Red Ventures CEO aims to raise $10 million to rebuild his native Puerto Rico

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Katherine Peralta | The Charlotte Observer) - Red Ventures CEO Ric Elias has launched a fundraising effort to rebuild his native Puerto Rico, which has been devastated by Hurricane Maria. The goal is to raise at least $10 million, and Elias says he will personally match up to $5 million.

The Category 4 hurricane slammed into Puerto Rico last week, causing damages that could exceed $7 billion, according to the island's governor, Ricardo Rosselló. The island could remain without power for months, and about 15,000 residents remain as refugees in government shelters, according to a statement from Red Ventures.

Elias kicked off his 30-day fundraiser Tuesday morning. On the fundraising website, Elias says he will work to identify where need is greatest, then shift to find long-term solutions for rebuilding the island's infrastructure.

"Puerto Rico is my childhood, it is my home, and it is where many of my friends and family live today. Words cannot describe how it feels to see it destroyed beyond recognition," Elias said on the site.

Elias co-founded Red Ventures, an Internet marketing firm just south of the state line, in 2000. The company employs roughly 2,700.

Elias has been one of the most outspoken Charlotte-area executives on social issues.

This summer, for instance, he took to Twitter to support for N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper, who said that Confederate statues should be removed from state grounds. He also has long supported immigrant rights issues, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which President Donald Trump began dismantling this summer.