PADF Mourns Loss of Visionary Founder Ronald Scheman

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 4, 2013) – Ronald Scheman, who was instrumental in founding the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF)  more than 50 years ago thus creating one of the first non-profit organizations to mobilize public-private partnerships to assist the most vulnerable people of the Western Hemisphere through development programs, died Monday, April 1, in Washington D.C.

“Everyone who knew Mr. Scheman remembers the relevant work he did for democracy, development and peace in our region, as well as his important contributions to the unity of the Hemisphere. His warmth and humanity, his genuine love for our region and its people will be with us forever,” said José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States and Chairman of the PADF Board of Trustees.

For more than 50 years Mr. Scheman dedicated himself to advancing progress and hemispheric cooperation in the Americas.  From his position at the OAS Legal Department, he established PADF in 1962 and served as its first executive director from 1962 to 1968.  Subsequently he moved to senior positions at the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Development Bank.  He was elected President of the PADF Board of Trustees from 1977 to 1983.

Mr. Scheman’s leadership resulted in PADF’s pioneering work in providing credit and technical assistance to micro-enterprises and developing local foundations of business and community leaders during the 1960s through the 1980s.  These initiatives were based on the Penny Foundation established in Guatemala that Mr. Scheman proposed be replicated throughout the Americas. PADF together with the Penny Foundation inspired and supported similar microenterprise development and civil society strengthening programs in the Americas and the world.

In the early 1960s, Mr. Scheman developed PADF’s first corporate partnerships with Caterpillar and Pfizer and pioneered some of the earliest concepts for using corporate social responsibility to support development and disaster assistance. He led efforts to mobilize private support to respond to major earthquakes in Chile, earning PADF the Bernardo O’Higgins award for its work in that country and beginning the Foundation’s disaster assistance program.

In addition, he remained a strong supporter of PADF’s In-kind donations of tools for Latin American schools and training centers, and for medical-dental equipment, that he initiated in the late 1960s. In 2012, that program provided more than $6 million in equipment to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mr. Scheman was an accomplished author who wrote extensively on the Inter-American System, the Alliance for Progress, and Hemispheric Partnerships for the 21st century.

As PADF President, Frank Gomez said, “Ron Scheman’s vision and commitment will continue to inspire all of us at PADF as we move forward to create a hemisphere of opportunity for all”.

About PADF

PADF is the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integral socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people, to strengthen civil society and community groups in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2012, it helped more than 10 million people in 29 countries. Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Haiti, Colombia and Suriname, and projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.