MEXICO CITY, Dec. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ The U.S. Department of State, U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and Partners of the Americas announced today 11 new grant-winning teams in the latest Innovation Fund competition generously sponsored by Fundación Banorte, Fundación Gruma and the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

The 100,000 Strong in the Americas (100K) Innovation Fund is the public-private sector collaboration among the U.S. Department of State, U.S. embassies and Partners of the Americas, working with companies, foundations and academic networks to stimulate and support higher education partnerships between the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.

The Innovation Fund inspires U.S. universities and colleges to work in teams with higher education institutions in Latin America to design and implement new models of academic exchange and workforce development programs throughout the Americas.

The Innovation Fund higher education partnerships ensure that students access academic training programs to work in teams, solve real-world problems, research and gain technical and linguistic skills imperative for today’s workforce. Since its inception in 2014 through this month, the Innovation Fund has awarded 243 grants ($25,000 to $35,000 each) to 491 higher education institutions, working in teams in 25 countries and in 49 U.S. states.

After six years, Mexico continues to be the leading country in this regional education initiative to form partnerships with U.S. universities and colleges to create and implement new academic exchange and training programs. With today’s announcement, there are now 20 Mexican states and 27 U.S. states that benefit from 71 grants for students and faculty in both countries.

This Innovation Fund competition is sponsored by Fundación Banorte and Fundación Gruma, along with the Department of State, providing 11 grants of $25,000 each this year to support new partnerships between U.S. universities and colleges and higher education institutions throughout Mexico.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Landau said:

“Strong in the Americas is an example of educational cooperation between our countries, showing that when Mexicans and Americans work together, we go further and are stronger, especially when we invest in education and the prosperity of our peoples. For this reason, it is noteworthy that, despite the challenging times we are living, today we can make this announcement so relevant to our countries, which is a symbol of our cooperation. I want to give a very special recognition to the Banorte and Gruma foundations for joining the Mexican companies that, with a strategic vision, joined the great family of the Innovation Fund and, in the case of Banorte, is the first Mexican bank to join.”

This year’s winners, collaborating on projects marked by economic advancement, entrepreneurism, technology, workforce development and other areas of study, are:

  • Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz., and Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora, Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, Mexico
  • University of Montana, Missoula, Mont., and Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Puebla, Puebla, Mexico
  • California State University, Fresno, Calif., and Universidad Panamericana Campus Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes, Mexico
  • Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, Wis., and Universidad Politécnica de Guanajuato, Cortazar, Guanajuato, Mexico
  • Kent State University at Stark, North Canton, Ohio, and Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City
  • Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Ariz., and Universidad de Sonora, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
  • Polk State College, Winter Haven, Fla., and Instituto Tecnológico de Mérida, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico


The 100,000 Strong in the Americas (100K) Innovation Fund is the public-private sector collaboration among the U.S. Department of State, U.S. embassies, Partners of the Americas, companies, foundations, and regional government partners working with academic networks to support and increase higher education institutional partnerships between the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.

With commitments from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) along with over 25 companies and foundations as of December 2020, the Innovation Fund has become the trusted, flexible mechanism that drives this hemispheric-wide education initiative to create partnerships, build institutional capacity, increase student exchange and training program opportunities and strengthen regional education cooperation throughout the Americas. Currently, over 2,900 higher education institutions have joined the Innovation Network — with over 1,500 universities and colleges in the United States. Join the network and learn more at


The mission of Partners of the Americas is to connect people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships. These partnerships create opportunity, foster understanding, and solve real-life problems. Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964, under the Alliance for Progress, Partners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC. Learn more at or via Twitter @partnersamerica.


Grupo Financiero Banorte is a leading financial institution in Mexico, the second largest financial group in the country and the one with the broadest business diversification in the market. Banorte provides services to more than 21 million customers through an extensive network that includes more than 1,100 branches, over 9,000 ATMs, more than 16,000 correspondents and over 162,000 point of sale terminals.

Our subsidiaries’ main activity is the realization of financial operations such as providing banking, brokerage and warehousing services, leasing and factoring operations. We offer insurance and annuity services, as well as the management of retirement savings contributions. We also operate the international money transfer company Uniteller, which mainly serve the remittance market.


Gruma is a global Mexican food company and a leader in the production of corn flour, tortillas and wraps worldwide, with an international reach that includes operations in America, Europe, Asia and Oceania with 74 plants and presence in 112 countries through its “Maseca” and “Mission” global brands. Thanks to innovation and the use of new technologies, it has expanded its portfolio of products and services to adapt to the different lifestyles, cultures and needs of its customers and consumers in all countries where it is present.

The global situation requires that sustainable agriculture techniques must be found and applied by food companies. Gruma considers it a priority to collaborate with higher education institutions so that university students are able to propose innovative solutions and techniques to address these problems. For more information, visit

Contact: Rachel Falek
[email protected]

SOURCE U.S. Department of State

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