This is part of a regular series where we will be asking WINGS Board Directors to tell us a bit about themselves. Thanks to Carolina Suarez for agreeing to be interviewed.
- Tell us a bit about your current work and background.
I am the CEO of the Association of Family and Corporate Foundations in Colombia -AFE Colombia. I have been serving in this role since AFE was established in March 2008.
I am a lawyer with an LLM in International Trade Law, and I have been working with the social sector since 2006 when I started to work for the Corona Foundation.
Currently, I am also serving as a member of the board of WINGS –Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support-; as well as a member of the Council of Iberoamerican Meetings of the Civil Society -Encuentros Iberoamericanos de la Sociedad Civil-.
I firmly believe in the importance of the articulation of philanthropic actors, not only in Colombia with our associates and other players – public, social and private-, but also in the Region and worldwide, where I believe that we have enormous challenges to connect better and to share more to achieve greater impact. Because of this, I am participating in the Pacific Partnership with Alternativas y Capacidades, A.C. in Mexico, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Chile through the Center for Philanthropy and Social Investments and Universidad del Pacífico in Perú and also in other initiatives to boost articulation for promoting and strengthening the philanthropic ecosystem in the Region.
About AFE – in brief
Currently, the Association of Business Foundations (AFE Colombia) gathers 75 of the most prominent family and corporate foundations in Colombia, with the purpose of serving as a platform to advance collectively in the search for sustainable changes over time.
The three central axes of AFE are: connecting, advocating and communicating to achieve greater articulation and effective collaboration among its associated foundations and other stakeholders.
AFE integrates the knowledge and experience of its associates, which are characterised by their understanding and commitment to the territories and with the communities, and puts it at the service of the public agenda, promoting and concretizing efforts that contribute to the construction of a more sustainable, equitable and fair country.
More about AFE can be found here.
- How did you end up being a WINGS Board Member?
In Latin America, WINGS still has few members and only four associations of foundations: CEMEFI in Mexico, GIFE in Brazil, GFDE in Argentina and AFE in Colombia.
Therefore, WINGS plays a critical role in a global network for strengthening philanthropy and being part of the board meant a huge challenge in my job for boosting and professionalising philanthropy in the Region.
When Carolina Langan former executive director of the GDFE in Argentina, nominated me, once she finished her period as a board member, I gladly accepted because from the beginning I understood the importance of participating in the board, learning and sharing knowledge.
At that moment I didn’t understand all the potential of WINGS and the importance of this global network. WINGS is the only organization that allows you to connect and learn from your peers and in Latin America we have an enormous challenge to strengthen the network in the Region. Because of this, we are the partners of WINGS for the Latin America and Caribbean Regional Meeting that will be held at the end of August to explore how to foster, develop and structure exchanges and synergies among philanthropy infrastructure organizations in the region. More details can be found here.
As a partner of WINGS and AFE, we hope to engage you in enriching the meeting and start thinking about the potential for exchanges and collaboration in the region.
- What have you enjoyed about the role?
Being part of the Board is an extraordinary opportunity to learn and share the best global practices and challenges about philanthropy. It is a chance to put your knowledge in service of a unique global network that has the same aim that I have locally: how to strengthen the impact of philanthropy and how we can boost social transformation.
- What is an area of WINGS’ work that you are particularly passionate about?
I am particularly passionate about all the knowledge that WINGS collects, disseminates and shares, taking into account the global trends but not dismissing the local contexts and needs.
- What is an inspiring quote that you would like to share?
Our slogan at AFE is ‘together we are more’, and I can apply the same for WINGS. We can only achieve better impact and social transformations if we work together and still philanthropy actors have tremendous challenges to understand the implications of working together.