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The Board of Directors of the US-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership (BPP) meets in Ciudad Juarez

Posted on February 22, 2016

The Board of Directors of the US-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership (BPP) meets in Ciudad Juarez

• On January 7, the BPP convened a panel discussion with major foundations from El Paso and Juarez • On 8 January, the BPP Board held its first meeting of the year at the BECC

The U.S.- Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership convened foundations and civil society organizations to an event to discuss lessons learned and perspectives of philanthropy for the binational region. The event "Foundation Perspectives on Philanthropy for the Border Region" was held last January 7 at the Museum of the Revolution in the Border (MUREF, for its name in Spanish) an historic building that housed the Mexican Customs offices during the presidency of Porfirio Diaz. In 1909, this building witnessed the first visit by a US president, William Taft, to Mexico, invited by President Diaz, a year before the Mexican Independence in 1910. Also May 1911 the Treaties of Ciudad Juárez were signed in this building, which led to end the revolutionary struggle led by Francisco I. Madero that ended the government of Diaz, who immediately immigrated to France aboard the Ypiranga where he later died. 

The BPP is a binational organization that supports a network of organizations working to build prosperity through leadership, collaboration and philanthropy along the US-Mexico border region. It is the only organization dedicated to promoting philanthropy in the border area with a binational Board of Directors. Since 2008 when it was created, the BPP has offered education and training opportunities to more than 7,000 staff and volunteer leaders of civil society organizations along the border region. Likewise, it has supported strategic planning processes and provided organizational coaching to hundreds of philanthropic and nonprofit organizations. Andy Carey, executive director of the BPP noted that this event is a celebration of border philanthropy, in addition to further promote the culture of philanthropy and plan BPP's work in 2016.

At the event "Foundation Perspectives on Philanthropy for the Border Region" six major El Paso and Juarez foundations discussed their vision for 2016 and shared what they have learned from their work as grantmaking foundations.The panel was moderated by Robert Aschcraft, BPP Board Chair, who is also Associate Professor of nonprofit studies at ASU's School of Community Resources and Development. The panelists were Consuelo Caraveo, Board Member of Foundation Rosario Campos de Fernandez, Jesus Abrego, Board Chair of Fundacion Comunitaria de la Frontera Norte, John Law, President of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, Hector Jurado, Board Chair of the Fundación del Empresariado Chihuahuense (FECHAC), Eric Pearson, President of the El Paso Community Foundation and Veronica Jimenez, Director of Fundacion Pedro Zaragoza.

In his welcome remarks, Francisco Solis, BPP's Immediate Past Chair said that philanthropy  "is unconditional love" and seeks to build a more equitable and just society. Meanwhile, Karen Yarza, BPP Board member stressed that the BPP has advanced its work "vanishing borders and helping to strengthen the capacities of nonprofit organizations."

This was followed by Karen Yarza who was one of the founding members and told the audience that she has witnessed “a significant evolution of the organization, transitioning from a 100 percent dependency on grants in 2009, to only 30 percent today." She also said that the BPP has grown from 18 to over 200 members. 

The panelists described their foundation's mission. Their missions varied from funding nutrition initiatives to supporting long-term solutions to improve the well-being of vulnerable groups or increasing community health.  All foundations also shared learned lessons. Panelists highlighted:
• The community foundation movement in Mexico is relatively new with just over 20 foundations; in contrast, there are more than 770 in the US.
• Foundations should have well-defined geographical area of focus.
• They must have total autonomy, good governance practices and assure measurable results for their donors.
• They must be led by board and staff with high moral standing. 
• Foundations must partner with other organizations to increase impact in their communities.
• They should drive social change through education. 
• Foundations should influence public policies to achieve a more equitable human development.
• By working on family asset building, foundation improve family relations and reduce violence and addictions in the most vulnerable population.

Maria Elena Giner, General Manager of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) and BPP Board member, mentioned that both the organization she leads and the BPP are binational in their mandate and structure. In her closing remarks, Giner highlighted "the importance of philanthropy to change the world," noting the three pillars of the partnership are building networks, fostering leadership, increasing philanthropy for a more equitable society."  Giner highlighted the key points made by panelists for effective philanthropy include identifying a need, defining a project scope that reconciles the local perspectives and leverages visions and consequently funds from various organizations and a good governance practice measures impacts in a transparent process.

In an interview, Hector Jurado, Chair of FECHAC said that "for us, collaboration with the BPP is a strategic, since we share the most important Mexican border and issues on both sides are similar, so we need to support each other to address them by sharing knowledge and experiences that will help us provide better answers as a society," he concluded.

The Board meeting of the Border Philanthropy Partnership was held on January 8, in the Paquimé room at the BECC offices where the Board reviewed its work plan for 2016 and defined key indicators and targets. Among them, maintaining a 90% member retention rate and increasing membership, while offering six binational meetings in both countries.

To watch a video on the work of the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership, use the following link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QBOhhF4sTs&feature=youtu.be




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