CODESPA America is a Virginia non-profit corporation exempt from federal income tax under 26 U.S.C. Section 501(c)(3), and is eligible to receive tax-deductible donations. To view a copy of our exemption letter, click here.
CODESPA America was founded in 2013 by a group of American businessmen inspired by the exemplary work of Fundacion CODESPA in Spain. We finance and implement projects in close connection with our partners, Fundacion CODESPA in Madrid and Fundacio CODESPA Catalunya in Barcelona, to create economic opportunities for those living in poverty in developing countries, enabling them to provide for themselves, their famillies and their futures.
Our allocation of donations to project work reflects our mission to serve the poor above all. We adopt the same donor policy (click here) and firm committment to transparency of our partner, Fundacion CODESPA, which has a proven track record of using donations efficiently and effectively.
Fundacion CODESPA's financial statements are audited by KPMG and consistently show that nearly 9 out of every 10 dollars spent goes to project activities:
If you would like a copy of CODESPA America's latest annual return or related information, please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org, Attn: Disclosure Requirements, or if by mail, to CODESPA America, 1050 Connecticut Ave NW #66235 Washington DC 20035.
Bob is a seasoned executive with more than 40 years of experience leading profitable natural gas, renewable, coal and power generation companies. Educated at Manhattan College (Bachelor of Science w/Major in Economics | Honors) and receiving an MBA from Columbia University, he began his career with roles in mergers and acquisitions and business development at Shell Oil and General Electric. He went on to executive leadership positions in the energy industry.
Most recently, Bob was CEO at Accordant Energy, a fuel technology company that enables reliable and economical power generation with lower environmental impact.
Prior to joining Accordant, he was President and CEO of Beacon Generating, a private energy holding company with renewables, coal and gas fired generation portfolio interests. He successfully sold Beacon to EnXco in 2010 after developing renewable gas projects and partnering with CSX, Bechtel and Scotia Bank.
Before this, Bob had been a senior vice president with Columbia Electric where he was responsible for building an electric generation start-up into a Fortune 250 sized company.
Bob was also senior vice president of LG&E Power USA, where he developed, built and operated six cogeneration coal projects and led their international expansion.
Bert is President & C.E.O. of American Public Gas Association. Since stepping into this role in 2004, Bert keeps APGA resources focused on its advocacy efforts in Congress and at the federal regulatory agencies, growing membership, and enhancing communications and information exchange between and among members and policymakers.
Early in his tenure, APGA relocated its office from Virginia to Capitol Hill, expanded advocacy and communications resources, and created two new foundations that provide greater value to all community-owned gas utilities.
Prior to joining APGA in 1999, Bert worked on numerous energy policy issues including market transparency, gas supply, pipeline safety, energy efficiency, and other matters relating to the natural gas industry.
Before entering the energy industry, Bert practiced law in Northern Virginia. He received a law degree from George Mason University, a Master of Science in Business Administration from Boston University, and baccalaureate degrees in General Science and Environmental Studies from Coe College. He also holds both the Certified Association Executive (CAE) and Institute for Organization Management (IOM) designations.
In addition, Bert is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the APGA Research Foundation and APGA Security and Integrity Foundation.
Michelle Riestra serves as Executive Director for CODESPA America in Washington, D.C. where she manages and oversees the administration, programs and strategic plan of the organization.
Prior to joining CODESPA America, Michelle served as legal counsel advising Latin American allies on public international law and human rights issues. She also engaged in legal advocacy work at the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and related international institutions.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Riestra earned her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in legal studies from St. John’s University in New York. She subsequently acquired a master’s degree in public health from the George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health and her Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School. At GW Law, she served as a member of the student editorial board of the Federal Circuit Bar Journal and as a symposium editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. During her legal studies, Riestra also clerked with the Honorable Jay A. Garcia-Gregory, a United States District Court judge in San Juan, Puerto Rico and is a Blackstone Fellow. She is admitted to the bar of the District of Columbia. Riestra is fluent in English and Spanish.
