Calendar Highlights

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IAF travel grants fund the participation of academics and representatives of nongovernmental organizations and local government in conferences and workshops that support the development process and democratic practices. During the fiscal year, 226 travel grantees participated in the following events, among others: 

  • In October, Global Rights Partners for Justice trained 12 African descendants from civil society organizations in 10 countries to ensure the inclusion of their constituents’ concerns on the agenda of the Organization of American States. African descendants from Nicaragua, Peru and Colombia attended the Third Foro Interamericano Afro Descendiente held by Global Rights in Bogota in March with the goal of facilitating the contribution of citizens of African descent to the Summit of the Americas.

  • Representatives of Fondation SEROvie, a Haitian grassroots organization with a dual focus on health and the rights of Haitians living with HIV and LGBT Haitians, participated in the Caribbean HIV Conference held in the Bahamas in November. Joining them at the XIX International AIDS Conference held in Washington, D.C., in July were representatives of three other organizations from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, including Red de Voluntarios de Amigos Siempre Amigos (REVASA), which works to reduce the risk of infection among gay Dominicans.

  • The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, D.C., hosted Peruvians from three IAF grantee partners at Kaypi Perú, a Quechua phrase meaning “this is Peru”, a celebration of cultural heritage co-sponsored by the Inter-American Foundation and the Embassy of Peru. The festival, held July 25–30, showcased crafts, music, dance and food as well as the work of the three grassroots organizations: Ayllu Yupaychay’s (Yupay) curriculum that relies on the arts and cultural identity to teach indigenous children in rural Andean schools around Cuzco; the agroforestry efforts of Asociación Minga Perú (Minga Perú) in the Amazon region; and the services Instituto de Investigación para el Desarrollo Rural Agro Industrial y Medio Ambiente (IDRA) offers to tourists visiting the Chullpas of Sillustani, a sacred pre-Incan burial ground near Puno and one of Peru’s most impressive archaeological sites. A full program of hands-on workshops introduced children to aspects of Peruvian life and lore. The grantee partners offered handicrafts and wool accessories for sale and exhibited paintings by children in Yupay’s schools.
  • Former Bolivian grantee El Ceibo, a federation of farmer cooperatives, held its quadrennial cacao festival in August in the Alto Beni, the capital of the country’s production of organic cacao thanks to El Ceibo’s work over three decades. Among those celebrating with the cacao farmers were representatives of the Bolivian government, international fair-trade organizations and RAPUNZEL, El Ceibo’s German client, as well as Kevin Healy of the IAF. 

Throughout 2012, IAF staff and grantee representatives shared the IAF’s grassroots approach to development as well the accomplishments of its grantee partners, in venues that included the following: 

  • IAF president Robert Kaplan spoke on poverty reduction and community-based development to Dr. Robert Maguire’s class at George Washington University in October; to the foreign-affairs professionals in the Ford Latin America Group in March; and in July to the Academy of International Business. Also in July, he discussed the role of microfinance and public-private sector partnerships in Latin America, part of the briefing series Latin America on the Rise hosted by U.S. Representative Sam Farr. He shared the IAF’s experience and approach in keynote addresses at the meeting of the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies (MACLAS) in March and at the Central America Donors Forum organized in June by the Seattle International Foundation and held at Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

  • IAF representative Kevin Healy, a recognized expert on indigenous social movements, spoke as a panelist at the Conference on Indigenous Movements organized by the United States Department of State and lectured on his specialty at the Foreign Service Institute. During the fall semester, he taught courses on Indigenous Social Movements in Latin America at Georgetown University and George Washington University.

  • On behalf of the IAF, Amy Kirschenbaum, representative for Brazil, continued to attend regular meetings of the Interagency Steering Committee of the U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan (JAPER), a cooperative initiative led by the Department of State and the government of Brazil in furtherance of racial and ethnic equality. In January, she lectured for the third time at the Foreign Service Institute’s Advanced Brazil Seminar.

