Strengthening humanity with community
Dear ICF Partners and Friends,
This past year has been one of remarkable transformation and resilience for us all. Life has looked different since the worldwide shutdown in 2020, but one constant remains: our commitment to address the needs of vulnerable communities and natural habitats. No matter the challenges, we never give up. Inspired by incredible local community leaders, we continue to double down on our impact across borders, opening more funds, forming new partnerships, joining new initiatives, and more.
With your colossal support, the International Community Foundation (ICF) granted $12.5 Million to organizations in Latin America, the Caribbean and China in FY2022. I am grateful to our partners and friends, and for our amazing ICF team, who work with their hearts full of passion to make progress toward our mission of working across borders to connect people, ideas, and investments in the transformative power of community.
The relationships we have built and the support we have received drive the work we do every day, on every front. Because of you, we have been able to provide quality education, healthcare services, and access to fresh food to populations in need, as well as protect marine and terrestrial ecosystems. We hope you enjoy this annual report which reflects our collective work and includes testimonies from our partners, stories of impact, and more!
Thank you for being part of our community. Thank you for trusting us with your investments. Our shared resilience, persistence, and strong commitment to one another will push us forward to reaching new heights of success. We look forward to continuing to work with you all in 2023.
Marisa Aurora Quiroz
President & CEO
Our Executive Committee
Thank you for your service!
Jacqueline B. Meyer
Former Senior Director of Marketing, Qualcomm Inc.
Financial Consultant and Author
Former Director of Sales, AT&T Latin America
Associate, Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek
Our Board Members
We give a huge welcome to our new board members!
President, U.S.-Mexico Foundation
Assistant Director of Communications, The MAAC Project
Former U.S. Counsel General Tijuana, Mexico
President, Monro Capital Inc.
Activist, Advocate, and Influencer for multiple LGBTQ+ organizations in Mexico
Inclusion. Receptivity. Compassion. Inspiration.
Words from Our Donors
Leticia Liera, Executive Director, Alumbra Innovations Foundation
“The International Community Foundation has been a long time invaluable partner with Alumbra Innovations Foundation. Partnership and collaboration are central to who we are and what we do. We believe that thoughtful, strategic collaboration around a shared vision and goals can produce real world solutions and meaningful, sustainable change."
Donor Advised Funds
A Donor-Advised Fund is a charitable giving vehicle administered by a public charity like ICF. Created for the purpose of managing charitable donations on behalf of an individual, family, or company, it provides an easy, cost-effective way to support the causes you are passionate about in Mexico and other Latin American countries. ICF also offers Donor-Advised corporate funds to companies that want to inspire change in the communities and regions where they operate internationally.
Established in 1986, the Marisla Foundation has grown to be one of the most impactful family foundations known for its deep dedication to ocean conservancy, among other programmatic focus areas.
Their Environment Program supports organizations worldwide that promote the conservation of biological diversity and advance sustainable ecosystem management.
In 2002, Marisla Foundation opened a Donor-Advised Fund at ICF. Since then, their ocean conservancy efforts in Northwest Mexico have continued to grow immensely with a total of $9.7 million given to over 30 organizations.
Their funding has significantly impacted the health of Baja’s marine ecosystem, with their support to the waterkeepers they have ensured the beauty of the Gulf of California is protected through water quality monitoring. Their support is improving not only the health of the marine ecosystems in Mexico but also ensuring the health of non-profits in the region by providing general support and capacity building grants.
ICF is honored to hold this partnership with Marisla Foundation and support their devotion to the protection of our oceans.
Binational Resilience Initiative Launches with $294K in Grants to Advance Cali-Baja Coastal Preservation
San Diego Foundation and the International Community Foundation are partnering to launch the Binational Resilience Initiative to preserve the Cali-Baja coast for current residents and future generations. The initiative launches with $294,805 in grants to four environmental nonprofits located in the U.S.-Mexico border region.
The inaugural Binational Resilience Initiative grants funded through San Diego Foundation will address immediate needs in coastal preservation and improve the ability of decision-makers to respond to climate-related impacts along the Cali-Baja coastline. Grantees include Southwest Wetlands Interpretative Association, UCSD – SCRIPPS California Sea Grant Program, Via International and WILDCOAST.
