community needs caused by the pandemic. Providing PPE to first responders and healthcare workers, feeding the community during the Virgin Islands’ initial lockdown, and bulking up a backstock supply of PPE in anticipation of a second wave of cases became our priorities. Fortunately, we benefited from the flexibility and generosity of one of our key philanthropic funders. The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) has been a tremendous help to our organization in this time of need. They not only allowed funds granted in 2019 to be extended through the end of 2020, but also for the funding to be pivoted from its original purpose, and instead used for our COVID-19 response efforts.  Without their support, none of our COVID-19 microprograms would be possible. It is refreshing and heartening to see large donors and philanthropic organizations like CFVI pivot to address funding the world’s ever changing needs, just as NGOs have pivoted to address those needs on the ground.  I believe that this fluid, all-hazards approach is the future of efficient and inclusive disaster response, as nonprofits and faith based organizations continue to do what is necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the communities that they serve. With less trepidation about funding general operating costs, and relaxed requirements on how philanthropic funding can be used, there is no telling how much nonprofits can accomplish moving forward. The question is whether these philanthropic commitments to increase funds, provide more flexibility, and limit asks of nonprofits will become part of the “new normal” — Or whether the habits of big donors will return to business as usual.