Our Approach: Partnership

When it comes to changing the world, no one can do it alone. But all too often, the people and institutions working to solve global challenges operate in isolation, leaving community needs unmet and donor dollars underutilized.

At Partners of the Americas, our approach is different. We bring the right mix of players — volunteers, development professionals, governments, businesses, and civil society institutions — to the table in order to match resources, knowledge, and passion to need. By connecting local organizations to broader funding opportunities and empowering citizens to become agents of change, we develop lasting solutions to our hemisphere’s toughest challenges, together.

It’s the simple notion of partnership, and we believe it can change everything.

Letter from the President & Board Chair

Over this past year, Partners of the Americas has harnessed the power of partnerships to empower citizens to become agents of change. We have strengthened our legacy and bolstered our impact: we reached 100 chapters with many celebrating 50 years of service, expanded our Child Protection Unit to combat child labor and forced labor in the palm oil sector, kicked off a new round of Farmer-to-Farmer that will field over 600 volunteers in six countries, and launched professional development seminars for U.S. exchange alumni. Throughout all of this, Partners endures as an engine for connecting passion with human need.

This was also a time of honing our vision as an organization that does not just connect people across borders, but also within them. We create synergy by bringing together diverse communities across the hemisphere through exchanges and partnerships, while also responding to unique local needs through our development programs. Completing a process in 2019 of strategic planning that will result in our Strategic Plan 2019-2023, we will continue to focus on how we can reinvent ourselves from a good organization to a great one.

Concurrently, Partners remains true to the immense purpose that President John F. Kennedy inspired almost 55 years ago, building people-to-people connections to better our world. We continue to epitomize the core values of education and global citizenship, child protection, and economic development and health.

At Partners, we have seen how lasting connections have provided classroom heaters for children in Chile and taught refugees how to read in Brazil, along with so many other life-changing partnerships. We hope you will once again join Partners as we remain unwavering in our dedication to serve communities throughout the Western Hemisphere.

100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund

Partners: U.S. Department of State and NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Innovation Fund Grants fuel strategic higher education partnerships to increase student exchange and training programs between the Americas. Through a dynamic collaboration with the U.S. Department of State, the private sector, nonprofits, and foundations, we are building a hemisphere of students ready to compete and thrive in the 21st-century workforce.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • $4.8 Million in Grants Awarded
  • 362 Higher Education Institutions
  • 25 Countries and 42 U.S. States
  • 2,100+ Students Studied Abroad

Length of Program: 2014 - Present

Capacity Building Grants

Partner: U.S. Department of State

Capacity Building Grants provide needed resources and know-how to U.S. universities and colleges trying to lower barriers to study abroad. We are expanding diversity in study abroad globally by broadening the number of students who participate in exchange programs as well as the destinations and disciplines in which they study.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • 36 Countries Received Students
  • $1.3M in Grants Awarded
  • 29 U.S. Colleges & Universities
  • 370+ Students Have Studied Abroad

Length of Program: 2014 - 2018

U.S. Alumni Network and Capacity Building Program

Partner: U.S. Department of State

In a new partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, we offer new opportunities to help alumni of U.S. government-sponsored international exchange programs leverage the unique skills they developed during their time abroad through the Career Connections professional development seminars.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • 3-Year Program Aiming to Launch 12 Seminars Across the United States Targeting up to 1,000+ Exchange Alumni

Length of Program: 2018 - Present

Youth Ambassadors

Partner: U.S. Department of State

The Youth Ambassadors Program (YA) strengthens mutual understanding, awareness, and cooperation between the people of North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean by promoting and developing exchanges throughout the Western Hemisphere. We strive to close the opportunity gap and ensure our youth are equipped to meaningfully contribute to their communities.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • 9,102 Youth
  • 20 Countries
  • 80+ Follow-on Service Projects

Length of Program: 2002 - 2018

Education & Culture

Partner: U.S. Department of State

We provide our network with the opportunity to be immersed in a new culture, learn a new language, and share knowledge and ideas through travel exchanges, teacher-in-residence, and small project assistance grants. This program is designed to engage volunteers, civic and community leaders, NGOs, educators, social entrepreneurs, and professionals throughout the Western Hemisphere to share inspiring practices, design community solutions, and build long-lasting relationships.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • 2,100 Professional Exchange
  • 25 Countries
  • 490 Community Project Grants Awarded
  • 20,000 Volunteers
  • 45+ Regional Workshops

Length of Program: 1983 - Present


Partner: U.S. Department of Labor

Since 2012, we have been combating child labor among the most vulnerable populations in Ecuador and Panama. Through a holistic approach, we offer children and youth education services and alternative income-generating opportunities for households. Activities include coordinating actions among key stakeholders and raising awareness to promote the importance of education and the risks and consequences of child labor among Afro-descendant, indigenous, and migrant populations in both countries.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • 6,183 Children and Youth Aged 5-17 Enrolled
  • 1,758 Beneficiary Households