The Binational Resilience Initiative places geographic focus on the Cali-Baja coastline region that spans from Oceanside in North San Diego County in the U.S. to Ensenada in Northern Baja California, Mexico, the largest economic zone along the U.S.-Mexico border. It will pioneer a binational model that helps the region adapt to the impacts of climate change by leveraging existing cross-border connectivity of its social, economic, energy, freshwater and coastal resources.
Our Programmatic Work
Addressing Food Waste and Loss in Baja California Sur
In Mexico, a staggering 35% of all food produced goes unused or uneaten. According to a nation-wide study conducted by the World Bank in 2017, the estimated 20 million tons of food that is lost or wasted annually is valued at US$25 billion, representing roughly 2.5% of Mexico's GDP.
As this food is wasted, so is all the water, energy and time that went into producing and distributing it. This waste not only contributes to excessive greenhouse gas emissions along supply chains, but also to potent methane emissions from landfilled organic matter.
This phenomenon occurs at the same time as 24 million people in Mexico face food insecurity and 9 million are living in extreme poverty.
Catalyzing integrated, collaborative action toward preventing food waste and loss throughout the supply chain, and recovering and redistributing food to the families who need it most, is fundamental to ICF’s vision of a healthier, more resilient regional food system.
As part of this commitment, ICF has been supporting partner organizations to strengthen and expand their food recovery efforts. For several years the La Paz based group Raíz de Fondo, has been leading a “gleaning” program to support volunteer harvesting of food that would have otherwise been left on farms, and connecting it with food insecure individuals. Too, over the last year, the Alianza para Seguridad Alimentaria (ASA) launched BCS’ first food bank, recovering food from farms, restaurants and grocery stores to support food insecure families in the municipalities of La Paz and Los Cabos.
This year, ICF also partnered with Soluciones Integrales para la Problemática Ambiental (SIPRA) and ASA to conduct an assessment on where and why food waste and loss occurs throughout supply chains in BCS. This assessment will help inform multi-sector prevention and recuperation strategies.
Impact by the numbers:
375 metric tons of food recovered and redistributed to 9,080 individuals in BCS
70 food assistance groups supported with recovered food
950 kg compost generated at Raíz de Fondo's gardens with household food scraps
Co-Powering Communities in Central America
Through our Human Rights & Migration portfolio, ICF has been directly responding to the needs of migrants, refugees, deportees, and other displaced communities along the U.S.-Mexico Border since 2016. Building on geographical and cultural connections to our border and previous work in the region, in 2019 ICF received a generous donation of $2 million from the Candeo Fund, to launch the Central America Grants Fund which seeks to strengthen existing, locally led efforts to address the root causes of forced displacement from the region.
Our 22 local partners’ impact is as diverse as the challenges they face. Many are providing training in sustainable agriculture practices that reduce deforestation and make harvests more resistant to climate change; others are investing in capital infrastructure such as meat processing plants or greenhouses to scale production; or are helping small shareholder businesses adopt new technologies and develop business models that increase access to markets. Ultimately the goal is to create the economic conditions necessary for families to feel safe and stable in their home communities.
As we embark on the next round of grants to the region, ICF is committed to investing $3.3 million and is seeking community-driven collaborators to leverage another $1+ million for local partners who are advancing proven models in food security and economic development, addressing the regional education crisis, as well as advancing access to sexual and reproductive health. This means not only providing the financial support to continue and scale programs, but also strengthening the institutional capacity and co-powering our civil society partners who are operating in increasingly restrictive and conflict-ridden contexts, not to mention the negative impacts of climate change such as drought and hurricanes which result in enormous loss of life, infrastructure, and economic growth annually. We hope you will join us!
Impact by the numbers: Though the Central America Grants Fund objectives are long term, these are just a few examples of how the 2020 grants provided immediate opportunity and hope to thousands of Central Americans who have the ambition and desire to live and prosper in their home communities.
5,343 students enrolled in SAT technical high school in Nicaragua and Honduras
500+ farmers diversifying organic products - eggs, chickpeas, fruit orchards, and avocados in Guatemala
1,000+ women trained in human rights and conflict-management strategies in Nicaragua and Costa Rica
Strengthening Environmental Stewardship in the Tropics
Spanning both sides of the Costa Rica-Panama border, “La Amistad International Park” (PILA) World Heritage site recognized for its lush tropical forest and extraordinary biological and cultural diversity. This rich and rugged landscape is home to Indigenous communities which have stewarded the environment for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, despite its designation as a transboundary protected area, the ecosystems and wildlife, as well as the livelihoods and food security of Indigenous communities are endangered by the increase of unsustainable development and tourism activities in the region.
