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Inter-American Foundation Brings Grassroots Voices to the Summit of the Americas

WASHINGTON, DC, June 10, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — The Inter-American Foundation (IAF) is pleased to announce its commitment to contributing to the U.S. government’s deliverables for the IX Summit of the Americas by channeling at least $75 million to approximately 300 locally-based, community-led organizations representing underserved populations. The IAF will also leverage its broad network of civil society grantees and partners in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to support the Central American Service Corps, which aims to provide young people with paid service opportunities, mentorship, and a path to future employment in their own communities. These commitments reflect the United States’ ongoing, bipartisan commitment to supporting grassroots civil society in the hemisphere and the IAF’s dedication to meeting the increasingly urgent challenges in the region.

The IAF’s new President & CEO Sara Aviel is currently leading the IAF’s delegation to the Summit to reinforce these commitments and make connections to expand the agency’s impact. “Many have focused on perceived high-level political division in the region, but the more significant story of the Summit is the civil society and grassroots leaders across the hemisphere who are tackling seemingly impossible challenges in their communities, sharing lessons with each other, and striving to further increase their impact,” states Aviel. “We know that to be most effective, any solution to the urgent problems facing the region needs to empower grassroots efforts. We are proud to partner with local organizations driving innovation and getting results on the ground.”

Aviel shared the IAF’s experiences in building grassroots resilience on June 8 at the Young Americas Forum as part of the Plenary Panel on Health and Resilience in the Americas: Innovation in Action. She joined speakers United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, Director of the Pan American Health Organization Dr. Carissa Etienne, and Jose Luis Nuno, co-founder of disease surveillance technology company UNIMA. Aviel is also participating in the IV CEOs Summit of the Americas and IX Civil Society Forum.

Aviel is joined by 13 local IAF partners, including leaders of youth organizations, civil society representatives, and award-winning youth entrepreneurs from across Latin America and the Caribbean. These participants are bringing grassroots perspectives to high-level discussions of regional challenges—an opportunity that presents itself only once every few years and is occurring on U.S. soil for the first time in decades.

Five delegates from IAF grantee organizations are representing their organizations and the IAF grantee network at the IX Civil Society Forum. Asociación Regional Campesina Ch’orti’ from Guatemala strengthens participant organizations’ knowledge of risk management, disaster prevention, and response. Haiti Community Foundation-Espwa, Haiti’s first community foundation, leverages local, diaspora, and international funds to build the capacity of community organizations, starting in the department of the Grand’Anse and now by expanding to other regions. Comunalia: Alianza de Fundaciones Comunitarias, a Mexican network of community foundations, promotes peer-to-peer coordination and learning in areas such as evaluation, grassroots development, grantmaking, and fundraising. Caribe Afirmativo supports peacebuilding efforts inclusive of LGBTQ+ people in Colombia. Fundación Centro de Derechos Sociales del Inmigrante from Costa Rica helps improve the livelihoods of Nicaraguan migrants in Costa Rica by providing seed capital, training, and technical support to bolster their leadership capacity and increase production and sale of their organic agricultural products.

The IAF is proud to be an event partner for the VI Young Americas Forum hosted by the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), a nonprofit in coordination with the Organization of American States. The Young Americas Forum is the premier platform for young people from the region to engage with hemispheric discussions.

Delegates from four youth-focused grantee organizations are representing their institutions at the Young Americas Forum and Innovation Expo as well as leading breakout sessions. Lakou Lapè trains young people in conflict resolution in gang-affected neighborhoods of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Asociación de Desarrollo Triunfeña provides comprehensive training and financial assistance to young Hondurans to establish microenterprises as an alternative to migration. Asociación Civil Colectivo para la Participación de la Infancia y Juventud addresses the economic, social, legal, and emotional barriers Guatemalan women face in reporting gender-based violence and accessing related support through training in financial management, entrepreneurship, and human rights, as well as psychosocial and legal assistance. Centro de Investigación y Servicio Popular helps Bolivian mining cooperatives and particularly women miners improve their productivity, occupational safety, and ore pricing.

The IAF is also sponsoring representatives from the four winners of its InnovAction Challenge with YABT. Oaxacanita Chocolate, an artisanal chocolate business, offers economic opportunities to Indigenous Mixtec communities in Mexico’s poorest region. Fundación Soy Oportunidad from Colombia connects underserved single mothers with accessible work-from-home opportunities and connects businesses with an untapped labor resource.

Youth to Lead promotes non-partisan civic participation in El Salvador. Cornersave.com provides a low-cost solution for small grocery store owners in Jamaica to manage their businesses and turn their smartphones into points of sale.

This talent and innovation competition expanded funding and support to young entrepreneurs—particularly those from marginalized communities—with innovative ideas for tackling challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Inter-American Foundation (IAF) is a nimble and transformative U.S. government agency that invests in community-led development across Latin America and the Caribbean. The agency directly engages local leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs in underserved areas to create more prosperous, peaceful, and democratic communities. The IAF’s active portfolio includes approximately 400 projects in 27 countries.

For more information about the IAF, visit www.iaf.gov or contact: Rebecca Nelson, Media Liaison | Email: [email protected] | Telephone: +1 (202) 683-7188


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