A Letter from IYF's President & CEO
I’m writing to address a number of recent misstatements about Laureate Education and IYF. These misstatements mainly revolve around the position that former President Bill Clinton held as Honorary Chancellor of Laureate Education. Given our long and valued relationship with Laureate and with its Founder and CEO Doug Becker, IYF is finding itself caught up in some of these conversations.
The unfortunate realities of this contentious US Presidential election cycle mean that false statements and innuendoes about IYF, which were made in a partisan book published last year, are surfacing anew.
As President and CEO of IYF, I am immensely proud of the work that we do and the way in which we do it. I’m also proud of our association with Laureate, one of IYF’s many partners who shares our vision that educated, employed, and engaged young people possess the power to solve the world’s toughest problems. It’s encouraging that the respected Forbes magazine recently published a fair and accurate article on the matter. I would like to go a step beyond and outline the facts.
William S. Reese
President & CEO
CLAIM: “The International Youth Foundation (IYF) is a sister organization or an affiliate of Laureate Education.”
FACT: IYF is not now, nor has it ever been, a sister organization or affiliate of Laureate Education or any other organization. IYF is an independent 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization founded in 1990 and incorporated in the State of Illinois. IYF moved from Battle Creek, Michigan, to Baltimore in 1995. All of this occurred before 1998, when Sylvan International Universities, which later became Laureate Education, began.
CLAIM: “Doug Becker, in addition to running Laureate, is also the chairman of the International Youth Foundation (IYF).”
FACT: As with all reputable non-profit organizations, IYF is governed by a volunteer board of directors. IYF’s 14 board members receive no remuneration for their service, nor do any of them play an operational executive role. Doug Becker was elected to join the IYF board in 2003. Subsequently, in 2006, his fellow board members elected him to serve as chair of the board, replacing Sir David Bell. William S. Reese is the President and CEO of IYF, and has been running the organization since 2004.
CLAIM: “IYF is a recipient of favors and money from Secretary Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of the Department of State.”
FACT: IYF has been a USAID grant recipient under both Republican and Democratic administrations since 1999. Any and all public funds received by IYF (including USAID, State Department, and Department of Labor) have been awarded following all applicable federal and agency rules of procurement and related processes. All grants were awarded to IYF in support of its mission — with the majority supporting multi-stakeholder initiatives to help disadvantaged, unemployed young people get jobs in regions around the globe — including Africa, the Balkans, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. In fact, IYF was recognized by President George W. Bush and the USAID Administrator for its efforts to build successful and effective public/private partnerships dedicated to improving the lives of young people. IYF was awarded USAID’s 2007 Global Development Alliance Excellence Award for its entra21 program — an exemplary alliance that brought together resources from multiple public and private partners to leverage USAID’s funding for a workforce development initiative operating in 22 countries across Latin America between 2001–2011. Entra21 became the public/private partnership model for all subsequent IYF workforce development initiatives.
CLAIM: “The amount of (IYF’s) grants has exploded since Bill Clinton became chancellor of Laureate and during Hillary Clinton’s term as Secretary of State.”
FACT: IYF received its first USAID grant in 1999. Between 1999 and 2013, IYF signed a total of 27 cooperative agreements with USAID totaling $127m, the majority of which were to fund multi-year programs with funds being obligated over a 1 to 5-year period after the award date*. The largest of these awards was a five-year, $30.2m grant negotiated with the USAID mission in Jordan during the final year of the Bush administration (2008), and approved by the USAID mission director in March 2009. Of the remaining 26 grants, 13 (valued at $52m) were awarded prior to 2009 and 13 (valued at $45m) were awarded 2009–2013. IYF followed all applicable federal and agency rules of procurement and related processes in obtaining these grants.
In addition to USAID funding, IYF participated in an open, competitive bidding process for three US Department of State Mid East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) projects. Of the three IYF proposals submitted (totaling $4.5m), only one ($1.9m) was awarded in March 2012 for a workforce development project in Tunisia.
*The figures stated in Clinton Cash, and later cited by Bloomberg, appear to have been taken from the website, www.usaspending.gov. This website provides information on grants received by organizations in the year that the data were entered into the database by the awarding USGOV agency; not necessarily at the time at which the awards were made or the funds obligated.
CLAIM: “Laureate Education received money from the State Department via IYF.”
FACT: IYF has never made payment of any kind to Doug Becker, Laureate Education, or any Laureate affiliate.
CLAIM: “IYF runs numerous programs through Laureate.”
FACT: Laureate (via the Sylvan Laureate Foundation) and Doug Becker are donors to IYF, providing critical funding in support of IYF’s mission. Specifically, Laureate is today the largest of several IYF supporters partnering on YouthActionNet®, an IYF program originally conceived and exclusively funded by the Nokia corporation until 2005. YouthActionNet provides leadership training and other support to strengthen the impact of youth-led social enterprises around the world. Neither Doug Becker nor Laureate (or any Laureate affiliate) receives any funding from IYF.
CLAIM: IYF has acted with impropriety.
FACT: IYF complies with all federal, state, and local government rules of financial reporting for 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations. An independent accounting firm audits IYF’s annual financial statements, and IRS 990 forms are filed annually. IYF’s financial information is available for public review by visiting www.iyfnet.org/annual-report-financials. As a recipient of US Government funding, IYF undergoes required annual OMB A-133 audits and has never been cited for any impropriety. As a member of the NGO coalition InterAction, IYF strictly adheres to all their PVO Standards. In fact, IYF President and CEO Bill Reese helped to write these global standards of NGO transparency and accountability. IYF has earned a four-star rating (highest rating) by independent charity watchdog, Charity Navigator.
Here is what the Washington Post fact checkers have to say about the claims: Trump campaign’s claim that State Department gave $55.2 million to Laureate Education after hiring Bill Clinton - Four Pinocchios.
And PolitiFact also rated the claims False: Did Hillary Clinton launder millions of dollars while she was secretary of state?