For more than 50 years, Partners of the Americas has been bringing together people, organizations and expertise to develop lasting solutions to our hemisphere’s toughest challenges.
Inspired by President Kennedy, Partners of the Americas was founded in 1964 as the people-to-people component of the Alliance for Progress.
The idea behind Partners came from a Foreign Service Officer named Jim Boren who was stationed in Peru in the early 1960s. To help meet local needs, Boren often recruited groups in his native Texas to fund projects such as digging wells or fixing battered roads. Connecting people across the hemisphere proved an innovative approach to solving problems. Yet, Boren’s model was more than a one-way transfer of assistance from North to South. After years of service, Boren understood a crucial aspect of effective international partnership: if solutions were to have lasting impact, locals would have to be involved in the development process—engaged as active participants and not merely recipients of foreign resources and aid.
Boren’s vision complemented Kennedy’s approach to Latin America, and thus Partners of the Alliance was established within the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The new organization worked to unite volunteers in U.S. states with their counterparts in countries or regions of Latin America. Emphasizing people-to-people relationships and operating outside of government-to-government diplomacy, Partners of the Alliance soon shifted to the private sector and changed its name to Partners of the Americas. Since then, Partners has endured military conflicts, natural disasters and political upheavals and remains a key presence in communities throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Learn more about Partners’ history through the interactive timeline below. You might also wish to read “Soul Deep” and “The Power of Partnership,” recent books that reveal Partners’ journey to the present day.