Length of Program: 2012 - 2018

Paraguay Okakuaa

Partners: U.S. Department of Labor, the Paraguayan Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security, Fundación ALDA (ALDA), and Fundación Comunitaria Centro de Información y Recursos para el Desarrollo (CIRD)

We support Paraguay in its efforts to reduce the worst forms of child labor, combat forced labor, and improve labor law compliance and working conditions, with particular focus on the departments of Guairá and Boquerón. The project seeks to strengthen the effectiveness of the labor inspection system, increase coordination among different institutions in order to combat child labor, and provide educational and vocational training to keep children in school and away from hazardous working conditions.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • 999 Children Aged 5-10 Enrolled
  • 2,323 Youth Aged 11-17 Enrolled
  • 1,218 Beneficiary Households

Length of Program: 2015 - Present

Colombia Avanza

Partners: U.S. Department of Labor, International Initiative to End Child Labor (IIECL), National Federation of Coffee Growers (FEDECAFE), Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), and Ministry of Labor

We seek to improve the capacity of civil society to better understand and address child labor and promote acceptable conditions of work in Colombia’s coffee sector. The project has a tripartite approach, focusing on improving the ability of civil society to identify and document accurate, independent, and objective information on the nature and scope of child labor and labor violations in the coffee sector, as well as improving the capacity of civil society to raise awareness.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • Mou Signed with National Federation of Coffee Growers
  • 4 Workshops
  • 1 Awareness-Raising Campaign
  • 2 Civil Society Organization Partners Fighting Against Child Labor: Cafisur in Tolima and Cadefihuila in Huila

Length of Program: 2017 - Present

Implementing a Culture of Labor Compliance in Costa Rica's Agricultural Exporting Sector

Partners: U.S. Department of Labor, Fundación para la Paz y la Democracia (FUNPADEM) (Prime), Ministry of Labor & Social Security (MTSS)

We are working to improve the enforcement of minimum wage, hours of work, and occupational safety and health (OSH) laws in the agricultural export sector in Costa Rica through the strengthening of effective mechanisms to complement, create, and strengthen legal instruments and administrative procedures to promote a sustainable labor law compliance culture.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • 1 Consultancy to develop a labor inspection protocol for the MTSS

Length of Program: 2017 - Present

Asegurando La Educación

Partners: United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI) (Prime)

We seek to mitigate school-based violence (SBV) while improving student academic performance, school enrollment rates, transition students into secondary education, and increase secondary completion rates. We implement its sports-for-development methodology, Programa de Aprendizaje Socioemocional (PASE), providing quality life skills and technical training to youth in Honduras’s vulnerable communities.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • 1 Training of Trainers (TOT) Workshop in Honduras

Length of Program: 2017 - Present

A Ganar

Partners: ESPN, Colombianitos, Street Soccer Mexico, The Resource Foundation

We implement A Ganar in Bogotá and Mexico City with funding from ESPN and support from local community partners. A Ganar is Partners’ award-winning sport-for-development program that combats youth unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean using team sports. At-risk youth acquire marketable job expertise by building on six core sport-based skills: teamwork, communication, discipline, respect, results, and continual self-improvement.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • 3,200+ Youth
  • 5 Countries: Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Barbados, and Bolivia

Length of Program: 2015 - 2018


2013 – 2018

Partner: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

We have implemented the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program since 1991. F2F seeks to generate rapid, sustainable, and broad-based food security and economic growth in the agricultural sector through volunteer technical assistance. From 2013-2018, Partners’ F2F program recruited highly skilled U.S.-based volunteers to train farmers, producers, cooperatives, agribusinesses, NGOs, and educational institutions in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • 503 Volunteer Assignments
  • 22,130 People Trained or Assisted
  • $2.1M Increase in Host Annual Income (Aggregated)
  • 555,000 Indirect Beneficiaries Impacted

Length of Program: 1991 - 2018


2018 – 2023

Partner: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Our Farmer-to-Farmer Program connects specialized volunteers from the United States with farmers, cooperatives, agribusinesses, government agencies, and other international institutions throughout the Western Hemisphere and Burma to provide technical assistance and instruction on practical interventions that impact income, improve food production and farm operations, help small-holder farmers gain access to markets, and more.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • 5-Year Program Aiming to Train 610 Volunteers in 6 Countries, Including Jamaica, Colombia, Guyana, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Burma.

Length of Program: 2018 - Present

Agricultural Volunteer Opportunity Project

Partners: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

AVOP serves two primary functions. First, it provides knowledge management services to the eight Farmer-to-Farmer implementing organizations, which include offering seminars, organizing annual meetings, and managing the Farmer-to-Farmer website. Second, the project manages a sub-award program to build the capacity of new organizations to implement innovative Farmer-to-Farmer small grant programs.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • 1 Competition Held
  • 21 Submissions for First Small Grant Competition

Length of Program: 2018 - Present


Ranfòse Abitid Nitrisyon Pou Fè Ogmante Sante

Partner: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

The RANFOSE program aims to address micronutrient deficiencies in Haiti by increasing the availability of high-quality fortified foods throughout the country. Our strategy uses a multipronged, participatory approach to identify major constraints and target key stakeholders in the public sector, private sector, and civil society to stimulate a sustainable national program for fortified staple foods.

