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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Partners of the Americas, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Improvement & Capacity Building, International, International Exchange, Mutual & Membership Benefit, Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Charity & Voluntarism Promotion

Mission: Partners of the Americas connects people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships. Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964 under the Alliance for Progress, Partners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC.

Results: The Partners Network is comprised of volunteers and development professionals who are committed to serving others. For 50 years, our partnerships have been built around the core structure of chapters in countries and states that form north/south partnerships. In addition, we form inter-institutional partnerships between northern and southern universities, development agencies and civic organizations. As an official trilingual organization (English, Spanish, Portuguese), we have built leaders that have gone on to contribute in a visionary way throughout the Western Hemisphere, and have created partnerships of unlikely bedfellows while maintaining deep and historic ties to the government.

Target demographics: connect people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships

Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 20,000 individuals and organizations share their skills and work toward greater international cooperation among the people of the Western Hemisphere

Geographic areas served: Latin America, the Caribbean, and the US

Programs: Agriculture and Food Security; Sport for Development; Youth and Children; Higher Education; Climate Change and Environmental Protection; Professional Leadership Exchanges; Civil Society and Governance; and Women and Gender Equality.

Community Stories

30 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3 Liz De La V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Partners is an organization that helps and is committed to the development of volunteering that connects with the Americas, as a volunteer to helped personal growth and the development of different skills that serve for life, as well as connecting with more people who are volunteering in different countries which gives a broad vision of how to impact from the different projects that each group carries out and thus connect, serve and change lives more than an organization is a family.

1 Cathy H.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteers in Partners of the Americas connect, serve, and change lives. There are as many ways to make good things happen as there are individuals who belong. Partners’ strength is it embraces flexibility and has faith—based on experience—that ripples from service will impact others.

Partners has given me a world of friendships. I’ve been able to serve, and I’ve changed many lives, including my own.

Here’s a taste of how Partners’ three-part mission works:

John Beattie, a retiree in the Colorado Chapter of Partners of the Americas, wanted to improve the English and teaching skills of public-school, K-12 teachers in their counterpart chapter in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The problem: English is a required part of the curriculum there, but few teachers are fluent.

A “skunkworks” personality, John piloted a solution: He motivated his chapter to build a program, which lasted until COVID. Every July (summer vacation in Brazilian schools), 14 teachers flew to Colorado, lived with families, and learned the local community college’s latest teaching techniques. Colorado Partners did deep pocket fund-raising; they paid the college professors and paid for plane tickets for the teachers when needed.

How could lives not be changed? One example: Marcîa Pinheiro, an ELL teacher from Brasília, was accepted for the University of Brasília’s highly competitive Masters in Applied Linguistics degree, now completed. Another: John recruited an ELL expert from the University of Northern Colorado to join the chapter. Soon, Professor Tom Griggs traveled to Minas Gerais to give ELL workshops on a Partners Travel Grant. When he retired, Tom spent last year as a visiting professor at a university in Minas Gerais.

Some volunteers thrive when they carefully create an enduring structure such as the annual Brazilian Film Festival that Illinois-Sāo Paulo State chapters sponsor. Other volunteers use their expertise to educate others, such as Denise Decker, Ph.D. in the DC-Brasília Partners. Denise has been blind since birth. Guide dogs are crucial to her mobility and have been a powerful reinforcement to her lectures on inclusion for chapters in the US and Brazil.

Inspired by President John Kennedy, Partners of the Americas was founded as the people-to-people component of the Alliance for Progress. More than 50 years later, it has evolved from the original concept of linking a US state to a Latin American country (or US state-to-Brazilian State.) Now Partners is more multi-lateral, with volunteers across chapters collaborating in projects with common interests.

I’ve been involved with Partners for more than 30 years and belong to the DC-Brasilia chapter. My pleasure and skill are to inspire teams that open opportunities for others here and there “organically,” meaning one action opens other possibilities, and so on. Our chapters’ most impactful project started when a fellow Partner and I organized a talk by a visiting TV morning show host from Brazil to DC teachers during a day-long workshop arranged by the National Geographic Society. He wowed them.

That led to DC and Brasilia exchanging four groups each of low-income students who earned their way by doing community service projects — with the chapters doing a lot of fund-raising. All, I believe, met with the US Ambassador in Brazil.

At some point, the US Embassy in Brazil started a Youth Ambassadors program for low-income English language students who had to do community service. Now the US State Department’s Youth Ambassadors program was operating, pre-COVID, in at least nine countries.

