Twenty years ago (1992) in Northern Virginia and the Washington Metropolitan area, a group of well-educated Panamanian women were interested in assisting with education, health and social advancement of those in need.  After many years of living in the United States, they wanted to promote diversity and cross-cultural understanding between people from U.S., Panama and Latin America.  The small group started meeting at their homes looking for ways of making a difference in society, by creating a mechanism to empower the poor, educate them on health issues and working skills, in order to improve their well-being and their contribution to society. 

The group was started by the initiative and leadership of Carlota Pardini Ellrodt, who believed that establishing a non-profit organization was the best option to promote social awareness of those in need, and create a mechanism to provide monetary assistance to social programs, in the Republic of Panama and the metropolitan area of Washington, D.C. Their main objective was to rely on fund raising efforts to provide monetary assistance for educational programs, advocacy services to charitable organizations, and services to health organizations. "This was a way for them to get together and share information." Carlota, who's now retired and continues living in the D.C. area and spends her time traveling around the world, recalls that many women from or with different ties to Panama joined quickly. The only requirement to becoming a member of Fundacion Panama is to be Panamanian, a spouse of a Panamanian or other person with ties to Panama who have a desire to help others, share an interest in learning about Panama, and donate some time to make our programs work in favor of those deprived. Currently, most of our members live between Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area, however we have some members in other parts of the U.S. as well as in Panama.

Our fund raising efforts were initiated with a Fashion Show of Panamanian brand garments "My Name is Panama" and "Modas Breevart". The event took place at the residence of the Panamanian Ambassador in Washington, D.C. Throughout the years, we have organized other fashion shows, "Noche Tipica", Afternoon Teas, Masquerade Ball, and several auctions at the Embassy of Panama. Also, we have enjoyed luncheons with tasteful Panamanian cuisine at the Interamerican Development Bank (BID); dinner galas at the Organization of American States; many dance receptions in various hotels of the area, including a dance with Osvaldo Ayala and his group brought directly from Panama. We also have the tradition of celebrating the Panamanian mother's day – December 8th _ by donating a basket with baby items to the first new born of the day alternating each year between a baby girl or baby boy born to a needy family in a D.C. hospital. In addition, we collect toys for kids of low income families and distribute them every year prior to Christmas to one of the D.C. local organizations .
We are very grateful to all the sponsorship of the Embassy of Panama, the support of the Organization of American States, as well as the contributions of the Interamerican Development Bank and the Panamanian Folkloric Group from Washington, D.C. (GRUPFOLPAWA), directed by Dr. Norma Small-Warren who not only has provided skillful folkloric dances entertaining our events, but also has held several positions as part of the Board.
During 20 years, Fundacion Panama, has celebrated different type of events with a threefold intention: socializing with members, their families and friends ; increasing donations, and expanding membership. Some of the highpoints for many years were the "Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show" in Broadway, N.Y., trips to "Pennsylvania in Summer"; "Picnics" in Virginia and Washington, DC parks;"Happy Hours";"Patio Sales," ; and social "Get Togethers" at members' residences.