The Stone Foundation (TSF) was established to help disadvantaged youth
and poor communities on the island of Jamaica. We began this endeavor because Jamaica is a
very unique country. Its population is uncharacteristically young, with a median age of 26.
And, approximately 48.9% of those persons living under the poverty line are children under
the age of 18. These very unique demographics, coupled with limited access to employment,
training and social services, cast a long shadow on Jamaica's future - a future inextricably
tied to the support, education and skill sets of its youth. Our purpose is to empower today's
Jamaican youth through our collective expertise in the fields of healthcare, education,
agriculture, business and technology. TSF recently established a Youth Project here in the US,
the Nubbie's Kids - All Things Green Project to help feed the poor and displaced here at home.
TSF was founded by a group of concerned and seasoned professionals from the fields of medicine, architecture, computer engineering, education and agriculture, TSF was established to also help alleviate poverty among the most disadvantaged people and sectors in the Caribbean and the Americas (youth, rural poor, women, unskilled laborers and the challenged). We strongly believe that fostering higher productivity among the people in these regions is the answer to breaking the poverty cycle. Furthermore, we believe that technical, job skill and agricultural training is the best way to foster higher productivity. Our purpose is to help those in need and to maximize indigenous participation in the design, construction, and operational phases of planned economic enhancement projects by establishing community-based technical training and assistance programs structured to match skill sets required to support local employment preparedness and joint-venture participation empowerment.
TSF Model for meeting the needs of these lower socio-economic groups represents a departure from the handout model where resources are simply distributed, with no measure or guarantee of success. Our model is a self-perpetuating, empowerment program that implements projects in three main areas workforce development, community development, and economic development. The main focus of our model is workforce development because these projects produce individuals with marketable skills. Our secondary focus is economic development. Our projects in economic development not only foster economic growth within the community and give locals a stake in the new economy, but the outputs from these projects are also used to perpetuate the model flow. Finally, our projects in community development deliver basics needs to families and serve as a social safety net for the workforce. TSF has chosen the South Coast, to begin implementing our model. Over the past twenty-five years, tourism has replaced export as the primary contributor to the Jamaican economy. Jamaica's South Coast, an area of about thirty miles and long known for its tranquility and natural beauty, is being developed as the last major site of the island's tourism product. Jamaica's "Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development" says that the locale will be "opened up as an area rich in attractions, tour options and a range of small hotels and guest houses, villas and apartments for visitors who want to experience more fully Jamaican culture". The plan is to move "tourism on to a path of long-term sustainability". However, since the workforce on the South Coast is comprised mostly of fisherman and farmers, this plan for development raises several issues: the major players in this soon-to-be economic boon are primarily large, foreign corporations; while economic benefits will eventually "trickle down" to the local populace, locals will have no initial (and eventually very little) stake in the area's "new economy"; the area work skills necessary to support tourism (construction, hospitality, etc.) are minimal; regional tourism developments such as this put increased demands on local resources and services (youth are affected most by these shortages); and, tourism developments in areas of poverty and inequity tend to create an under class - predisposed to panhandling, crime, prostitution, and drugs. All of these factors perpetuate the cycle of poverty and negate local empowerment and productivity.