Most recently, volunteers from multiple chapters, both in the North and South, have been recruiting and training K-12 teachers to incorporate global exchanges into their required curriculum. We are working with the staff at Partners and the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN).

For a fitting “connecting-serving-changing lives” finale: I heard about iEARN when I became a founding member of Patagonia-Montana Partners. (Story for another time.) The first Patagonian Partners teacher that I met was an English-language instructor in a public high school who used iEARN projects in her classes. Today she is the retired director of educational technology for the Organization of American States, and we are still close friends.

Isadora R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I voluntereed for the Partners of the Americas Student Chapter in Goiás for 2 and half years , first as International Officer and then elected president and coordinating project "Be Welcome". In Goiânia we had 5 different projects focused on the Partners of the Americas mission "Development through Empowerment": Portuguese classes for refugees, development of female empowerment, an English club to practice the English language, dance and meditation for transgender people and reading for needy children. By volunteering for POA, I earned experience on working in different places with people from all over the world and I truly believe in learning with the differences and cooperating. I am very grateful for my experience with Partners of the Americas and for the lessons I have learned during my time there.

5 Nicolas Arizaga

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My relationship with Partners of the Americas and its chapters started about ten years ago when I participated in the U.S. Dept. of State and Partners’ Youth Ambassadors Program. That same year, I volunteered as a mentor for the American Youth Ambassadors that visited Cuenca, Ecuador. I helped the Cuenca Chapter host an English Professor from the Idaho Chapter on a Travel Grant. While at the University of Wyoming in 2016, I co-founded the University of Wyoming Student Chapter (PCUW). I have been its vice-president, president, and institutional advisor. Internationally, as PCUW president, I promoted the Partners Campus International Network in a couple of conferences with the PC Alumni Network. Additionally, I worked with the Wyoming Chapter to facilitate an international education and culture program for five PC chapters. I am currently an active member of the Colorado Chapter. Partners is an organization that has changed my life and challenged my leadership skills.

Angelic A.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Being part of Partners of the Americas has given me the opportunity to develop my soft skills, develop myself in areas that I did not know, help others, and grow as a person. Now that I am the president of my chapter, it has taught me to take responsibility for others, encourage them to develop in this organization, and create lasting connections.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Hi, my name is Elias Alcocer-Puerto. I want to tell you that "Compañeros de las Américas" (Partners of the Americas) is an organization that has positively changed my life. I knew "Compañeros" almost 30 year ago. I was a young man looking for an orientation in his life, and I found it in the work we do at "Compañeros". I was born and live in Yucatán, México, and I´m an Anthropologist and Ecologist, and that has allowed me to know and live now in a Mayan community, in which I can do many things from the local, to be able later to impact the global. And that´s what Compañeros does well. It encourage us to work within our own places, solving our problems ourselves, and at the same time, connecting with other groups and other people who can help us to better solve our own problems. Local chapters work well as they help us to interact and find joint solutions to problems. Now that I am part of the Board of Directors of POA, I represent my Country and now my gold is to help more people and groups of people know the work methodology of our organization, and help them to continue working to solve the problems that we have as a society. All througt teamwork from all contries of our "Continente de América". Gracias

Board Member

Rating: 5

When I joined Partners of the Americas through one of their student chapters in Central America I purely joined because of my desire to serve my community. After joining I loved Partners structure, mission and its vision. This organization really connects, serve and change lives through their volunteers, members, affiliates, students, staff and board.
It's really comforting to be part of this organization, to know their work and be able to cooperate with their different projects in Latin America such as abolishing child labor, helping farmers, students and youth professional and personal development.

I've been part of the Partners family for 7 years and plan to continue supporting them for many years. They've certainly touched my heart and I strongly recommend everyone to join.

Paul R.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hola,

Reciban un cordial saludo desde Chiclayo, Perú.
La experiencia obtenida con Partners of the Americas es realmente enriquecedora porque permite conectar con diversos líderes alrededor del mundo, quienes vienen trabajando en diversas organizaciones sin fines de lucro. Además, Partners contribuye al desarrollo del potencial humano de las personas y las organizaciones como Red Espaz Peru que funciona como un capítulo afiliado, y busca promover la cultura de paz y no-violencia a nivel nacional e internacional.

