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Mexico

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New Grants

ProNatura Chiapas, A.C. (ProNatura), $453,032 to undertake a two-year project promoting local development in three communities of northern Chiapas. Project activities include increased production and national and international marketing of organic coffee, strengthening and improvement of agro-ecology, productive forestry, and the creation of additional family businesses. Approximately 3,000 individuals will directly benefit. (ME-448)

Niños y Crías, A.C. (NyC), $400,000 for a three-year project to encourage natural resource protection, promote sustainable economic development and improve the quality of life of residents in 11 protected areas of Mexico by creating a university-based training center, coordinating 11 high-profile community-based education and social marketing campaigns, and generating private sector support for rural economic development, public and environmental health, and natural resource management. (ME-449)

Fundación para la Productividad en el Campo, A.C. (APOYO), $185,000, over three years, to implement APOYO’s models for providing credit, training and technical assistance to 1,500 low-income rural producers and 7,000 family members, and for mobilizing $500,000 in remittances from Mexican immigrants in the United States for productive projects in their communities of origin. This project aims to reduce migration to the United States by expanding income-generating opportunities in poor communities in the Mexican states with the highest migration rates. (ME-450) 

FinComun, Servicios Financieros Comunitarios, S.A. de C.V., Unión de Crédito (FinComun), $300,500, over three years, to provide, in collaboration with BIMBO, a Mexican manufacturer of baked goods, savings services for approximately 20,000 new low-income clients in Mexico City and extend approximately 12,700 new loans to micro-enterprises. (ME-451)

Fundación Comunitaria de la Frontera Norte, A.C. (FCFNAC), $315,000, over three years, to implement a participatory process that will support projects managed by community groups and nongovernmental organizations, benefiting more than 150,000 residents of Ciudad Juárez. FCFNAC will strengthen its partnerships with civic leaders, Mexican and U.S. corporations, nongovernmental organizations, and public institutions to improve the quality of life in low-income communities. (ME-452) 

Fundación del Empresariado Sonorense, A.C. (FESAC), $365,000, over three years and six months, to mobilize more than $630,000 from businesses and other private sources for local improvement projects managed by community groups and nongovernmental organizations. FESAC, composed of 6,000 business leaders, will work in a groundbreaking partnership with civic leaders and nongovernmental organizations directed at improving the quality of life for more than 1,200 people in 10 cities and surrounding areas in the state of Sonora. (ME-453)

Centro Campesino para el Desarrollo Sustentable, A.C. (Campesino), $182,300 to undertake a two-year project to improve food security through training local farmers and municipal government officials in conservation techniques, leadership, planning and related themes. Campesino will equip and expand its training center, oversee the strengthening of three regional development funds, and support the creation of two new small businesses. (ME-454)

Fundación Habitat y Vivienda, A.C. (FUNHAVI), $200,000, over three years, to mobilize, with its business partners, more than $165,000 for a loan fund for home improvements, including connection to municipal water and sewage systems, benefiting more than 2,000 low-income residents of Ciudad Juárez. (ME-455) 

Centro Mexicano para la Filantropía (CEMEFI), $340,000, over five years, to improve the long-term financial sustainability of community foundations and strengthen their partnerships with civic leaders, businesses, nongovernmental organizations and public institutions. This award will help foundations better support improvement projects managed by community groups and nongovernmental organizations in cities throughout Mexico. (ME-456)

Alternare, A.C. (Alternare), $325,000, over three years, to raise the productive capacity and incomes of approximately 90 small-scale farmers in seven communities in and around Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve through training in sustainable agriculture and agro-forestry, community organization, small business development, and alliances with local and national governments and inter-agency coordinating committees. (ME-457)

Estudios Rurales y Asesoría Campesina, A.C. (ERAC), $55,050 for a six-month planning project directed at facilitating the formation of a forestry enterprise that will increase incomes of Oaxaca communities located in forests certified as sustainably managed. The program will include community consultations, formation of a work group, business and strategic planning activities, creation of a new enterprise, and the promotion in national and international niche markets of products from forest certified as sustainably managed. (ME-458)

Supplemental Grants over $10,000

Coordinadora de Organizaciones Campesinas e Indígenas de la Huasteca Potosina, A.C. (COCIHP), $20,100 to fully implement COCIHP’s work with women in the municipalities of Axtla and Tancanhuitz. This amendment will support salaries for an advisor and promoters providing training and technical assistance in leadership, local development activities and agricultural techniques. (ME-434-A1) 


Supporting Development with NGO-Business Partnerships

By Robert J. Sogge, Senior Foundation Representative for the Caribbean and Mexico

and Jill Wheeler, Foundation Representative for Mexico

In fiscal 2002, eight nongovernmental organizations in Mexico received grants to support groundbreaking partnerships initiated with businesses to produce significant, practical improvements in low-income communities. These relationships have been forged with enterprises eager to put into practice contemporary notions of corporate social responsibility and participatory development. Private sector involvement ranges from cash donations to mobilizing local support, providing volunteers, offering expertise and participating in NGO leadership. The alliances take several forms:

Partnering with Mexican Businesses
Through its partnership with BIMBO, the Mexico’s largest bakery corporation, FinComún, Servicios Financieros Comunitarios, will expand its micro-enterprise loan program in Mexico City. BIMBO representatives will personally introduce FinComún credit advisors to BIMBO’s low-income clients who might benefit from micro-finance and credit services. An alliance with two local businesses, Cementos Chihuahua and Supermercados Smart, will allow Fundación Habitat y Vivienda (FUNHAVI) to increase its home improvement loans to low-income families in Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. Cementos Chihuahua supports FUNHAVI’s publicity campaigns and sells the new loan recipients construction materials at discounted prices. All loan repayments are deposited at local outlets of Supermercados Smart, a grocery chain, which donates accounting services.

Enlisting Business Leaders 

ProNatura Chiapas and Alternare have invited successful business people to serve on their boards of directors and in advisory capacities. These business leaders provide financial and marketing expertise, promote further cooperation with the private sector, and assist in raising funds.

Mobilizing Resources for Community Foundations
Businesses and philanthropic leaders will mobilize financial resources and volunteers for the grantmaking operations of Fundación Comunitaria de la Frontera Norte in Ciudad Juárez; Fundación del Empresariado Sonorense, a statewide foundation whose membership consists of 6,000 business leaders in Ciudad Obregón, Hermosillo and Nogales in Sonora, which shares a border with Arizona; and 10 community foundations across Mexico supported by Centro Mexicano para la Filantropia. These partnerships assist the foundations in making grants to community groups and NGOs working to improve conditions for impoverished families and neighborhoods.

Tapping a Corporate Spectrum
Niños y Crías will promote natural resource conservation in 11 protected areas through community-based education campaigns initially supported with resources from Banco Nacional de Mexico, Hewlett-Mexico, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Patagonia, Inc., and Aveda Corporation, among other Mexican and U.S. businesses. More corporations are expected to donate in the future. Additionally, committees representing each protected area will raise from local businesses cash or in-kind contributions, including production of community outreach materials and air time on television and radio stations.

NGO-private sector collaboration is a growing trend in Mexico. Clearly, businesses are expanding their commitment to social responsibility to include grassroots development. Through their creative incorporation of private sector skills and resources, these eight grantees are positioning their programs for a successful and sustainable future working toward a better quality of life for low-income Mexicans.