The Jamaica Foundation of Houston and its predecessor organization, the Jamaican Association of Greater Houston, have served the Houston community for a combined 25 years. The primary purpose of the organization is to preserve and enhance Jamaican culture in Houston. It continues to pursue growth and to encompass a wider group of volunteers to serve a larger and growing community.
Many Caribbean students with high school diplomas from their native country are not eligible for conventional scholarships offered in the Houston area, regardless of their academic excellence and need. The Foundation seeks to help fill this gap. On June 4, 2005 the Jamaica Foundation awarded 16 scholarships to promising college students, primarily from Jamaica. Over the past 25 years the foundation has awarded more than 200 scholarships. Many former recipients are pursuing promising professional careers in both the United States and the Caribbean.
The Jamaica Foundation has led or participated in several community based projects, in partnership with the Jamaican Consulate in Houston and other organizations. They have supported organizations in Jamaica such as the Jamaica Library Service with children’s books, encyclopedia sets and communications equipment, several hospitals with medical equipment and supplies. Hurricane Ivan caused extensive damage in the Spanish Town area in 2004,. A partnership agreement between Houston and Spanish Town was signed in 2004 by the mayors of both cities. The Foundation and Consulate organized a community effort which sent two 40-foot containers of relief supplies to the Spanish Town Hospital and St. Catherine Infirmary. They are currently working on filling a third 40-foot container with school supplies, building materials and other needed equipment.
The Foundation works with business and government representatives in Houston to accomplish common goals. As a leader of the Caribbean Advisory Committee of the Houston International Festival in 1998 they developed, wrote and edited an educational book on the history and culture of the Caribbean which was published and widely distributed in Houston schools. Jamaican and Caribbean cultural events in Houston have been hosted or supported by the Jamaica Foundation, often in collaboration with other Caribbean organizations.
The Jamaica Foundation is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization with modest financial strength, they aim to build or acquire a Caribbean Cultural Community Center in Houston. This will enable the countries of the Caribbean to have a stronger voice in the Houston community and help to preserve the Caribbean cultures in the area.