Our Mission

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Border Community Alliance is bridging the border and fostering community through education, collaboration and cultural exchange.


We focus on accomplishing this pursuit in the borderlands region of Southern Arizona/Sonora, Mexico. We are inspired to share with the public the good news of civil society in the international borderlands region.

Photography: Rocio Preciado

Photography: Rocio Preciado

Photography: Robert Castagna

Photography: Robert Castagna


501(c)(3) Charitable Nonprofit Organization

We are a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. We have no religious or political affiliations. We depend on donations and grants for funding. BCA was incorporated in the state of Arizona and our board members reside in southern Arizona. Our advisory board consists of people from different backgrounds. Border Community Alliance is based in Tubac, Arizona, a community forty miles south of Tucson and twenty miles north of the US/Mexico border.


Our Values



  • We believe in social investment to elevate a strong sense of international community, not charity.

  • We seek to listen and learn from each other, rather than presume we know it all.

  • We respect the cultures and traditions of both Mexico and the United States and advocate for wider public knowledge.

  • We value working together with like-minded organizations and individuals on both sides of the border.

  • We welcome participation in our programs regardless of one’s viewpoint of immigration.


Our History


Binational Relationships

Border Community Alliance grew out of relationships with people who wanted to promote binational relationships between non-profit organizations. They sought to encourage a more balanced narrative about Mexico to replace the media’s narrow focus of drugs, violence and immigration.

From the beginning, BCA has had a close relationship with FESAC, a Mexican community foundation. Through this and other partnerships, BCA’s program was created, including the cross border tour program, the Borderlands Forum and student internship program. Classes and events such as Michael Dear’s presentation on his book Why Walls Won’t Work have been offerings of BCA from the beginning.


Bob Phillips is BCA’s founding Executive Director. In the fall of 2015 Bob transitioned into the role of Founding Director and Senior Consultant and in January 2016 Jerry Haas became Executive Director and Co-Chair of the Board with Marty Bronstein.  

In 2016 BCA initiated a new program for young people under the leadership of Charlie Cutler. Charlie had been a touring tennis pro before returning to academia for a master’s in international human relations. Eager to learn about the border, Charlie interned with BCA and began to reach out to kids through tennis. The Border Youth Tennis Exchange (BYTE) was launched, with young people from both sides of the border participating in sport and academic education. Two years after it began, BYTE is now a separate 501 c 3 non-profit organization, providing visionary leadership for Ambos Nogales.

In the fall of 2017, BCA hired Alex La Pierre as Program Director. With his background in the National Park Service, Alex was well-suited to shape and guide BCA’s cultural program. In one season, he led more than 40 cross border tours and taught half a dozen classes with excellent response. In the spring of 2018, Alex and friend Luis Valle, an architect born and raised in Spain now living and working in Hermosillo, Mexico, led a non profit benefit tour to Northwest Spain, tracing the Camino de Santiago.


New Programming

BCA is continuing to develop new programming. The upcoming season promises to be packed with many opportunities to learn about our neighbor to the south and gain a greater appreciation for the unique history, culture and environment of the borderlands.


Our Partner: FESAC

FESAC & BCA directors: Alma Cota de Yanez and Jerry Haas

FESAC & BCA directors: Alma Cota de Yanez and Jerry Haas

BCA’s Sonoran Partner FESAC

Border Community Alliance grew out of relationships with people who wanted to promote binational connections between nonprofit organizations. From the beginning BCA has had a close relationship with FESAC, a Nogales, Sonora based community foundation.  This unique arrangement allows us to provide pass through donations to FESAC and to specific NGO community organizations that BCA/FESAC supports. We strongly stand with FESAC in the elevation of local community by changing the narrative from charity to social investment.

Fundación del Empresariado Sonorense A.C.  or FESAC, is an independent community foundation integrated by the Mexican state of Sonora’s business organizations with a council formed by Sonoran businessmen.

As a civil association (A.C.: Asociacion Civil), it is  philanthropic in character, private and autonomous, without political affiliation, religious denomination and non-profit. FESAC is dedicated to meet the most pressing needs of the community,  to generate opportunities for development and improve the quality of life of Sonorans.


Director of FESAC Nogales

Alma Cota de Yanez

Alma Cota de Yanez was born in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, and graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the Technological Institute of Monterrey (ITESM). Alma began working with NGOs as a part time translator for Save the Children during her university studies.  Since January of 2003, Alma has served as Executive Director for Fundación del Empresariado Sonorense AC (Nogales Chapter). Since taking charge of this position Alma has overseen FESAC becoming the local leader in mobilizing resources and education in philanthropy for donors (individual and corporate), government agencies and NGOs.  FESAC works to promote civil society, philanthropy, culture and a NGO network. As a result of this work, FESAC has helped Nogales, Son. to work towards the objective of improving the quality of community life. FESAC works in close partnership with the Border Community Alliance in Arizona on a variety of cross border programs.


