The Inter-American Foundation (IAF) is an independent foreign assistance agency of the United States government, working to promote equitable, responsive, and participatory self-help development in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to Part IV, Section 401(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1969, "it shall be the purpose of the Foundation, primarily in cooperation with private, regional, and international organizations, to:
Strengthen the bonds of friendship and understanding among the peoples of this hemisphere;
Support self-help efforts designed to enlarge the opportunities for individual development;
Stimulate and assist effective and ever wider participation of the people in the development process;
Encourage the establishment and growth of democratic institutions, private and governmental, appropriate to the requirements of the individual sovereign nations of this hemisphere."
The guiding principles of the Inter-American Foundation are to support people, organizations, and processes; channel funds directly to the non-governmental sector; promote entrepreneurship, innovation, and self-reliance; strengthen democratic principles; empower poor people to solve their own problems; and treat its partners with respect and dignity.