Gracias a Partners podemos garantizar el crecimiento personal y profesional de nuestros aproximadamente 10 mil seguidores que buscan fortalecer los lazos de compañerismo y trabajo en equipo con el objetivo de conectar, servir y transformar vidas.

Atentamente,
Paul Rivera

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first found out about Partners of the Americas when I was a recipient of the International Fellowship in Community Development, which Partners administered through a grant from the Kellogg Foundation. This fellowship was offered each year for 5 years, and because of its success, extended another 5 years! Each year applicants were selected through a rigorous process – 20 fellows from the US and 20 from the rest of the hemisphere. This fellowship expanded my understanding of how leaders volunteering at the community level can learn and grow from each other across the hemisphere by sharing tools and experiences, and through their collaboration, effect real and lasting change. After that experience, I became involved in my local chapter in Washington DC and its partner chapter in Brasilia, Brazil. I eventually became the President of the DC Chapter, and gained valuable cross cultural and leadership skills. The Portuguese I learned in classes provided by the fellowship have served me well in my global health career during work trips to Brazil and Mozambique. During the years I was president of the DC chapter, we initiated a youth leadership exchange between low income high schools in DC and Brasilia. We called it the Ambassadors of Hope Youth Leadership Exchange Project. I had the honor of helping plan and leading five exchange trips. It was a labor of love. I am still in contact with young people I hosted in my home, took on congressional visits, and hosted a halloween party for them (their first ever!). Then later in the year we visited them, were hosted in their homes, visited their schools, and learned about their country’s history. It became personal. It is heartwarming to know that I still have standing invitations to be hosted in Brazil! More importantly, 10 years later, it is wonderful to see how these young people are maturing into leaders.
Fast forward to 2020 – I am now living in Oregon and active in the zoom calls between the Oregon chapter and its partner chapter in Costa Rica. I have joined the Partners Board of Directors this year and am proud to give back to an organization that has given me, and so others, so much depth to our human experience. Partners of the Americas breaks down barriers and saves lives through these people to people connections.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Partners as a board member for over 2 years and have witnessed first hand the wonderful work that the organization is doing across South and Central America and the Caribbean, often in difficult circumstances. I have personally visited project sites in South America where many children who were caught up in child labor, are now in schools or after school programs receiving education and nutritious meals. The work that Partners of the Americas is doing in agriculture, economic development, health and higher education is also making a deep impact in the lives of some of the most vulnerable communities in the Americas. I believe that Partner's mission and vision of social development through local community partnerships is the best way to impact sustainable and culturally appropriate change and is more relevant in todays’ geo-political climate than ever before.

1 Gary L H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of Partners of the Americas for more than 40 years. I have continued as a member although I have lived in six U.S. states and seven other countries because the organization has helped me with my career and personal goals. In addition to getting to work with people all over the hemisphere and the U.S. it has provided great professional opportunities in the U.S. and many other places. With the exception of the organization for which I worked even longer this is the longest I have been associated with any single organization.

Vander F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Im Volunteer of Partners of the Americas since 2015
My experiences has been beyond wonderful. From getting to know new people to understanding better different realities around Latin America, Partners has touched my life since the very first day, and I can ensure it has been the same for every single person directly or indirectly related to Partners.

Matthew Lee J.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The concept of Partners of the Americas, came about at a time when the United States of America, was embarking on many new frontiers. At the time John F. Kennedy, was the second youngest elected president of the U.S.A., and he famously stated in his inaugural address “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” challenged every American to contribute in some way to the public good. One of many positive outcomes of this encouragement is the grass roots organization of Partners of the Americas.

As a 28 year member of the organization, I’ve taken part in the dreams of President Kennedy, and the Alliance for Progress, by participating in development projects, health initiatives, and educational empowerment, in the Western Hemisphere to advance cooperation and cultural understanding. Partners, has presented me with multiple opportunities to learn and gain skills to serve my community, country, and other regions which I travel, embodying the mission to “Connect, Serve, and Change Lives.” The network of volunteers which have been assembled over its 57 year history is legendary and continues to be exemplary.

