The San Juans for San Juan: Grassroots effort to fund solar installation for a school in Puerto Rico

Posted Jonathan Dobson

Special to The PREVIEW

A local solar energy installer who visited Puerto Rico two months after Hurricane Maria hit on Sept. 20, 2017, will give presentations about the project he is spearheading, along with Pagosa Mountain Rotary, to help the Maria Fontaine School, an elementary school serving 100-110 children in Utuado, Puerto Rico.

This festive dance and cocktails event, kicking off a fundraising campaign a year in the making, will take place Oct. 20 at Shooters and Shenanigans from 5 to 10 p.m. Live music and sponsorship options will be presented along with a free salsa class led by instructor Dali Infante beginning at 6:30 p.m.

This is a solar installation that will power the entire school in remote western-central Puerto Rico that was particularly devastated and disabled. The school itself served as a shelter during the days of the hurricane.

The people of Puerto Rico were traumatized by Maria. This is a way we can lend a hand. The school is not still without power (grid power was reconnected three months ago), but that power is undependable; basic lighting, teaching equipment and a kitchen where two meals a day are traditionally served to the children are among essentials the school has been at a loss to consistently provide and will struggle to provide for the foreseeable future without help.

A school is the basis of a community. In Puerto Rico, many communities are still in need of a hand and will be for a long time. This is an opportunity to help one of the communities most hurt by the storm.

The invitation to be part of this action is sent out to everyone looking for an extra bit of fun and inspiration on Saturday night, Oct. 20. The soirée to support this effort, being referred to as “The San Juans for San Juan,” will highlight Puerto Rican history, music and flair.

Among what will be articulated throughout the evening is how this project came about, what the particulars are with relation to the project itself and how you can donate. Door prizes of particular curiosity will be awarded to anyone qualifying for the entrant pool by donating $100 or more. Silent auction items will be offered, as well as a citation by honorary inscription on a plaque that will be mounted at the school (of which you will also be the recipient of a copy for your donation) if you can help with $250 or more. The goal is to raise $25,000. A full accounting of the equipment to be used, how it will be installed, including pictures of the school and an outline of how funds will allocate once the targeted amount is reached, will be presented.

If you are interested in learning some salsa moves and have some time the night of Saturday, Oct. 20, for energetic, fun-infused sounds provided by local act the Derangements and, if perhaps you are interested in experiencing and contributing to the kind of music and spirit by which Puerto Rico is healing, please come by Shooters and Shenanigans on Oct. 20 to introduce yourself and see what we can do together.

Jonathan Dobson and Doug Large both have extensive solar project experience and will facilitate the project, boots on the ground in Puerto Rico.

The PSRC has a 501(c)(3) charitable organization status.

GoFundMe has a link,, for those who wish to donate to the cause.