As the search and rescue efforts continue at the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida, local philanthropists are kicking into high gear to raise funds for what is certain to be a long recovery. Local philanthropists kick into high gear to raise funds to support what will be a long recovery.
Orlando Bravo, a Puerto Rican billionaire and co-founder of the private equity firm Thoma Bravo, today donated $250,000 to the relief fund Support Surfside — making this the largest pledge to the cause thus far. Orlando Bravo, a Puerto Rican billionaire who is also co-founder of Thoma Bravo’s private equity firm, donated $250,000 today to the relief fund Help Surfside. This was the largest donation to the cause.} Bravo moved to Miami Beach recently, just a few minutes from the site of the partial collapsed tower on Thursday morning.
Bravo says that the Bravo Family Foundation was honored to help fill the need of Surfside victims before any long-term government or insurance assistance is implemented. Our foundation is sensitive to the immediate needs of families affected by tragedies such as Surfside and will help them rebuild their lives. We encourage business leaders, philanthropists, and community partners to join us in helping the victims of this terrible, tragic event.”
PEOPLE hears from him that he hopes the donation will be a call for action by other entrepreneurs, especially as Miami is experiencing a significant influx of tech money.
The Surfside Hardship Fund received the donation in addition to $750,000 already raised by South Florida residents. The fund now has $1 million.
Bravo has been designated to provide temporary housing for families displaced and treatment for all victims.
At least 156 people are still missing and five have already died as of Sunday morning. In addition, hundreds of people have been forced from their homes by the collapse, losing all their belongings and their homes.
City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez visited the Surfside Community Center on Sunday to speak with locals and accept the Bravo Family Foundation’s donation.
“Aside from the constant search and rescue efforts, it’s crucial to make sure residents displaced by this horrible tragedy have an immediate place to stay and it’s equally important that everyone has adequate access to the counseling they need,” said Suarez. “I want to thank Orlando Bravo, who is a new member to this community, for stepping up and making such a generous contribution to these efforts. It is because of people like him that we are united in helping each other.”
The Bravo Family is well known for their charitable contributions. They donated $10 million in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which provided relief for families in Puerto Rico after the devastating storm. Bravo and his team also deployed air and sea cargo operations to transport supplies to Puerto Rico.
Bravo relocated to Miami in late 2020 to extend his firm’s business and brand to The Magic City. Upon his move, he reached out to the NBA team the Miami Heat — one of the organizations behind Support Surfside — to learn how he could support his new community.
He tells PEOPLE that he hopes this donation will serve as a call to action for other entrepreneurs to do the same, particularly as Miami experiences a major influx of new tech money.
“These are the moments when a community has to come together, rise up and help. Thank you to Orlando Bravo and the Bravo Family Foundation for joining the Miami HEAT family and other local partners in helping our cherished community,” Steve Stowe, Vice President/Executive Director Miami HEAT Charitable Fund, told PEOPLE in a statement.