  • IAF representative Seth Jesse discussed the IAF’s work in transnational development at the IX International Convention of Salvadoreños en el Mundo in Santa Tecla, El Salvador, in December. Travel grants funded the participation of Salvadoran leaders of U.S.-based hometown associations.

  • Representatives of grantee Cooperativa de Provisión de Servicios para Productores, Comercialización y Consumo Centro de Comercio Solidario, Ltda. (CCD) of Argentina (AR-354) attended the Organic Honey Conference in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, in March. They participated in training, exchanged experiences and met with CCD’s client, the largest importer of fair-trade honey destined for Europe.

  • The IAF participated in March in a multinational exchange at the Kettering Foundation and in July in Deliberative Democracy Exchange with a dozen thought leaders from the IAF, Kettering, Northwestern University and the Coady International Institute.

  • For two weeks in April, Marion Ritchey-Vance, who retired in 1995, drew from her career at the IAF and from journal articles to lecture on grassroots development and the IAF’s approach at Carlton College as Headley Distinguished Visitor. Carlton also hosted a complementary exhibit of IAF photos. 
  • The IAF sponsored 54 representatives from 32 organizations in 12 countries at the Ecovida Network conference on the organic certification and marketing of agricultural products. Held in May in Florianópolis, Brazil, the event culminated in the formation of a Latin America network to facilitate the exchange of information toward more effective practices.
  • Also in May, the IAF coordinated with 35 Salvadoran leaders from metropolitan Washington, D.C., to encourage diaspora groups to marshal funds and human resources for community-based enterprises and grassroots groups in El Salvador.

  • Nine grantee partners were represented among the organizations that gathered in Rio de Janeiro in June for the Cúpola do Povo, or People’s Summit, commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit with a host of events running parallel to Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development: Centro de Estudos e Promoção da Agricultura de Grupo (CEPAGRO), Centro de Apoio Socio-Ambiental (CASA) and Fundação Grupo Boticário (FBPN) from Brazil; Fundación para el Etnodesarrollo de los Llanos Orientales de Colombia (ETNOLLANO); Institución Ecuménica de Promoción Social (OGUASU) of Paraguay; and Corporación Educativa para el Desarrollo Costarricense (CEDECO) whose executive director spoke on community-based strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change at the Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in the New Economy. The Industrial Federation of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FIRJAN) collaborated in building the structure housing the forum which was co-sponsored by the IAF and organized by the Avina Foundation, Ashoka, Fundação Roberto Marinho and the Skoll Foundation. Amy Kirschenbaum, represented the IAF.

  • IAF representative Marcy Kelley participated in the Community Philanthropy Program sponsored by the Aga Khan Foundation and the C.S. Mott Foundation in July. Representatives of foundations and aid agencies from around the world explored how to strengthen the global infrastructure of community philanthropy, develop regional networks, support innovative projects and build the knowledge base.

  • Amy Kirschenbaum, Gabriela Boyer and Jenny Petrow of the IAF joined representatives from three partner organizations in Mexico, Brazil and the Dominican Republic to lead Philanthropy Action: Perspectives from the South, a roundtable discussion at the annual conference of Grant-makers without Borders in California in September. The discussion explored the role of foundations in developing countries in the transition from charity to support for grassroots.

Strategic Plan The Inter-American Foundation Fiscal 2013–2017


Promoting and investing in grassroots development to help communities thrive.


Thriving communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, where people direct their own lives as individuals and citizens.

Strategic Goal One:

Support the coordinated efforts of the poor to improve their material circumstances, strengthen their organizations, and enhance the social and economic environment for citizen-led community development.

Strategic Goal Two:

Promote the social inclusion and civic participation of traditionally marginalized groups.

Strategic Goal Three:

Make knowledge-generation and knowledge-management an integral part of our work, informing new approaches for smarter investments by IAF and others.

Strategic Goal Four:

Increase awareness and understanding of, and support for, the IAF and its programs among key audiences in order to draw more resources into grassroots development.

Strategic Goal Five:

Modernize and strengthen operations.