For a long time, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) has been a faithful collaborator with the philanthropic and non-profit organization Centros Sor Isolina Ferre, based in Ponce, Puerto Rico, distributing toys and other donations among the children of the different impoverished communities in the area. That relationship continued this Thursday in the main offices of the Centros Sor Isolina Ferré.
In a special ceremony, the We Will Foundation, initiated three years ago by renowned boxing referee Gino Rodríguez and his daughter, the celebrated actress Gina Rodríguez, star of the hit TV series Jane The Virgin, presented a $50,000 donation to the humanitarian institution. Sister Mildred Vázquez, director of the Centros, gratefully received the donation.
“In effect we just completed the donation”, said Gino, member of the WBO Executive Committee and third vicepresident of the boxing organization headed by Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcárcel.
“My son in law, Christian Leyva, is a member of Local 911 of the Teamsters Union in California and they had collected $23,000 to help the youngsters and their families in Ponce that had been hit by the tragedy of hurricane María”, added Gino, who lives in California but came to the island to present the donation.
“And our foundation added the rest to complete the $50,000”.
“This came as such a surprise”, said Sister Mildred, “that this We Will Foundation and the Teamsters, from so far away, thought about us in this way. We really need the money because, due to the financial situation of the island, we have been forced to reduce personnel and services.”
Although she was unable to be present, Gina sent a video in which she addressed the children and their families.
In it, she appears with her parents and extended family and says “hello everyone, lots of love to Puerto Rico. With my foundation we were able to fund raise $50,000 for the recovery. We love you Puerto Rico, we send lots of love, and all of our hearts are with you”.
For years Gino lived in Chicago and he retired in 2015 after a long career as a boxing referee that began in the late eighties and included more than one hundred world title fights.
“I’m the foundation’s president and Gina, who’s the one that really gets the donations, the vice-president,” he explained. “We began this three years ago in order to help the youngsters with problems like education and poverty.”
Among those present in the ceremony was the treasurer of the organization, Adolfo ‘Fito’ Flores, among others.
Valcárcel is out of the country.
Before this, the WBO had already donated $25,000 to the Centros and in February the boxing organization will hold its annual presentation were it will distribute gifts, cash and 100 bicycles among the children and their families.