PADF Announces Retirement of its Executive Director

John Sanbrailo

John Sanbrailo

January 31, 2017 (Washington, D.C.) — The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) advises that its long-serving Executive Director John Sanbrailo will retire effective September 30, 2017.

Mr. Sanbrailo has been PADF’s Chief Executive Officer for 18 years, growing the Foundation from less than $10 million in annual operations in 1998 to $95 million in 2017.  During his tenure, PADF mobilized and expended almost $1 billion to assist vulnerable populations and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

In the last decade, the Foundation positively impacted over 100 million marginalized people who have not yet prospered from the region’s economic and social development.  It implements programs in more than 20 countries throughout the hemisphere. PADF has become a major Inter-American force for carrying out the mandates of the Organization of American States (OAS) to assist people who have been excluded from the mainstream of their societies.

The Board of Trustees has established a search committee chaired by its President, Luis Ubiñas.  The committee has selected the firm Russell Reynolds Associates to assist with the recruitment of a new Executive Director.

“Through his long career with PADF, John Sanbrailo has elevated the Foundation to new heights, making it a major player in regional development,” said PADF President Luis Ubiñas. “Under his stewardship, the Foundation formed strong partnerships with both the public and private sectors, alliances which will help us carry on the important work of providing more opportunities for more people for years to come.”

During Mr. Sanbrailo’s tenure, PADF has become a development leader in the Americas by increasing employment and incomes for millions of marginalized people; facilitating social inclusion of Afro-descendants and indigenous people, women and youth; strengthening hundreds of civil society and community-based organizations; promoting democratic practices and human rights; and helping communities recover from and prepare for natural disasters. In recent years, PADF also expanded initiatives to invest in small and medium-size enterprises, support at-risk youth, help communities become more resilient to climate change, improve access to STEM education, and more. 

"John Sanbrailo is a true Pan-Americanist whose commitment to the economic and social development of Latin America and the Caribbean is unmatched,” said Past PADF President and current trustee Robert McGee. “Thanks to his tireless efforts and leadership, the Foundation has prospered, and millions of people now have an improved quality of life. We are grateful for his service. He leaves the Foundation in a strong position to continue to grow and to tackle new challenges facing the region.”

Prior to joining PADF, Mr. Sanbrailo worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for 30 years, serving as USAID Mission Director in Ecuador, Peru, Honduras, El Salvador, and as its Director of Policy Planning and Budgeting and Project Development for the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Bureau. He has been a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, LAC governments, multinational companies and non-governmental organizations.  He is a recognized leader in developing innovative private sector approaches to international development. Mr. Sanbrailo began his career in the 1960s with the Peace Corps in Venezuela. He is a historian of U.S. foreign aid and of the Inter-American System.

Over the years, the Foundation has been a major support mechanism for Plan Colombia and for Haiti’s reconstruction and development programs. PADF cooperates with Central American countries to advance human rights and aid migrants and displaced families, works with Mexico to combat child labor, and carries out projects in the Caribbean to improve citizen security and provide vocational training and jobs for at-risk youth. It supports civil society and corporate social responsibility projects throughout the hemisphere, partnering with the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America (AACCLA) and its member AmChams to implement disaster assistance and other projects.

Governed by a private sector Board of Trustees, the Foundation was established in 1962 as an affiliate of the Organization of American States.  It was an instrument of John Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress and was an early USAID NGO partner, receiving support from the Social Progress Trustee Fund at the IADB, the OAS and corporate and individual donors. Today, PADF also collaborates with governments, multilateral organizations, and major companies operating in Latin America and the Caribbean, such as Caterpillar Inc., Royal Caribbean Cruises, Chevron, AACCLA and others. PADF expresses the solidarity of the OAS and its member states with the least fortunate in the region and advances their sustainable development.

Hearly G. Mayr
Director of Communications and Public Affairs