More than 300 business leaders, philanthropists, international organizations and members of civil society met in Panama City to discuss the problems that affect the development of Central America, to share experiences of successful programs and projects that have positively impacted various Central American countries, and to visualize new opportunities to build strategic connections for progress. Strategic alliances, economic growth and gender equality, health, education, transparency and rule of law were the core topics of the two-day forum.

On Friday, October 27, the presentation, “Philanthropy of AllBank: The Orange Fund for the Development of Creative Industries” was held, which established how art and culture are vehicles for social transformation and the role that an “orange economy” can play in this process. Carlos Araúz, Executive Vice President and General Manager of AllBank Corp., presented his success story that consists of a fund for cultural entrepreneurs who work to improve the society where they live through artistic activity.

In addition, the “Mesoamerica Health Initiative” was presented, which is an innovative public-private partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carlos Slim Foundation, the Spanish Cooperation, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and various Central American countries; which aims to reduce the gap and inequality in access to health in the countries of the Central American region.

Finally, all the topics were aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations. In the panel, “Ethical leadership for the sustainable development of Central America” the panelists provided a deeper understanding of the difficulty in moving towards the 2030 Agenda when institutions, governments and companies are immersed in a trust and reputation crisis.

The panelists: Juan Carlos Córdoba, Founder and Partner at Sinergia Development; Susanne Cochez, Corporate Affairs Manager at Nestlé Centroamérica; and Alexandra Schjelderup, Director of Culture at the Mayor’s Office of Panama; concluded that operating in a volatile environment, such as the current one, requires ethical leadership by companies, institutions and NGOs that put people at the center and generate tangible impacts on society.

Bill Clapp, Co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Seattle International Foundation, noted that “this year’s forum in Panama has been a success in many ways. From the fantastic local partners, to the diversity of attendees who represent efforts throughout the region and who brought many provocative ideas to the table. We could not be prouder of this Forum and we are already thinking about what is to come. The success of this Forum reaffirms our commitment to bring people together to seek common goals and to find ways to create better partnerships that can have a positive impact in Central America.”

The purpose of the forum was to create a successful and sustainable development agenda that addresses all challenges through the generation of innovative partnerships with the government, the private sector, donors and civil society.

About the Seattle International Foundation

The Seattle International Foundation (SIF) supports global poverty alleviation efforts through grantmaking and other activities, with a strategic focus on Central America. SIF was founded in 2008 as a supporting organization to the Seattle Foundation to increase and improve international philanthropy and development out of the Pacific Northwest. Since 2008, SIF has granted more than $24 million to 219 high-impact organizations in 81 countries, including $12 million in grants to Central America.

About Sumarse

Sumarse has promoted Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Panama since 2009. Our membership is composed of more than 250 companies, third sector organizations, unions and universities, making us the largest multisector platform in the country and a critical point of contact for different actors in society. We are the local representation of the United Nations Global Accords, the Central American Integration Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (INTEGRARSE) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

About Unidos en Red

Our purpose is to contribute to improving the quality of life for everyone in the world. In Unidos en Red, we identify and promote innovative solutions with high social impact for the sustainable development of humanity in an array of areas including health, education, sports, culture, and environment, among others. We also work to facilitate and strengthen alliances, efficient communication and access to technology. We achieve this by uniting people and organizations with a significant commitment to social progress and the capacity to generate change with a greater scope and in less time to implement solutions with a meaningful short-term impact.