The Issa Trust Foundation has raised $417,000, including a $200,000 donation from international charity Direct Relief at the foundation’s For the Children benefit gala at the Sony Hall in Manhattan.
Funds raised from the event will enable the Issa Trust Foundation to start construction of its own children’s health center in the Ocho Rios area, to provide “top-notch pediatric health care to Jamaica’s children on an ongoing basis,” said Paul Issa, chair of the Issa Trust Foundation.
The clinic will provide healthcare services for children and adolescents in St. Ann and surrounding parishes, and will be named the Mary Issa Health Center in honor of Mary Issa, the deceased family matriarch who was passionately committed to health care for children during her lifetime. The facility will provide expertise in areas such as cardiology, nephrology, gastroenterology, oncology and mental health support. Vision screening will be offered along with free glasses if needed.
Since 2005, the foundation has conducted annual pediatric medical initiatives across the island and treated thousands of children. In 2020, the foundation responded to the urgent medical crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, obtaining USD $238,000 (JMD $32 million) in equipment and supplies for Jamaica. The donation included two GE Ventilators (valued at JMD $3 million), a new portable X-ray machine (valued at JMD $2 million), and a 40-foot container of supplies and equipment (valued at JMD $27 million).
“We are so grateful for everyone’s overwhelming support and generosity. As shared on Saturday night, Jamaica has one of the highest rates of adolescent pregnancies in the English-speaking Caribbean,” said Diane Pollard, president of the Issa Trust Foundation.
“One out of every four students had considered suicide. Jamaica lags behind international standards with respect to its capacity to deliver mental health services to its population. All of these factors should be of a major concern to everyone, and I hope more partners will step up [and] join forces with us to help our future generation,” she said.
New York radio broadcaster Conroy Allison of Winner’s Circle radio, 93.5 FM is being hailed for the critical role he has played in rallying support from the Jamaican diaspora community. Allison brokered an important deal to have the gala’s PSA air at the top of the hour on the Caribbean centric WVIP, 93.5 FM radio station for four weeks.
“Many thanks to the management of WVIP, 93.5 F.M. for supporting this Issa Trust Foundation fundraising gala with valuable air time which is so necessary to get the word out to our Jamaican/Caribbean community,” Allison said.
Wife of the Prime Minister Andrew Holnes and Member of Parliament for St. Andrew East Rural Juliet Holness was patron of the fundraising event which featured performances from iconic reggae band Third World, DJ Norrie and singer/actor Leon & the People’s band.
Sponsors include Mayberry Investments, Wisynco, Stacy B Travel, Dream Vacations, Fraser, Fontaine & Kong, Richmond Estates and the Jamaica Tourist Board.