Comunalia is the Alliance of Community Foundations of Mexico, a nonprofit organization, that focuses on local development and strategic social investment. Our aim is to boost the collective work of our community foundations to help them have a greater impact, reach, and transcendence in their programs. We seek to empower the population, to have an impact on public policies, to develop leadership, and to replicate and strengthen the Mexican model of community foundations.
Our name is a unique word that represents our essence: Común (common) because we have things in common, and we speak a common language, one of development and participation; una (one) because we come together in a single entity; alia (alliance) because of our alliance, our union.
We inspired our image in the concept of bees and their honeycomb, because we believe that when we work together for the common good, real change happens. This is why our main logo is a hexagon, which repeats itself in different colors and sizes ultimately forming a circle. These differences in size and color represent our land and our people; the organization team, the board, the communities, etc. working together towards a single objective.
Comunalia represents a group of Mexican community foundations —each with their own stories and experiences— and unifies a group that has the opportunity to bring awareness to the local public about the importance of citizen participation for the benefit of their community.
Our work is focused on generating networking spaces, alliances, and opportunities for Mexico’s community foundations. We promote the strengthening of each of our members through collective learning, and we strive to shine a light on the work they do.
Our members are located in thirteen states through the country: Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Jalisco, Querétaro, Estado de México, Morelos, Puebla, Yucatán and Quintana Roo.
To strengthen Mexico’s community foundations.
We are the alliance of community foundations in Mexico that has a national impact working from a local level, with international scope. Through our work and that of our members, the identity and model of the community foundation is recognized throughout the country.
Subsidiarity: We integrate the strengths and weaknesses that, as a group, represent us.
Commitment: We assume with great conviction and devotion our social co-responsibility to the needs of the community.
Equality: We promote social change, boosting participation and representation without distinguishing between the members of our alliance.
Transparency: We are a solid group that works for the community’s development; we are convinced that our actions ought to be reflected in society in an honest and fair way.
Respect: We understand the differences of our members, partners and beneficiaries.
Congruence: Our actions are product of the collective decisions that we take according to the range of principles that support our alliance.
Unity: Being linked with one another is a fundamental characteristic of our daily work.
Innovation: We encourage individual and collective creativity, searching for new and diverse ways of doing things, creating strategies for the achievement of our objectives, and striving for the best possible result.
In 1985 begins to develop fertile ground for the creation of community foundations in Mexico. The first ones, which started as funds, were the Córdoba Fund, the Chihuahuan Business Social Fund and the Cozumel Fund.
In 1996, the first community foundation was created as such, the Oaxaca Community Foundation. Most of the community foundations that today are members of Comunalia emerged at the end of the nineties and at the beginning of the 2000s:
Comunalia began in 2009 as a collective effort of unity and representativity.
In a strategic and organized way, it was consolidated after 2 years of work, and in August 2011 it was established as the Community Foundations Alliance of Mexico, Comunalia.
Today, Comunalia is a civil association made up by 14 community foundations, with presence in 13 states, with its headquarters in Monterrey, Nuevo León.
Ixanar Uriza has a Master’s degree in Social Management and Development by the University of Guadalajara, and a Bachelor’s degree in Administration and Marketing. She has a Diplomat in Management and Development, Results Framework and Project Management by Results, by the Inter-American Institute for Economic and Social Development (INDES by its acronym in Spanish). She is also a quality audit on the system ISO 9001, and has been a councilor of the Civil Society Consulting Group in Mexico of the Inter-American Development Bank (BID-ConSOC).
Since 2004 she has collaborated in Corporativa de Fundaciones, where she has participated in several projects oriented to the provision of services for the strengthening of non-profit organizations, calls for investment in social projects, spaces for articulation and dialog, investigation and public incidence. Today, she is the Operative Director of this organization.
A deep passion for justice and fairness permeated his early years. A trip to Haiti as a late teen to work with Mother Teresa’s sisters of Charity anchored that passion into a lifelong commitment. After graduating from the Union Institute in San Diego he worked simultaneously in the development of automotive repair cooperatives, and coordination of the Mexico Immersion Program of the Lutheran church in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Living between two worlds brought great respect and appreciation for cultural and social diversity – a process that cycled through stages of guilt, outrage, appreciation, embrace, humility, etc. Presently he lives out these life-learnings in Mexico in his work with people with Disabilities who run a wheelchair repair shop and on the board Fundación Comunidad doing community development work.
As facilitator and training leader with the Awakening the Dreamer program of the Pachamama Alliance, Erik has travelled to Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Ecuador to train and support local community leaders and change agents. He is also part of the Alliance’s team adapting the online “Game Changer Course” for Latin America and the initiative to create an adaptation of the Alliance’s programs for the growing interest in businesses to become more sustainable and just.
With more than 20 years of experience, she has occupied several positions in the System for the Integral Development of the Family (DIF by its acronym in Spanish) in the municipal and state levels, where she gained experience in the design and implementation of social programs, planning and connection with a diverse set of actors.
She has been the Executive Director of Merced Querétaro Foundation since 2009, where she has fortified the services for the institutional strengthening and mobilization of resources for the 180 non-profit organizations that the Foundation works with. She has made key alliances to expand the Foundation’s work, and has boosted social inversion programs. Shelley has also worked to promote the active participation of the Foundation in the making of laws and public policies, such as the Promotion for Civil Society Organizations Law, and the State of Querétaro Volunteer Law.
She is currently Head Councilor of the Consultive Council for Social Development in the Secretary of Social Development of the State of Querétaro. She is also part of the Local Technical Secretariat of the Open Government Co-Creation from the Local, and belongs to the Transparency Commission and Access to Public information of the State of Querétaro.
Lisa Kathleen Schalla was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has worked in Mexico since 1994. Today she lives in Nayarit, where she works for the Punta de Mita Foundation as Executive Director. She has been a teacher in international schools in Germany, Spain, and Mexico, and has more than 25 years of experience.
Schalla has a Masters in Education, and a Doctorate in Educational Policy & Leadership from the University of Minnesota. She was a Fullbright Scholar in 1988, and named Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow in 2010. She is an researcher, and has given several international conferences promoting reading, reading at home, parents’ participation in schools, and health.
Political Scientist by Tec de Monterrey and Master in Public and Social Policies by the Pompeu Fabra University and the John Hopkins University. In Mexico, She has worked in the social sector, as part of the team that gave birth to the Comunidar Foundation in Monterrey and has been an advisor to other social projects. In the private sector, She has worked on issues of social responsibility, social investment, sustainability and the KPI’s monitoring and evaluation strategy. In Spain, Mariana was part of Idencity Consulting Group where she advised city councils in the development of public policy projects and researcher in the first competitiveness index of Spanish cities. She is part of the Botin Network of Public Servants of Latin America, the Mexican Network for Public Service, Alumni of the Gallagher Foundation and Leader of the Climate Reality Project.
She is currently the Executive Director of Comunalia, the Alliance of Community Foundations of Mexico, a non-profit Mexican Civil Association, which seeks to generate changes in the country, with a focus on local development and strategic social investment.
Carolina Montes is a junior at the Tecnológico de Monterrey majoring in Journalism and Media, and minoring in Government and Public Transformation. She has worked as a reporter of social events in the newspaper El Norte, and has volunteered at the non-profit Cómo Vamos Nuevo León for a year.