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Promoting Leadership, Understanding and Opportunity in the Americas
As citizen volunteers from Illinois - together with our counterpart volunteers in Sao Paulo, Brazil we work in partnership to improve the lives of people across the hemisphere.
We not only dream of a better world, we roll up our sleeves and make a difference.
Partners of the Americas was inspired by President John F. Kennedy, who in 1963 launched the Alliance for Progress, a program of government-to-government economic cooperation across the Western Hemisphere . At the same time, Kennedy also called for a parallel people-to-people initiative, one that would allow private citizens to work together for the good of the Americas .
Meanwhile, a foreign service officer named Jim Boren was stationed in Peru, and had been searching for a way to institutionalize small projects, such as digging wells in remote communities or fixing battered roads. Boren often contacted groups in his native Texas to help fund some of the endeavors he oversaw. The Peruvian counterparts would then reciprocate in some fashion. Boren, who was nearing the end of his service, had hoped that people would not merely feel like recipients, but participants, too. He believed that the foundation of any successful working partnership was not in varied funding sources, but instead, in the people involved. People like people, he thought - and that is timeless.
Boren's vision for Kennedy's challenge translated in 1964 to Partners of the Alliance , which was established as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development . He was part of a staff of five, which worked to unite volunteers in U.S. states with their counterparts in countries or regions of Latin America .
Soon after its founding, Partners of the Alliance shifted to the private sector and changed its name to Partners of the Americas . In the following years, it expanded its reach into the Caribbean and ultimately formed 120 volunteer chapters involved in 60 partnerships.
Partners of the Americas is built - and continues to thrive - upon enduring relationships across borders. Working together, staff and some 7,000 volunteers throughout the Americas bring expertise in the areas of:
- Civil Society & Governance
- Exchanges & Fellowships
- Gender & Equality
- Youth & Children
- Agriculture & Environment
Partners has grown from an organization that sent seeds to farmers in Bolivia to one that carries out multi-year projects with lasting impact on communities. Today, our work covers areas as diverse as emergency preparedness, agriculture, cultural and educational exchange, domestic violence prevention and local government strengthening. Each year, our projects and activities touch the lives of more than 200,000 people in the Western Hemisphere . While much of our endeavors are supported with federal funds, our efforts would not be possible without the generous contributions of individuals, corporations and foundations that recognize the value of strengthening alliances between the U.S. , Latin America and the Caribbean . And, too, the work of Partners volunteers: In 2004, they dedicated $1.3 million worth of time to projects and activities.
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