LATIN AMERICAN LEGACY

White & Case has played a pivotal role in promoting cross-border philanthropy
between the United States and Mexico.

A decade ago, the head of our Mexico City office, Alexis Rovzar, called associate—now partner—Jonathan Hamilton into a Mexico City conference room to meet a leading Mexican-American philanthropist. They brainstormed about an organization they envisioned as a “philanthropic NAFTA” to facilitate cross-border philanthropy between the United States and Mexico.

Their vision faced myriad issues arising out of NAFTA, tax treatment and the critical importance of nurturing true bi-national leadership. Working with a growing base of supporters, they persevered and their vision came to fruition through the reincarnation of an entity originally established under the auspices of NAFTA’s North American Development Bank (NADBANK). White & Case provided pro bono advice and strategic planning throughout the process, and continues to do so, led by Jonathan Hamilton in Washington, DC, and Mexico City partner Iker Arriola.

We recently lost Alexis Rovzar at an untimely age, even as the US-Mexico Foundation has become a major foundation, recently opening its new US headquarters in Washington, DC. The board of the Foundation includes prominent members of the Mexican and Mexican-American business and policy communities, with support from current and past ambassadors and one former president. The Foundation promotes social transformation in Mexico through support for civil society organizations and grants in the areas of education, health and economic development, with a particular emphasis on youth and communities highly affected by instability.

Last year, the Foundation launched the Mexican-American Leadership Initiative, which brings together Mexican-American leaders from throughout the United States who are committed to deepening the relationship between the two countries. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted the launch of this initiative at the State Department, emphasizing that its goals of “strengthening civil society and creating opportunities for young people are exactly the right priorities.”

The US-Mexico Foundation is a shining example of the White & Case Latin America pro bono practice begun by Alexis Rovzar and continued today by partners such as Don Baker, who heads our São Paulo office, Iker and Jonathan, who is head of Latin American arbitration for the Firm and also serves on the board of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, which has a particular focus on pro bono and the rule of law in Latin America. Among other examples, our lawyers recently worked on Latin American pro bono projects for the Child Rights Information Network, the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice and the Vance Center.

ALEXIS ROVZAR ALEXIS ROVZAR (1951 – 2012)
PARTNER


During his career at White & Case, Alexis Rovzar was the Executive Partner of our Mexico City office and head of our Latin America practice. Alexis championed pro bono activity throughout the Firm and played a key role in developing a culture of pro bono in Mexico and Latin America. He was committed to building a better world and supported a wide range of philanthropic and civic causes, serving as a board member on several nonprofit organizations, including Procura and The Qualitas of Life Foundation, both of which he and his wife Marcela founded.

“Strengthening civil society and creating opportunities for young people are exactly the right priorities for the Foundation.”
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
at the launch of the
US-Mexico Foundation