Mario de Castro is a business and tax advisor to multinational public, privately owned companies, and investment funds (and their portfolio companies) operating internationally. He has been practicing in the area of international tax and corporate/business consulting and law for over 20-years.
Mario’s professinal experiences have ranged from advising and consulting on planning and structuring cross-border business transactions and private sector economic development projects in Latin America and other developing areas, to advising and assisting on corporate compliance matters, and supporting on international arbitration and litigation matters.
Currently, Mario is a Managing Director in Crowe LLP’s international tax services practice in Washington, D.C. He serves the firm’s National Tax Office, as a practitioner, advising clients on U.S. tax reform considerations impacting multinationals, as well as serving the tax practice on general transactional matters. Mario is one of the firm’s East Region International Tax Practice Leaders. In his role, Mario is also the firm’s U.S. delegate to the Crowe Global America’s International Tax Committee.
Prior to joining Crowe in 2017, Mario spent a combined 16-years with Deloitte LLP and RSM LLP, where he primarily practiced with those firms’ international tax teams in Washington, DC, Miami, and in South America. Additionally, Mario practiced law in Miami, Florida for several years with Jones Walker LLP, Gunster Yoakley PC, and a boutique international law firm in Miami, FL. While in law practice, Mario focused on international tax, corporate, and international transaction matters. Mario, his wife (Lili), and their six children live in Northern Virginia since 2007. Prior to 2007 they lived in Miami, Florida. Mario and his wife have lived throughout the midwest and southeast United States, as well as in Colombia, where they are both originally from.
Jose Ignacio is the long-standing and current Managing Director of Fundación CODESPA. He got his Master's in Civil Engineering at Universidad Politecnica de Madrid; and as in the General Management Program (GMP) at IESE (Universidad de Navarra), Madrid.
Since 2007, Mr. Padula is Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Stelac Advisory Services, LLC. He has over 28 years of experience in market analysis, investment banking and wealth management. Mr. Padula joined Deutsche Bank in 1994 and since 2000 he was Managing Director of Private Wealth Management and the Latin American Market Head and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Padula was also Deutsche Bank's New York International Office Head.
Mr. Padula is a member of the Board of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, the Miami Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of Modern Art Latin American and Caribbean Fund, International Trustee of the Museo del Prado in Madrid, on the Board of Trustees of the University of Navarra Museum and member of the US Board of Advisers of IESE Business School. In the past, Mr. Padula has served on the boards of numerous prestigious organizations.
Bill is an experienced and fully bicultural entrepreneurial leader in technology-intensive businesses, with a strong management background that includes high-tech start-ups as well as mature companies in the U.S. and Latin America. Having graduated from Cornell University with an MBA (1984) and a BS in Economics (1977), Bill is fluent in English and Spanish.
Currently, since 2005, Bill is President and CEO of Cobis Systems Corporation, Inc. (Cobiscorp), a 60+ year-old firm with 600+ employees that develops and markets mission-critical information processing solutions used by many financial institutions throughout the Americas. Bill became Cobiscorp's Chief Operating Officer after serving since 2001 as Founder and COO of MicroBanx Systems, LLC, a company dedicated to delivering software-as-a-service to microfinance practitioners, and subsequently merging it into Cobiscorp.
Previously, Bill served as Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) in Washington, DC; and as Vice President for Investment Management of CoMat, LLC, an international private equity fund. He also had a founding role in Washington Capital Partners and in Inter-American Merchant Investors, LLC, an international e-business and investment development firm.
Rod is the founder of the law firm, Nydam Law, and has over twenty-five years of experience as a corporate attorney including over seventeen years of experience in large international law firms. He was a partner in both Howrey LLP and McGuireWoods, LLP and also was an associate at Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, and Rogers & Wells (now Clifford Chance). He has worked with a variety of industries including energy, defense, real estate, high technology, hospitality, telecommunications, construction, health care, development finance, homeland security, serving as legal counsel.