For over twenty years, the nonprofit group ANAI, has been working alongside Indigenous communities to assess these impacts and identify ways to redress them. A fundamental pillar of this partnership with the Naso, Ngäbe and Bribri communities, is a biomonitoring program that promotes the conservation of fluvial and forest ecosystems that sustain local communities and biodiversity in the La Amistad Caribe region of Costa Rica and Panama. Through this program ANAI trains and incorporates community members in biomonitoring activities, creates environmental education opportunities for Indigenous youth, strengthens collaboration across borders, and provides scientific advice to Indigenous governments when requested.
By prioritizing community wellbeing, supporting local environmental stewardship practices, and engaging community leaders and youth in its activities, ANAI’s approach helps strengthen community management practices and conserves local ecosystems for current and future generations.
Indigenous people play an extremely important role in conservation. While only representing roughly 5% of the world’s population, Indigenous Peoples steward approximately 85% of the world’s biodiversity. The Indigenous communities that ANAI partners with play a vital role in buffering and protecting PILA. ICF honors the efforts of the small but mighty ANAI team, and the enormous impact they are making in protecting this world heritage site and empowering the Indigenous communities that have stewarded it for centuries.
Impact by the numbers:
Over 3,000 community members have participated in ANAI's River Biomonitoring Program in 630 monitoring sessions to assess the ecological health of more than 200 sites on both sides of the Panama-Costa Rica border.
4 Indigenous nations in Costa Rica and Panama, the Bribri, Naso, Ngäbe and Cabécar, have been trained via ANAI's "Multicultural network of bioeducators of La Amistad Caribe." Bioeducators are trained in ecology and monitoring of the principle rivers in 8 of the 11 Indigenous territories located in the La Amistad Caribe region.
Over 40 schools in Costa Rica and Panama have participated in ANAI's educational field trips and biomonitoring activities for Indigenous youth since 2013.
Protecting Children's Right to Learn and Play
In the beginning of 2021, the number of migrant children reported in Mexico drastically increased from 380 to nearly 3,500. Children are amongst the most vulnerable people in the world, and for many, their futures are limited by violence. When children migrate, their access to the right to learn and play is violated.
With a commitment to protect the human rights to learn and play which have been internationally recognized since 1948 and 1989, respectively, ICF formed a partnership with Fondo Unido México - United Way and This is About Humanity to establish ludotecas in 7 shelters for migrant families and unaccompanied minors in the U.S.-Mexico border region. A ludoteca is an organized space, intended for the integral development of children and adolescents, whose center of interest is for them to learn through the power of play. These educational and play spaces are led by "ludotecarios," or childhood educators, who have received specialized training to help children work on their psychomotor skills, language, sociability, cognitive and emotional capacities, specific knowledge, creativity, and fun.
Today, children and youth in Mexico continue to face many barriers to receiving a quality education. These barriers include but are not limited to economic inequality, shrinking education budgets by the government, lack of educational services for indigenous communities, and gender inequality, As a result, ICF is collaborating with Los Cabos Children's Foundation, El Dorado & Chileno Bay Foundations, Solmar Foundation, and Fondo Unido México - United Way to establish more ludotecas throughout Mexico, with a large focus on Baja California Sur. With the support of these alliances, ICF has helped build 13 ludotecas in Mexico: 7 in Tijuana, Baja California, 1 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, 1 in San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, 1 in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, and 3 in La Paz, Baja California Sur.
Using all forms of play – games, dramatization sets, reading and music corners, performance, and among others – these ludotecas are creating a lasting impact and empowering children with the knowledge and skills to drive change in their lives, families, and communities.
Impact by the numbers:
2 of the 7 ludotecas in Tijuana directly benefit 1,500+ students and 2,250+ parents annually
The ludotecas in Baja California Sur directly benefit over 640+ children and youth annually
$285,000 raised in total to build and support 13 ludotecas
A Tool That Can Help You Take Care of Your Future and the Future of ICF
ICF has partnered with FreeWill: a free estate planning resource that enables you to secure your future and take care of your loved ones. This online tool guides you through the process of creating a will and even building a legacy with ICF to ensure we continue connecting donors to valuable causes for years to come. We invite you to protect all that’s important in your own life.