Board Member

Rating: 5

With a small paid central staff, Partners of the Americas relies on thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas to carry out community improvement projects and establish long-term friendships between northern and southern chapters. Because they know each other well, the members of these chapters can focus their efforts where they are most needed. Major Partners programs include farmers sharing earth-friendly productivity techniques, teaching job skills through sports to low-income youth, and reducing child labor by teaching alternative and higher value agricultural activities as well as implementing supportive educational programming for families that rely on that labor for their economic well-being. Chapter to chapter exchanges share professional knowledge and resources in health, emergency management, education, the arts, leadership, literacy, economic development and other areas of endeavor. In the COVID era in 2020, Partners has established multiple ways to stay in touch and meet virtually, which will expand opportunities for better and enduring relationships that will be valuable for decades into the future. Partners was started in 1964 as part of the Alliance for Progress, and continues to this day to focus on people-to-people interactions as the key to citizen diplomacy and the improvement of life in the Americas for all.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first become involved with Partners of the Americas when I was asked to design and build a playground for a children's program in Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais, Brazil. This was a very challenging and exciting endeavor. Ever since that experience, I have fallen in love with the country of Brazil: its people, churches, music, waterfalls, and quaint, baroque towns. I have returned to Brazil on many exchanges, and hosted Brazilian volunteers in my home in Denver. My experience as a volunteer with Partners of the Americas has greatly expanded my deep understanding of all things Brazilian. But it has also helped me understand the rich history and culture of the US. Partners of the Americans empowers volunteers to use their own strengths, gifts, and passions to contribute to an organization that directly and indirectly impacts the lives of many people throughout the Americas, including and not the least, the volunteers themselves.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am Dr. Denise M. Decker, a member of Partners of the Americas (PoA) since 1989. I first learned of PoA through working in international development, but was particularly drawn to this nonprofit due to its outreach to people with disabilities throughout Latin America. As I am and have been vision-impaired since birth, I wanted to share in this outreach. Unlike some other non-profits which can be reluctant to accept people with disabilities, PoA is and has always been welcoming. I therefore applied to and was selected for PoA Kellogg and Legis fellowships where I led a design team to create and independent living center in Brasilia and consulted with the guide dog school in Santa Catarina, Brazil. I have also held various officer positions in both the Virginia and Washington, DC chapters and currently serve on the PoA International Board of Directors, where I advocate on behalf of people with disabilities and co-chair the Membership Development Committee. I am honored to recommend Partners of the Americas as a 2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit.

4 Patricia97

Client Served

Rating: 5

Their help and guidance have been most useful for my work. With their enthusiasm and professionalism Partners of the Americas has reminded me why it is that I work on this field and how important it is what we do ... we DO make a difference in people's lives!!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Initiative 100,000 Strong in the Americas help our indigenous students and faculty to have the opportunity to collaborate in equal terms with their partners in US Universities, because of this excellent program, they have the opportunity to educate in the most prestigious institutions, participate in health programs, do research stays and collaborate in academic exchanges at undergraduate and graduate level. We understand each other better because we know each other better, and this is possible because of 100,000 Strong in the Americas.

Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo, México.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My name is Andy Carey, and I am Executive Director of the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership. I have had the pleasure to work closely with my colleagues at Partners of the Americas for the past four years. The Board and staff team is dedicated, passionate, and determined to achieve their mission. Partners of the Americas works closely with local organizations across the Americas to engage youth and volunteers in discovering transformative ways to improve and stengthen local communities. Their efforts in Cd. Juarez alone engaged thousands of young people in new programs aimed to prevent violence and drug trafficking. I am honored to work with them, and proud to call them colleagues and friends. Their approach is local and collaborative. I strongly encouurage you to support their efforts. You won't be disappointed.

2 Kevin92

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity of being part of one of Partners of the Americas' programs, It changed my life for good for ever, now I'm a better and committed person.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Partners of the Americas-PoA- me ha permitido construir lazos con voluntarios y organizaciones de voluntariado en más de 15 países de América, Europa y Africa por medio de su programa de Jóvenes Embajadores, así mismo me ha permitido crecer, aprender y multiplicar mi impacto como voluntario a través de la Red2021, plataforma de voluntariado de la cual hago parte (http://www.partners.net/partners/RED2021.asp#.U7YhLPl5PC8).
Thanks Partners of the Americas, You make it happen!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Partners of the Americas es realmente una organización que cumple día a día y con cada uno de sus proyectos la misión de conectar, servir y cambiar vidas. Fui parte del programa Youth Ambassadors en el año 2008, un programa maravilloso que cambio mi percepción del mundo. Esta organización ofrece valiosas oportunidades para cambiar vidas y generar impacto positivo en las comunidades.

