Helena Hofbauer Balmori is the Regional Representative for the Ford Foundation, directing the Mexico and Central America Office in Mexico City. In this role, she provides direction and strategic oversight to the office, "focusing on the premise that governments at all levels must serve the broad public interest and ensure that all people—particularly the most marginalized and underrepresented populations—are treated equally under the law."
The Ford Foundation's mission is to "reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement."
Before joining Ford in 2015, Helena spent eight years as the Manager for Partnership Development at International Budget Partnership, an organization that works to reduce poverty and improve quality of governance by helping civil society groups analyze and influence public budgets. From her office in Mexico City, Helena worked in 20 countries with more than 40 nongovernmental organizations to increase their advocacy role in government policies and budgets through access to grants, technical assistance, mentoring and networking opportunities.
For example, Helena helped South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign encourage the government to provide more funds for anti-retroviral drugs for people with HIV. She also supported India's National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights in monitoring the use of public resources for the country's Dalit population.
"A budget is a key instrument for a government to realize its citizens' civil, political, social, and economic rights," Helena says. "While many people view budgets only as technical and fiscal issues, I see them as tools for social justice and human rights."
In 1999, Helena founded and directed Fundar, Centro de Análisis e Investigación (Center for Analysis and Research), an advocacy research institute that promotes democracy and human rights in Mexico.
Updated February 2018.