Examples of

FESAC/BCA NGO Social Investment Network  Projects

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Albergue San Juan Bosco

A shelter that has been family run for decades and which offers temporary housing, meals, religious services and access to further social resources to deported migrants as well as people who are about to journey into the US.

Learn more here and here.


ARSOBO Project

A revolutionary organization in the region, Arsobo is redefining what it means to be “disabled” in Nogales, Sonora. ARSOBO’s mission is assisting in alleviating the physical, psychological, and economic barriers faced by individuals with disabilities by providing appropriate, adaptive-technology, low-cost, assisted devices that improve access and participation in their communities.”

Learn more here and here.


ATIC: Agencia para el Tratamiento Integral de la Conducta

ATIC is a young and innovative civil association, focused on training parents for the behavioral management of their children, including autism. Their mission is to provide services with comprehensive treatment for the development of different skills in children with behavioral difficulties.

Learn more here.


DEIJUVEN Community Center

DEIJUVEN Community Center offers an array of services in one of the city’s most impoverished areas where  the youth of Nogales can come to learn and play.

Learn more here.


BCA Board of Directors

Nonprofit Border Community Alliance is organized and managed by an all-volunteer board of directors.


Jerry Haas

BCA Executive Director

Jerry is a retired United Methodist minister who has worked as a chaplain, pastor and denominational executive in multi-cultural and international contexts. He values the importance of non-profit organizations and loves BCA’s inclusive focus.

“I have lived in Arizona for twenty-five years but while I knew the challenge of the border, it was only through BCA that I began to hear what Mexicans are thinking and doing and how we can work together. For that I am very grateful.” - Jerry


Martin (Marty) Bronstein

BCA Board Vice Chair

Marty’s career spanned over 30 years in Information Technology.  His last position was Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Office for Bank One’s (now known as JP Morgan Chase) Commercial Bank.  In previous roles he managed various aspects of the bank’s data centers, telecommunications and application development. Marty holds an MBA in Computer Science and a BA in Political Science.

“I became involved with BCA in 2014 after going on one of their Cross Border Tours.  I am interested in the activities on both sides of the border and wanted to get involved and help to educate people on the benefits of these cross border endeavors.” - Marty


Diane Brooks

Board of Directors

BCA InTernship Coordinator

Diane is a retired Nurse Practitioner who lived and worked in San Diego for 23 years. She now lives in Tubac full-time where she volunteers for the Tubac Center for the Arts, Valley Assistance Services, the Tubac Historical Society and the Lowe House Project as well as BCA where she serves as Secretary.

“I believe that peoples all over the world share common interests and feelings.  Since I can remember, I have wanted to be involved with other cultures, sharing those interests and feelings.  BCA allows me to be involved and, perhaps, bring about any needed change through that sharing.” - Diane


Susan Scott

Board of Directors

BCA Secretary

Susan moved to Sonoita, AZ 16 years ago after a long career in the human resources field in San Francisco and Seattle. According to her, part of the enjoyment of retirement is giving back to the community and she participates in several local non-profit organizations. Having had the opportunity of travelling throughout Mexico she believes experiences and education help us to bridge our differences and find commonality.

“BCA is a perfect fit for me.  Its mission aligns with my own values. Through them I look forward to the opportunity to give others the experience of getting to know and understand our southern neighbors better.”  - Susan   


Nancy Bennett

Board of Directors

Nancy Bennett is a native of Arizona, a retired librarian and a former Peace Corps Volunteer.  She holds a BA from the University of AZ, and a MLIS from Dominican University in IL. Beyond her careers and her family, her primary activities have focused on preservation of the environment, literacy, and issues of social justice. Nancy became a Tubaqueña in 2012. She finds special pleasure in the vibrancy of its multicultural community and in the beauty of its physical setting.

“I was drawn to BCA because it provides so many opportunities for both Arizonans and Sonorans to see one another not as, "so near, and yet, so far" but as, "so near, so interesting and so enjoyable." - Nancy


Patricia L. Trulock

Board of Directors

Borderlands Forum Coordinator

RN, MSN, MBA Home Health Nurse Case Manager

Pat has worked as a professional nurse in home and community based services for 40 years. Her interests include volunteering with not for profit community organizations and faith based organizations that aim to improve individual, family and community health.