Project Impact by the Numbers:

  • 7-8.5M People Have Consumed Fortified Food
  • 3,000 People Have Been Reached Through Fairs and Workshops
  • 8 Trainings on Fortified Food Benefits
  • 5 Industries Fortifying Wheat Flour, Vegetable Oil, and Salt with Micronutriments

Length of Program: 2017 - Present

What Works 2018

Partners of the Americas held its fourth annual What Works Conference in December 2018. For four days, 115 change-agents gathered from 27 chapters and eight countries to strengthen inter-institutional partnerships and power greater connectivity across the Partners network. By coming together to learn, share, and connect, participants engaged in the year’s theme, Juntos Podemos. The Texas-Perú-México Chapter hosted the Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Ruth E. Benjamin-Wardle Fund

In loving memory of Ruth E. Benjamin-Wardle, her husband and Partners of the Americas Board Member, Francis Wardle, established a scholarship fund. The donations given in her name will support our PartnersCampus students to further their cultural and economic exchanges, especially as expressed through writing and literature, one of Ruth and Francis’s missions. Ruth was known by many for her love of her family, quiet confidence, and being at peace with the world.

In 2018, five of our 100 Chapters celebrated 50 years of connecting, serving, and changing lives. These partnerships are a tribute to who we are as an organization, one that after 54 years has only heightened our ever-expanding impact throughout the Western Hemisphere. As more Chapters reach 50 years of partnerships, we further entrench our legacy of empowerment.


The Kansas-Paraguay Chapter and the Comité Paraguay Kansas commemorated 50 years of changing lives during three events. The Kansas-Paraguay Chapter held a celebration in Kansas with the Paraguayan Ambassador to the U.S. in April. Partners President and CEO John McPhail joined the Chapters at the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay in June to celebrate 50 years of partnership and the 242nd year of U.S. independence. In September, the Chapters with Partners D.C. staff celebrated at the Embassy of Paraguay in Washington, D.C. with the Paraguayan Ambassador. Over their 50 years, the Chapters have implemented agricultural and health programs, youth exchange programs, cultural programs, and emergency relief support programs.

West Virginia-Espírito Santo, Brazil

Throughout five decades, the West Virginia Chapter and the Comitê de Espíritu Santo have championed higher education, working closely with West Virginia University, Marshall University, the University of Charleston, and a variety of public education school systems. Today, the West Virginia Chapter is more diverse than ever with engagement from higher and public education, the legal community, local and state governments, the arts and cultural communities, and a plethora of ordinary citizens interested in promoting an open and knowledgeable global community.

Georgia-Pernambuco, Brazil

In November, the President of the Georgia Chapter, Sharon Anderson, and Pernambuco Chapter President, Tibério Monteiro, met with the Acting Governor of Pernambuco, Brazil in honor of 50 years of partnership. Georgia and Pernambuco celebrated their legacy of the historic Friendship Force flights between Atlanta and Recife that facilitated economic and cultural exchanges for approximately 3,500 Pernambucans and Georgians. In recent years, the Chapters have mobilized volunteers to promote youth training and civic engagement.

Washington, D.C.-Brasília, Brazil

Over the past 50 years, the Washington, D.C.-Brasília Chapter and the Comitê de Brasília Chapter have engaged in a wide variety of two-way cultural, educational and development exchanges in areas such as: teacher education, ethics and character education, youth leadership, disability rights, art and culture, HIV/AIDS, and drug prevention. In recent years, the Chapters have worked with the United States Embassy in Brazil to celebrate International Education Day.

Maine-Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

The Maine Chapter celebrated 50 years of partnership with the Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil Chapter, alongside Partners President and CEO John McPhail and other distinguished guests in Yarmouth, Maine in July. Volunteers have accomplished such initiatives as constructing wells in drought-stricken areas and providing education and cultural exchanges. More recently, the Chapters have focused on promoting social justice through a domestic violence project and conducting cultural exchanges through visiting art exhibitions.

Higher Education Partnership Conference 2018

International educators, administrators, and stakeholders convened from across the Americas to attend the 2018 Higher Education Partnership Conference in Cartagena, Colombia from September 24-27, 2018. Over 200 participants from eight countries and 103 higher education institutions came together to strengthen and build new partnerships. The Conference featured keynote speakers Juan Camilo Castro Salcedo, the Legal Director Andean Region at DIRECTV Colombia, as well as Adriana Gaviria Duque, the Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in Colombia.

The 2018 Higher Education Partnership Conference focused on how innovation and technology are being applied to expand access, lower costs, and improve outcomes of international education. Sub-themes included Innovations in Collaboration, Peace Building and Inclusion Through Internationalization, and Multicultural and Multilingual Education. In a uniquely engaging format, the Conference provided a participative, interactive experience in which attendees shared their own expertise and learned directly from their peers from other countries.

Chartered Chapters

By Year of Founding

Board of Directors

Partners of the Americas, Inc.

2018 Financial Statement

Donors & Strategic Partners

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