Foundations in US and Mexico Collaborate to Improve Health on Both Sides of the Border

Tijuana, Baja California, October 18, 2007 -- In conjunction with the 4th Annual Border Bi-national Health Week, on October 18-20 the US-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership (BPP -- will convene over 40 foundation leaders and health experts from across the border region at the Lucerna Hotel to discuss the role of philanthropy in addressing the complex and mutual health issues shared by border communities.

In Mexican Border States the rate of HIV of infection increased by 30 percent between 1995 and 2000. A recent University of California San Diego study, shows one in 125 people in Tijuana and San Diego County are infected with HIV. Once considered nearly eradicated, the rates of tuberculosis are also on the rise in the region and significantly higher than the national rates: in the year 2000 Mexico had approximately 16 cases per 100,000 inhabitants at the national level and 33 for the Mexican border (municipios); in the United States, a national rate of 6 cases versus 10 per 100,000 people for the border. In Tijuana 48% of those under 19 lack medical insurance, as do 27% of Latino children in San Diego county.

"This is a tragedy. We can and must do better for our region's children." says Toñe Beguerisse, Executive Director of the Fundación Internacional de la Comunidad (FIC), a community foundation that works with donors and companies in Baja California to support local groups that improve the quality of life in the state. The FIC, and its sister foundation in San Diego, the International Community Foundation (ICF), recently launched the San Diego-Baja California 2016 Fund, which will be used to catalyze cross-border solutions and leadership in the areas of health, education and the environment. Both foundations are BPP members and co-hosts of this event.

The meeting, Nurturing a Healthy Border: The Potential of Philanthropic Collaboration, will feature several local community organizations that collaborate across geographical and institutional divides to implement cross-border solutions to border-wide health issues and to identify ways foundations and other partners on both sides of the border can support these and other effective practices.

Ambassador Eleazar Benjamín Ruiz y Ávila, Executive Secretary for the Mexico section of the US-Mexico Border Health Commission, will address conference participants to underscore the need to develop public-private sector partnerships to find solutions to persistent border health issues. "The goal of Border Binational Health Week is to promote sustainable partnerships to address border health problems. We see the US-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership as an important ally in our quest to promote inter-agency collaboration to combat border health issues," the Ambassador stated.

Community foundations like FIC and ICF are perfectly positioned to work with local donors and companies to support cross-border programs that get at the root of border health problems. They provide community leadership, community knowledge and professional, personalized attention to donors who are looking for credible solutions and transparent organizations in which to invest.

"Our border is blurring. New, cross-border health care approaches must be designed to provide services, finances and organizations to match the way families, communities and professionals live and work in our bi-national region, " said Richard Kiy, Executive Director of the International Community Foundation.

For More Information

Visit or contact:
Michelle Jaramillo
Program Officer, U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership
The Synergos Institute
121 Broadway, Suite 370
San Diego, CA 92101
P (619) 234-6620
F (619) 234-6640

About the US-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnerships

Established in 2002, the US-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership works to improve quality of life for low-income border families and communities via the organizational strengthening of member border community foundations and promotion of community philanthropy. The partnership provides 19 border community foundations that span the entire 2000 mile border, 13 from the United States and six from Mexico, resources to grow smart and strong so that they can in turn be catalysts for positive change in border communities. It is supported by generous contributions of 12 private and corporate funders including, the Ford Foundation, Pfizer Inc. and the California Endowment. Since its inception, the BPP has generated over $20 million dollars of investment in border foundations and communities. For more information, visit