Como voluntaria hago parte de RED2021 https://www.facebook.com/red2021

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I consider that is a great opportunity for Latin American Universities to increase it mobility with USA Universities. I consider that Obama`s initiative it a great start for increase bicultural interchange.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Conozco a Partners of the Americas hace unos 5 años, su misión y trabajo han sido realmente una fuente de inspiración para mi y las organizaciones en las que trabajo, para multiplicar las acciones voluntarias con la misma fuerza. Conectar, servir e impactar vidas es claramente un estilo de vida por el que vale la pena seguir luchando.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Me gusta la misión de Partners porque ayuda a potencializar el talento de cada voluntario. Me siento orgulloso de poder ser parte de la familia de Partners of The Americas.

Como voluntario apoyo a la Red2021 (https://www.facebook.com/red2021) en el área de comunicación y difusión de contenidos

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with Partners of the Americas has been excellent to say the least. I have learned something new everyday about the nonprofit business as well as leadership skills that will prove to be forever useful. Working directly with staff members as well as President & CEO Steve Vetter made for an incredible experience both professionally and personally.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I connected with Partners first as an intern for the President's Office, next as a Communications Fellow, and then as a volunteer. This is where I first got my feet wet in DC and since then - and definitely as a result of my experiences with Partners - I've gone on to hold several meaningful and fulfilling positions. The relationships that I established with Partners' staff proved invaluable to me as I developed my professional network and learned marketable skills. Even more importantly, Partners is a place where I made some wonderful friends.

The staff at Partners are kind and passionate, interns' feedback is valued, and dedication and intellectual curiosity are rewarded with progressive responsibilities. I look forward to continuing my relationship with Partners, and would recommend an internship or volunteer position with the organization to any young professional with an interest in Latin America, social justice, or international development in DC.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was an intern at Partners of the Americas from June 2012-April 2013. Throughout my time there, I was learned so much about the work Partners does (and has been doing for 50 years) to connect, serve, and truly change lives here in the U.S. and across the hemisphere. The staff are passionate about the work they do, dedicated to the mission of the organization, and were always willing to connect with me and help me figure out my own professional development goals, as well as support me in taking on projects I was interested in during my internship experience. The Communications team is AMAZING -- always working hard to get the word out about this great organization and bringing together volunteers, international program participants, and chapters through powerful stories and testimonials.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned at Partners of the Americas during spring 2013. It was a great experience, since we were several interns from different countries and we all got very involved in Partners' activities. The staff was kind, supportive, and highly commited to its work, and the office atmosphere was very nice. I was pleased to see how volunteers from all the hemisphere were happy to contribute and be part of the organization.

Partners' programs are diverse, and this helped me to understand better the cooperation in the Americas. As a President's Internship Program intern, I was able to gain valuable professional skills, meet very interesting people and improve my resume. The staff really try to involve interns in relevant activities, not repetitive or burdenning ones. I was able to organize a meeting between the interns and Partners's president, reclute new interns, support the communications team, but also to attend several conferences at some of the most important think tanks at DC.

My experience at Partners of the Americas was definitively excellent, and I'm happy to still keep in touch with the organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a communications intern at Partners of the Americas for 8 months. As the communications intern I was tasked with managing their blog, as well as doing research for their upcoming 50th Anniversary oral history project. Through both these mediums, I spent most of my 8 months reading and writing stories about the Partners network. From my personal experience, I can say with confidence that Partners holds true to their saying that they "connect, serve, and change lives." Time and time again I read the story about someone in Latin America being connected with someone from the Partners network and how this connection dramatically changed their lives for the better. To make it even better, this has been happening for 50 years. I read through the archives of Partners news attention over the summer for the oral history project, and this impact through the Partners network has been happening since the beginning of the organization.

I was also privileged enough to be able to visit one of their programs A Ganar in Honduras. When I was there and had the chance to talk to the kids the program was impacting I truly was able to understand the impact of Partners. A Ganar is a sports-for-development program that helps young adults escape from poverty and violence through a soccer program which develops into a job-training program. I was lucky enough to see almost all of the stages of the program while in Honduras. The participants were so incredibly thankful for A Ganar, this program was truly changing their lives.

I loved my experience interning at Partners. The entire staff is incredibly motivated and driven for their particular program. This non-profit covers so many fields it is hard to sum up exactly the impact that Partners makes in the world. Overall, it is a great, small non-profit that has been making a real impact in the Western Hemisphere for over 50 years.