Andy Carey: A Leader in Collaborative Efforts

Created: 29 March, 2018
Last update: 20 April, 2022

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Andy Carey

Despite the current political differences that the United States and Mexico are facing today, Andy Carey, executive director of a binational nonprofit organization, believes the community and people ties are stronger than ever.

Carey leads the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership, a membership organization that supports a network of organizations that focus on building prosperity through leadership, collaboration, and philanthropy across the 2,000 mile border region between the two countries.

The partnership provides education, training, coaching, technical assistance, fiscal agency, and cross cultural communication to the member agencies on both sides of the border so they can achieve their missions locally.

According to Carey, this kind of cross border collaboration is important because the U.S. and Mexico are inextricably linked, especially in the borderlands.

“We depend on each other, we are really one community,” Carey said. “We exist as an organization to help promote greater philanthropy between our two countries so we can support each other from North to South.”

Carey said that both countries face common challenges and common issues that can be worked on together to the benefit both countries.

What started out as a program, the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership, has grown into an binational organization that is legally incorporated in both the U.S. and Mexico with over 300 members from academia, business, corporate partners, government agencies to nonprofit organizations.

“We connect people to causes and we connect causes to people,” Carey said.

As the partnership approaches its 10th anniversary, Carey, who has been the executive director since 2008, says it is an exciting time.

Carey said they have approved a new strategic plan and want to continue to grow and sustain their membership.

“When the groups come together, it’s a great opportunity to network and to share best practices and to collaborate,” Carey said.

Carey, who was the first executive director of the organization, surprises most people since he is not the person they imagine would lead a binational organization like the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership.

He jokingly said he is the “white guy from Chicago” but with his passion for Latino culture and the Spanish language, he proved that he could get the job and do the work.

“I had worked my entire career in Central and South America and so (the) opportunity to continue to lead a nonprofit organization using my language skills and deal with a culture I have come to love and adore and it’s now a part of who I am, was just a great opportunity,” Carey said.

Prior to working with the partnership, he worked for Kiwanis International, a nonprofit organization, for 15 years as member of the executive management team.

Carey, who is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, had worked previously in the region but not in a global context by organizing volunteers during a project to eliminate one of the causes of iodine deficiency disorders.

He grew up in a home with seven siblings in Sandwich, Illinois and found his passion for helping others through his upbringing.

His father, a general surgeon, was required to work in a rural community for three years as a part of a scholarship he received and ended up staying for 50 years and helped build a hospital and several care units, Carey said.

He shared that his father felt strongly that someone’s economic situation shouldn’t determine their quality of life so he would take care of medical bills and pay for their medicine if they could not afford to do so.

His sister, who also chose to work in the social sector, inspired him to do the work he does because she encouraged him to volunteer at a young age so Carey said the work he does now has been a part of who he is his whole life.

“That sort of upbringing and indoctrination that you have to help those that are less fortunate than you inspired me and that’s why I do what I do,” Carey said. “I’ve been at this for almost 30 years and I look forward to the next 30.”