HFAC Passes Bipartisan Resolution Supporting Work of Inter-American Foundation
The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday passed a bipartisan resolution, H.Res. 649, introduced by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), a senior member of the committee, and Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, commending the Inter-American Foundation for its 50-year effort to improve the economic and social development of countries in the Western Hemisphere.
“IAF prizes community-led projects and small-scale entrepreneurship as a way to give underserved people a stake in their societies, and a hand-up, not a hand-out,” said Smith, a member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee and Ranking Member of the Africa, Global Health and Global Human Rights Subcommittee. “IAF, as well as its sister organization the Africa Development Foundation, leverages and encourages the financial and sweat equity of people in the community and the countries being assisted to maximize value to our taxpayers while incentivizing recipients of assistance to take their future in their own hands. It also understands the role played by churches and faith-based organizations in tight-knit communities and works with them.”
“I am pleased to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Inter-American Foundation and recognize its important contributions to improving quality of life in the Western Hemisphere,” said Sires. “The organization has provided over 5,000 community-led grants over the last five decades to empower marginalized and underserved communities.”
“The Inter-American Foundation continues to demonstrate that promoting economic development in the region not only makes for more prosperous and just societies, but also advances American interests,” said Sires.
Smith told the committee that IAF’s low overhead, about 14 percent of the money it receives, allows it to “maximize its investment in underserved communities. It has pioneered agriculture-led economic development, and coordinates with other such initiatives such as Feed the Future to ensure that its work complements but does not compete with projects of other agencies,” Smith said.
The IAF is an independent U.S. Government agency, launched by Congress in 1969 to channel development assistance directly to the poor populations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its uses grant support to grassroots groups and NGOs. It also encourages partnerships among community organizations, businesses and local government directed at improving the quality of life for poor people and strengthening democratic practices