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New Grant Competition for Higher Education Partnerships between Mexico and the United States
November 21, 2019

100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund

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November 21, 2019: Mexico City:  The U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, and Partners of the Americas announce a new Innovation Fund competition with generous support from Fundación Banorte and Fundacion Gruma to stimulate new higher education institutional partnerships between Mexico and the United States.  The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the U.S. Department of State’s signature hemispheric-wide education initiative to champion the power of education to transform societies, provide opportunity, and stimulate economic prosperity. 

The Innovation Fund inspires U.S. universities and colleges to team up with higher education institutions in Latin America to create partnerships that will provide more students with access to new exchange and training programs.  Innovation Fund partnerships provide students with more opportunities to work in teams, gain skills, solve real-world problems, and become better prepared for today’s workforce. 

As of October 2019, after 27 sets of competitions, the Innovation Fund has awarded 232 grants to teams of 477 higher education institutions in 25 countries and 49 U.S. States.  In five years, Mexico has become the leading country in this hemispheric-wide initiative to form partnerships with U.S. colleges and universities to create sustainable student exchange and training programs in both countries.  To date, 19 Mexican states and 24 U.S. states benefit from Innovation Fund partnerships.

This latest Innovation Fund grant competition supported by Fundación Banorte, Fundacion Gruma, and the U.S. Department of State will provide ten grants of $25,000 each to support higher education institution teams in Mexico and the United States to create new student exchange and training programs in areas of Financial Inclusion and Agricultural Sustainability for Inequality Reduction, among others.

During the announcement, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau stated, “I am delighted that International Education Week, celebrated every year by the United States Government, is serving as the stage to announce the new call for the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund that will benefit students and academics from higher education institutions in Mexico and the United States.  I appreciate the generosity of the sponsors, Chairman of Banorte, Carlos Hank González and Chairman and CEO of Gruma Juan González Moreno, who are aware of the program’s impact and joined this effort with great enthusiasm and vision.”

Chairman of Banorte, Carlos Hank González noted, “Mexico and the United States are friends and partners. For this reason, we at Banorte join the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative.  We are convinced that academic exchanges contribute to a better understanding between our nations and that, working together, we can face problems such as inequality, economic and financial exclusion.”

“At Gruma we join the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund because it is clearly aligned with the vision and commitment of our company to promote research to improve sustainable agriculture and rural development.  Most importantly, it is an opportunity to show that Mexico and the United States can work together to find solutions to common problems and create more and better opportunities for our countries, companies and people” said Juan González Moreno, Chairman and CEO of Gruma.

Higher education institutions are invited to submit grant proposals to Partners of the America by the competition deadline of March 2, 2020.  For more information, please see www.100kstrongamericas.org or click here to view the Request for Proposal (RFP) Document.


The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the robust public-private sector collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Embassies, Partners of the Americas, companies, foundations, and regional government partners working with academic networks to support and create new higher education institutional partnerships between the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.

Since its inception in 2014, the Innovation Fund has become the trusted flexible mechanism to support this hemispheric-wide education initiative to build connectivity, enhance institutional capacity, increase student exchange and training opportunities, and strengthen regional education cooperation throughout the Americas.  As of November 2019, the Innovation Fund has awarded 232 grants to teams of 477 universities and colleges in 25 countries and 49 U.S. states.  Currently, over 2,300 higher education institutions have joined the Innovation Network with 1,200 universities and colleges in the United States.

JOIN: www.100kstrongamericas.org  //  Follow:  #100KStrongAmericas

The mission of Partners of the Americas is to connect people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships. These partnerships create opportunity, foster understanding, and solve real-life problems. Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964, under the Alliance for Progress, Partners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC. Learn more at www.partners.net or via Twitter @partnersamerica.


Grupo Financiero Banorte is a leading financial institution in Mexico with the best business diversification in its class. It offers a wide variety of products and services through its bank, brokerage house, pension and insurance companies, “Afore” (Retirement Fund Manager) and investment funds.  In addition, Banorte is the second largest financial group in Mexico and the largest provider of loans to governments and the second largest bank in mortgage loans.  “Afore XXI Banorte” is the largest retirement fund manager in the country and Banorte is the only Mexican commercial bank managed by a 100% Mexican board.  Its decisions are made locally without the influence of a foreign parent company.

Banorte understands that it is their responsibility and priority to be an ally of higher education institutions in Mexico, in order to contribute to the professional development of young people who will be the future leaders of Mexico.  For example, the financial group constantly tries to organize and share events that are useful for the university students’ future professional career.  For over 3 years, Banorte has invited universities across the country to its main annual event, Foro Banorte. In total, more than 25,000 students have participated through streaming.

To be an ally of Mexico’s growth, Banorte considers it very important to analyze, evaluate and implement the proposals of young people who are facing the main challenges in Mexico. Receiving innovative proposals from students about how inequality can be fought from the financial sector is crucial.  It is necessary for the future of Mexico that higher education institutions provide university students with the necessary tools to investigate these fields of study and develop a broader vision.  These skills often develop as a result of exchange with other universities and countries, where students learn how to work as an international team to propose solutions to present problems.  Being able to help higher education institutions achieve this for their students is the reason why Banorte has chosen to support the Innovation Fund.  For more information, visit https://www.banorte.com/.


Gruma is a global Mexican food company and a leader in the production of corn flour, tortillas and wraps worldwide, with an international reach that includes operations in America, Europe, Asia and Oceania with 74 plants and presence in 112 countries through its “Maseca” and “Mission” global brands.  Thanks to innovation and the use of new technologies, it has expanded its portfolio of products and services to adapt to the different lifestyles, cultures and needs of its customers and consumers in all countries where it is present.

Currently, we live in a world where malnutrition, food security, hunger and sustainable agriculture have not yet been fully solved.  As a food company that operates globally, Gruma is fully engaged in finding solutions to these issues. Encouraging research and international collaboration on these subjects of study, should be a priority of higher education institutions because the world needs innovative proposals to address these problems.  In order to face the nutrition and alimentation problems facing the world, Gruma must understand the vision that university students are developing about how companies should adapt their products and services as part of the solution to these issues.

The global situation requires that sustainable agriculture techniques must be found and applied by food companies.  Gruma considers it a priority to collaborate with higher education institutions so that university students are able to propose innovative solutions and techniques to address these problems. For more information, visit https://www.gruma.com/.