The United States Ambassador Todd Chapman visit to Cuenca last week included an invitation to meet with Hearts of Gold staff members to learn about the vital work the foundation is doing to help strengthen community organizations and individuals.
Mr. Chapman, who has been U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador since Jan. 29, 2016, had heard about Hearts of Gold projects from members of Cuenca’s expat community during his previous visit here. The ambassador’s past experience as the Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique where he implemented more than $500 million in assistance programs in that country.
The Ambassador sent us a written invitation, and we were honored to accept,” said Natasha Verkley, executive director of Hearts of Gold. “We met for about an hour. Ambassador Chapman took an interest in what we are doing, and stated that he felt our approach was the correct one.” The meeting took place on March 2.
Verkley and Hearts of Gold Program Director Kelly Mitchell, who also attended, spoke about the foundation’s Community Assistance Program, that supports, inspires and educates community leaders and grassroots organizations and their staff to make their work sustainable, efficient and impactful. In addition to the Ambassador, his wife, Janetta, as well as John Wheeler, political/economic officer to the U.S. Consulate, also attended.
In addition to communicating their organization’s goals and objectives, Hearts of Gold staff was also invited by the Ambassador to attend the American Ecuadorian Chamber of Commerce luncheon the following day, where they were able to meet business leaders in the community and listen to Ambassador Chapman’s speech on the change in the political climate in the United States and its implications for Ecuador.