Leadership Team

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President and CEO


Robert N. Kaplan joined the Inter-American Foundation as its president and chief executive officer on Nov. 1, 2010. He had spent the previous 16 years at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), most recently as chief advisor to the executive vice-president. From 1998 to 2007, as chief of the IDB's Division of Environment and Natural Resources Management for Mexico, Central America, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, he was responsible for a loan portfolio exceeding $2 billion and for $60 million in grants for technical assistance related to agriculture and rural development, potable water and sanitation, the environment, risk management and municipal development. Kaplan spent six years at the World Bank, including as the first head of the Pilot Program to Conserve the Brazilian Rain Forest, a $250 million program of grants and technical assistance initiated in 1990 by world leaders of the Group of Seven. As a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps in Paraguay, he worked in rural sanitation. He has degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Princeton University and speaks Spanish, Portuguese and conversational Guaraní. 




Office of External and Government Affairs

Manuel Nuñez joined the IAF in 2011 as Managing Director, External and Government Affairs. Prior to the IAF, Nuñez spent more than fifteen years with Merck & Co. Inc. While at Merck, he held numerous positions of increasing responsibility within both the U.S. and international sales and marketing organizations that included sales, business analysis, integrated marketing communications and brand management. Before his departure he led global consumer marketing and public affairs for the HPV vaccine franchise and was responsible for creating and implementing the company’s first global, mass media, solution-seeking consumer campaign. He also directed the identification of corporate marketing partnerships and associated business development opportunities in the Asia-Pacific, Eastern European and Latin American markets. He is the recipient of numerous company and industry awards including the Medical Media & Marketing Gold Award and the Healthcare Marketing Association International Gold Award. He serves as adjunct professor at the Villanova School of Business and is the former chair of the Villanova Center for Global Leadership Advisory Council. In 2010, he was awarded the Rev. Joseph C. Bartley, O.S.A. Alumni Medallion, the highest distinction the business school can award to an alum. He is a founding partner of technology venture Adherence Solutions Group and serves as a member of the board of directors at staffing company Patient Ready Clinicians. Mr. Nuñez received his B.A. in Biology from Eastern Mennonite University, earned his MBA with concentrations in international business and marketing from Villanova University and completed his post-baccalaureate at the University of Pennsylvania.




Office of General Counsel

Paul M. Zimmerman joined the IAF in January 2012 as its general counsel and chief legal officer. He has over twenty years of experience as an attorney for the federal government and in private practice, having served as counsel for the United States Department of Justice, Peace Corps, The Nature Conservancy and Bredhoff & Kaiser, PLLC. He was the founding president of Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest, and he directed the Washington, D.C., office of the national non-profit Playworks, which partners with low-income schools to teach students a range of life skills through physical play and sports. He received his undergraduate degree from Brown University, where he majored in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, and received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. He studied at the Federal University of Bahia in the northeast of Brazil and has worked and traveled widely in Latin America. Paul began his legal career as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Reena Raggi on the United States District Court and the Hon. Frank Coffin on the United States Court of Appeals.




Office of Grantmaking and Portfolio Management

Marcy Kelley, who joined the IAF in 2003, became its managing director for grantmaking and portfolio management after serving as its representative for Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico and Panama. Before coming to the IAF she was employed by the United States Peace Corps as its country director in Ecuador. During the 1990s, she worked for six years in West Africa and for two years in Washington, D.C., on programs for women in rural development and microfinance. From 1984 to 1988, she was based in Costa Rica as the regional director for a project undertaken by a U.S. nongovernmental organization to encourage the involvement of women in business, and she managed a portfolio of programs extending credit to women in El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica. As a Peace Corps volunteer, she served in the Dominican Republic. Kelley graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in business administration and received an M.A. in public administration and women’s studies from The George Washington University. When not working, Marcy enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading a good book, gardening and riding her bike.




Office of Networks and Strategic Initiatives

Steve Cox, the IAF’s managing director for networks and strategic initiatives, has spent 36 years in international community development and environmental management. He returned to the IAF in June 2011 as vice president for programs after serving in senior executive positions with the Ford Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, the World Resources Institute, INCAE and Fundación Acceso, a nonprofit organization that he founded in Costa Rica. He began his career with a Guatemalan organization developing potable water systems for indigenous communities and has worked with the World Bank, the United Nations, the Global Environment Facility, CARE, the Oscar Arias Foundation, the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Cox has been a guest lecturer at Columbia University, Duke University, the University of Maryland, the University of Minnesota and Notre Dame and has served on several boards of nonprofit organizations. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese and has resided for more than half of his professional life in Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru and Guatemala. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in in Latin American economic development and received a master's in public policy from Harvard.




Office of Operations

Lesley Duncan, the IAF’s chief operating officer since September 2013, oversees information technology as well as the management of budget, personnel, audits, facilities and procurement functions. She came to the IAF from the U.S. Agency for International Development where she was a regional advisor on education based in Almaty, Kazakhstan. From 2002 to 2011, Duncan served with the U.S. Peace Corps as country director for Bulgaria and as administrative officer in Thailand. She also worked for the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and East Timor. Previous experience includes administering programs for the California court system related to jurors, interpreters and judicial budgeting and advising rule of law programs in Nigeria and Central Asia. As a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps, Duncan worked with the staff of Paraguayan Ministry of Agriculture to improve beekeeping. She graduated from American University in Washington, D.C., and received an M.A. in public administration from the University of San Francisco. She is certified as a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management of the National Center for State Courts. She speaks Spanish and Thai.