Merck Grants to Friends of Puerto Rico to Create STEM Entrepreneurs

Aguadilla, PR, October 29, 2021 --( Friends of Puerto Rico, a non-profit organization focused on developing entrepreneurial initiatives for at-risk children, received a $50,000 grant from Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, to support SEEDS, a K-12 STEM-based youth entrepreneurship program.

The grant project is part of the Neighbor of Choice Program, designed by Merck to support non-profit organizations whose mission is to improve the quality of life of people and the environment in communities in which the company operates.

“Merck’s commitment with Puerto Rico goes above and beyond patient health care. It is about diversity, equality and inclusion in all aspects. Merck believes that everybody deserves equal opportunities, the best access to medical treatments, but also access to food, a safe roof, education, health, and wellbeing. Through programs like Neighbor of Choice, we can keep helping the communities we serve while continuing our mission of saving and improving lives,” explained Juan Leonardo Negrón, Policy and Communications Director of Merck Puerto Rico.

According to the Instituto del Desarrollo de la Juventud, Fifty-six percent of children in Puerto Rico live below the poverty line, and 84 percent live in high-poverty areas. "The children are not only the poorest population group on the island, but the poorest compared to the American nation, living in a nearly-continuous recession for years, with low labor-force participation and double-digit unemployment. This grant is essential to create more leaders that will lead solutions based in science, agriculture and technology," said Angelique Sina, President of Friends of Puerto Rico.

STEM education, the bridge for a better future
Through the agreement, fifty (50) students, ages 9-12, from the Puerto Rican communities of Aguadilla, San Sebastian, and San Juan, primarily targeting low-income, will be included in the program that has impacted more than 100 students from the year 2019.

The award-winning SEEDS curriculum developed by BizNation is a ten-month-long STEM-based program. The students learn how to start and run their businesses from the ground up, made possible through training and on-one mentoring sessions. Topics covered throughout the program include financial literacy, supply chain mechanics, technology, sales, and agriculture.

To learn more about the entrepreneurship programs and how to enroll or get involved, visit or via email at

About Merck
For over 130 years, Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs, and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases – as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Friends of Puerto Rico
Alejandra Martinez