“As a BCA board member I have the opportunity to work collaboratively with individuals and binational organizations with common goals and values.” – Pat

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Cecilia Quade

Board President & Volunteer Coordinator

Cecilia recently retired to Southern Arizona after a fruitful career in nursing specializing in Palliative Care, administration, and Hospice in faith based health care systems.  The mission and vision of BCA is very congruent with her personal and professional belief system. She became involved in BCA after witnessing the impact we have on both sides of the border changing viewpoints of what is really currently happening.

“I support BCA to give back to my community in an organization that promotes human values congruent to my belief system.  BCA with its belief in social investments, promotion of dialogue in the border region is opening minds and opinions regarding the beauty and cultural richness of the desert southwest on both sides of the border.” – Cecilia

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Lawrence T. Mello

Board of Directors

Larry Mello is a native New Englander who migrated to the warm and dry after serving in leadership roles in numerous local, state and national educational institutions and agencies. For the past 30-plus years, Larry has worked as an organizational development consultant, bringing leadership training and capacity-building strategies to help others focus and forward their mission, planning and goals. He serves as a volunteer in various community-based organizations. He often says that “Tubac found him” ten years ago and he is here to stay!

“The vision and goals of the Border Community Alliance are most consistent with my personal values and interests. Living close to the Mexican border has broadened my interest in the history and future of the borderland region. In my professional life, I have been committed to helping individuals, organizations and groups to develop collaborative strategies, create active partnerships and work together to foster their common goals. BCA really fits for me!”
– Larry

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John James

BCA TReasurer

John is a retired librarian with forty years experience working in administration and technology in libraries in the U.S. and abroad.  He holds graduate degrees from Colorado and Denver and has done post graduate work in linguistics at Indiana and MIT. John moved to Tubac in 2015 where he lives year-round and volunteers at the Tubac Center for the Arts, The Tubac Historical Society, where he serves as treasurer, and at BCA.

“I first became interested in the work of the BCA in 2016 after going on a Cross Border Tour.  I have a strong interest in the borderlands, our relationship with Mexico and its importance to our state and country.  I believe there is a great need, especially today, to increase appreciation and understanding on both sides of the border.  BCA offers volunteers an opportunity to be part of this important endeavor.” - John

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Jim Hoff

Board of Directors

Jim is a retired business executive and researcher currently residing in Tubac. He holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and architectural design as well as a Masters and Doctorate in Management Science. Through his company, TEGNOS Research, Jim provides consulting services to a wide variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations. 

“I became involved with BCA after deciding to live year-round in Southern Arizona, and I was impressed from the start. BCA is instrumental in educating both part-time and full-time residents about the unique contribution of our bi-national community to the culture and economy of both the U.S. and Mexico; and I strongly believe in its long-term mission to promote learning, communication, and mutual respect within this unique community.” – Jim


BCA Staff

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Alex La Pierre

BCA Program Director

Prior to Border Community Alliance, Alex worked for the National Park Service at Tumacacori National Historical Park. He has worked in the fields of historic preservation and interpretation at multiple National Park Service sites in New Mexico and Arizona. After attending a University of Arizona ethnographic field school in the Rio Sonora region, he became captivated by the depth of culture in Sonora and southern Arizona.

“I wanted to be involved with BCA because I admire the organization’s mission of becoming good international neighbors through the medium of education and by providing first hand experiences for people curious about life in the borderlands. I aspire to share why I consider this binational region to be so special with others.” - Alex

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Shauna Melvin

BCA Administration

Shauna was in the promotional advertising industry for 10 years before moving to Southern Arizona in 1998. She co owned The Produce Stop in Green Valley with her husband and in 2008 was called to a position as the Director of Christian Education at a local church also in Green Valley.  In 2016, Shauna joined BCA because she believes in the mission of fostering community with our southern neighbors.

“After taking a Cross Border Tour to Nogales, I was so moved by the good that is happening in Nogales, Sonora!! Unfortunately, most people have no idea!  Sharing this with others through the tours that BCA offers is truly a blessing. People helping people...so wonderful.” - Shauna



Bill Neubauer, Dan Anderson, Sherry Mullins, Steve Teichner, Russ and Blyth Carpenter, David and Janet Little, Marilyn Townley, Terry Wisner, and Wendy Knox


Russ Carpenter, Blyth Carpenter, Eva Maldonado, Zulma Barrios, Alma Cota de Yañez, Peg Bowden, Luis Torres, Michael Dear, and Nancy Montoya


Want to learn more about BCA?

If you are interested in learning more about BCA, volunteering or participating in programs and events, we’d love to hear from you!