Rod has also served as Associate Director of Private Sector Programs at George Mason University's School of Law's Critical Infrastructure Protection Program, working there as private sector liaison for public-private relations in the creation of a critical infrastructure protection network.
Rod holds a J.D. with a concentration in Business Law and Regulation from Cornell Law School, has authored articles and given lectures and speeches on business law, mergers policy and law and economics. Rod has received the American Jurisprudence Award in Contracts. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Economics and is a member of the BAR in Virginia, New York and Washington D.C.
Damian is the founder of MicroRate, the world's first rating agency dedicated to evaluating performance and risk in microfinance institutions and microfinance investment vehicles. As the oldest and most well-respected organization of its kind, MicroRate has also become the largest MIV evaluator in the industry. Before dedicating himself to microfinance, Damian worked for 25 years in the World Bank and its private sector affiliate, the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
In the past, Damian has been closely associated with a number of institutions that have played pioneering roles in connecting microfinance to capital markets. He has been president of Seed Capital Development Fund (SCDF), chairman of the Investment Committee of Profund, chairman of the executive committee of MicroVest and member of the executive committee of the Latin American Challenge Investment Fund, LA-CIF.
Eugene's experience of 43 years in the World Bank makes him a seasoned professional and a fully bilingual and bicultural expert in Latin America and international development. He served the bank from 1972-1999, working in multiple managerial positions in bank operations and as resident representative to Mexico from 1991-1994. He further served the bank since 2000 to the present in numerous consultancy capacities on development assignments with the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank as well as the European Union. Eugene is also on the Board of Directors of the 1818 Society for World Bank Retirees and has served, since 2005, as Adviser to the Holy See's Mission to the UN and the OAS, Eugene has a deep interest in Latin America and international development.
Eugene holds a B.A. degree in the natural sciences from Cambridge University, UK, a Ph.D. in organic geochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, an MA degree in biomedicine as part of a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, and an MA degree in moral theology from Christendom College.
Nancy is the Founder & Managing Editor of the Family Travel Network and President of Beacon Group Holdings, Inc., a diversified holding company that has operated businesses in the travel and publishing fields since 1988.
Nancy Schretter received her MBA from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and a B.A. degree from Wellesley College. She served as Vice President of Marketing for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and Executive Vice President of Venture Marketing Corporation, a Washington, DC marketing consulting firm. Nancy serves on the boards of the Darden School of Business and the Family Travel Association. She is also the Founder of Together for Good, a philanthropic organization that promotes giving back as part of the travel experience.
As an award-winning writer and editor, Nancy has served as a travel expert guest on television and radio programs, from local stations to nationally renowned TV shows. Nancy's insights on travel have been featured in leading media and many other print and online publications. She is also a frequent speaker and moderator at travel industry conventions, conferences and events.
Rolando Arrivillaga is a former World Bank economist with broad experience in structural adjustment, financial sector reform and development credit.
Mr. Arrivillaga has a B.S. degree in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.A. and doctoral studies in Applied Economic Research from Stanford University. He also completed an Executive Development Program jointly developed and delivered by the Harvard Business School, the Kennedy School of Government, Stanford University and INSEAD. He has over 30 years' experience in development work covering several countries in Latin America and Asia. He worked for the World Bank for 28 years, retiring as Manager in the Co-financing and Trust Fund Department and as a member of the World Bank's Resource Management Board.
Prior to his Bank Service, Rolando was an economic advisor in Guatemala dealing with rural development programs in land reform affected areas. At the World Bank, his operational work encompassed several assignments, including: lead loan officer for various countries in Latin America and Asia; Agricultural Credit and Principal Agricultural Officer; Environmental Coordinator for East Asia; and Chief of the Resident Missions in Bolivia and the Philippines.