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Counterpart International (Counterpart) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. The organization’s mission is: Counterpart partners with local organizations – formal and informal – to build inclusive, sustainable communities in which their people thrive.
Since its founding more than 50 years ago, Counterpart has established programs and activities in more than 60 countries on six continents.
The organization was established in 1965 as the Foundation of the People of the South Pacific (FSP) by an Australian Marist missionary priest, Father Stanley Hosie, and actress Elizabeth "Betty" Bryant Silverstein. Ms. Silverstein and Father Hosie focused on supporting communities in the remote and often-overlooked islands of the South Pacific. In 1968, the organization began receiving funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). During the 1970s, FSP obtained more grants to expand its staff and to transition its field offices into indigenous, independent NGOs that were locally staffed. FSP improved on the model of international aid by providing institutions in the South Pacific with skills to rebuild infrastructure, develop sustainable solutions to poverty, and facilitate economic growth. In 1992, (USAID) tapped the organization to “go global” and help determine a role for U.S. non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the former Soviet Union. At this time, the organization's name was changed to Counterpart International to better reflect an expanded mission.
Programs and Goals
Counterpart International currently has programs in civil society and governance; social inclusion; communities in conflict; food security and nutrition; and climate resiliency.
Civil Society and Governance
Our current efforts in more than 30 countries around the world empower individuals, organizations and networks to take an active role in shaping the development of their communities and countries. We recognize the power of local ownership, and support efforts to enhance transparency and accountability which contribute to the strengthening of partnerships and cooperation between different sectors of society.
Since its founding in 1965, Counterpart has focused on gender equity and social inclusion as guiding principles. We believe the voice of every community member matters, and everyone has the right to participate in their community’s well-being. In all our programs, we bring marginalized people into civic life, supporting their ability to influence decisions that affect their lives.
Communities in Conflict
Communities around the world are under enormous stress from political unrest, gang violence, competition over resources, extremist influence and the aftermath of war and ethnic conflict. With partners and leaders at the community and national level Counterpart works to promote tolerance, mitigate conflict, accelerate reconciliation and improve community resiliency.
To realize the full potential of any society, populations need to be healthy, starting with children. Counterpart works with local partners around the world to improve the production of and access to nutritious food for children. We support community-led and school-based efforts to reduce malnutrition, implement sustainable agricultural practices and improve food security.
The challenges facing people in many countries where we work are made worse by the impacts of climate change. Counterpart works with coastal and farming communities to improve climate resiliency while improving livelihoods.
Board of Directors
Counterpart has a staff of 500 people in more than 25 countries with headquarters in Arlington VA. The organization is overseen by a board of directors who are responsible for the legal and fiduciary operations of the organization. The current board of directors consists of:
- Board Chair: Raul Herrera, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP
- Board Vice Chair: Mary Karen Wills, Managing Director, Berkeley Research Group, LLC
- Chair Emeritus: Deborah Nolan, Partner, Ernst & Young (retired)
- Dr. Carlos F. Aguilar, CEO, Texas Central Partners, LLC
- Hilda M. Arellano, Counselor, USAID (retired); Coordinating Director for Economic Affairs and Development, U.S. Embassy Afghanistan (retired)
- Jose Guillermo Castillo, CEO, Corporación Castillo Hermanos; President, 2020 Foundation
- Allan Culham, Ambassador, Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs (retired)
- Brenda Broz Eddy, Vice President, Eddy Associates
- Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy, Senior Fellow, United Nations Foundation
- Joan Parker, CEO, Counterpart International
- Jean Philippe Prosper, Vice President for Global Services, International Finance Corporation (retired)
- Roldan Trujillo, Founder and Managing Director, RCT Advisory LLC
- Diana Walker, President, Walker Impact Strategies
- Judith Whittlesey, Executive Vice President, Susan Davis International
In 1991, President George Bush awarded FSP co-founder Betty Silverstein with the U.S. Presidential End Hunger Award for Individual Achievement. First Lady Hillary Clinton also commended Silverstein at Counterpart's 500th humanitarian Airlift at Andrews Air Force Base in Virginia in early 1998.
Counterpart has delivered over half a billion dollars' worth of aid to countries in former USSR, Central Asia Republics, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa.
Counterpart's Armenia Office was involved in the announcement of the Civil Society Fund 2009 winners. The office is also part of Counterpart International's Limited Intervention Program Statement (LIPS) grants.
In May 2009, Counterpart was granted a Leader with Associates (LWA) Cooperative Agreement with USAID, who expressed confidence in Counterpart to implement the "Global Civil Society Strengthening" (GCSS) program that builds the capacity of civil society organizations around the world. Counterpart held the LWA for eight years, and received $350 million in awards through the agreement.