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Jaqueline de Camargo




The main assumption of the author, Jaqueline de Camargo, is that there is a place
for a strong Community Foundation movement in Brazil; that the already existing
community foundations and community foundation-like organizations in Brazil are
carrying the seed of this movement [adapting the Community Foundation concept
for local, regional and national realities]; and that it should be fruitful to broadly
engage community leaders and youth leaders, in a systematic and systemic way, to
promote this in the country. Such a movement, improving the conditions for
sustainability and autonomy for social initiatives, would strengthen the perspective
of “social justice” that nowadays, according to the author, is one of the most
relevant aspects of the concept of community foundations. For this, some
recommendations are made proposing the “action-learning” methodology, broadly
including perspectives and knowledge of community social investments

This paper may not be cited or quoted without permission of the author

Executive Summary

The community foundation is a concept explored worldwide as a good vehicle for

donors to invest resources within a sustainable perspective as well as a vehicle that
looks to address community needs. The community foundation concept has raised a
genuine global “intellectual curiosity” amongst practitioners and social leaders.

The main purpose and assumption of the paper is to demonstrate that there is a
place for a strong community foundation movement in Brazil; that the already
existing community foundation and community foundation-like organizations in
Brazil are carrying the seeds of this movement [adapting the Community
Foundation concept for local, regional and national realities]; and that it should be
fruitful to broadly engage community leaders and youth leaders in a systematic and
systemic way, to promote this in the country. These assumptions are based on the
fact that there is real interest in it in addition to the engagement of important third
sector leaders in Brazil with this concept of the Community Foundation. Brazil‟s
third sector movement would benefit from such a conceptual frame, building
alternatives to improve “social justice” issues like social inclusion, which is one of
the most important gaps in Brazilian culture and to which the third sector has
aimed its contributions.

The paper suggests that “community philanthropy” should be translated to

“community social investment” as, in countries like Brazil, “philanthropy” has
attributes related to creating dependence-donations, without any objective to
transform reality.

The paper proposes that for such a community foundation movement in Brazil,
some important challenges should be met such as the strengthening of autonomy
through the creation of endowments in a country with no relevant and well-
structured tax incentives and the need to influence legal frame for community

To take into account that some of the less well known organizations [and Grass-
roots leaders] have a strong potential to operate in a community foundation
adapted frame, as they already operate in community-philanthropy or, in a
“community social investment” model, are also a challenge which the paper
proposes to explore.

Looking for the inclusion of a wider range of social actors, like youth
representatives, who have enormous potential and wish to be part of the solution of
social problems, but who have been much more “receivers” of private social
investments to/for them than partners of social change, is an opportunity identified
by this paper.

As a method of research, besides a deep immersion in the International Senior

Fellowship Program, the CFC – Community Foundation of Canada 2008 Montreal
Conference provided several meetings and readings that served as a source of
knowledge. It permitted the fellow to constantly re-order and re-structure some
assumptions as well as the previously planned research. During the CFC
conference, a special meeting was organized by the author, with some CF

individuals and organization leaders in Brazil. This meeting definitely proved to be
an effective method and strategy for the research.

Finally, some recommendations are made for a systematic and systemic approach,
proposing an “action-learning” methodology, based on a vast bibliography and
experience to favor learning and interchange of knowledge processes. Such
approach is proposed as a method to favor the inclusion of the perspectives and
knowledge of community social investments stakeholders, for the strengthening of
a CF movement in Brazil.


It is important to acknowledge The Kellogg Foundation who supported me with a

grant to attend the 2008 Senior International Fellowship of the Center on
Philanthropy and Civil Society. It is imperative to acknowledge the complete team
of the CPCS and I would like to refer to the excellent debates led by the director
Kathleen McCarthy and the coordinator of International Fellows Programs, Barbara
Leopold; to Eugene Miller who cooperated with the research, and to Amal
Muhammad and Peter Waldvogel who were so helpful to the fellows team. My
Senior Fellows colleagues, Ekaterina Maksimova; George Varughese, LuAnn Lovlin,
and Sonia Schellino shared with me the challenges and the goodness of an
immersion program: I thank them. I want to show my deepest acknowledgment
and respect for the work developed by the consultants who were part of our
program and for the previous fellows, community foundations, and community
philanthropy and youth programs practioners; mainly the ones who gave the
fellows a tour and lots of valuable information. Among them, Andrés Thompson, the
Kellogg Foundation Director for the Latin American and Caribbean Region has
contributed to my development and reflections. I want to acknowledge as well the
Brazilian participants of the 2008 CFC- Community Foundations of Canada
Conference, in Montreal, who have accepted my invitation for a special meeting on
community foundation in Brazil. They are: Lucia Dellagnelo, the leader of ICom/
Florianópolis; Tatiana Akabane van Eyll, the IDIS – Instituto para o
Desenvolvimento do Investimento Social representative; Cinthia Sento Sé, the
coordinator of Affinity Groups of GIFE – Group of Institutes, Foundations and
Enterprises representative. Last, but not least, I want to thank Willem Rabbeljee,
my husband, who supported me in the research and has become a new community
foundation and community social investment partner.

“It is only when social justice is achieved for all citizens,
that foundations can legitimately focus all their efforts on charity”

Emmet Carson


Cleveland, U.S., 1914. A banker, going beyond the limits of his sector, developed a
strategy which would have deep social impact in the future, crossing barriers and
frontiers all around the world. It contained the characteristics of being both strongly
locally aimed at specific communities based in specific territories, as well as being
fluid as a concept, serving a range of diverse historical and social circumstances.

By a mechanism of structuring a community organization with a diverse and

reflective board, by building an endowment and addressing community needs, a
whole movement on community foundations was generated. Legislation in The U.S.
was modified to improve the mechanism and successful cases started to appear.

Community Foundations have been growing ever since in The U.S., Canada and in
many regions of the world, sparking the interest of practitioners and researchers.
Examples of its vitality are showing and present in regions such as Europe, Russia,
South Africa and Latin America2.

What has been so successful and has attracted so much attention for “social
cooperation” in the world? Being a good vehicle for donors to invest resources
within a sustainable perspective and also a vehicle that looks to address community
needs: what exactly is community foundation?

For Dorothy Reynolds, a Mott Foundation consultant: “[community foundation] is a

vehicle for the philanthropy of individuals, corporations and organizations that have
concern for a specific geographic area. It provides leadership in the community it
serves as an effective, independent arena for addressing difficult issues and/or
advocating for needed programs, services or policies.”3

As Eleanor Sacks, one of the community foundation global leaders, states: “The
community foundation concept is flexible and adaptable, able to meet current needs
and the changing needs of communities over time. It has shown the ability to
adjust not only to local conditions, but to local impact of change from external
sources, such as the ups and downs of economic cycles, the effects of globalization,
the decline of centralized, social welfare programs, and evolving political, cultural
and nonprofit environments. […] The adaptability of the concept makes it possible
for communities to mold it to fit their own circumstances.”4

See List of community foundations around the world, by Dorothy Reynolds, in the recent series: The
Balancing Act, The Roles of a Community Foundation, Edited by Charles Stewart MOTT Foundation,
Set. 2008.
REYNOLDS, D., The Balancing Act, The Roles of a Community Foundation, Edited by Charles
Stewart MOTT Foundation, Set. 2008 [Preface].
FLEURT, S. and SACKS, E. W. In: “An International Perspective on the History, Development and
Characteristics of Community Foundations” in WALKENHORST, P. [Ed.] Building Philanthropic and

For these characteristics and, I believe, because of the strong and true leadership
of its promoters around the world, community foundations have stimulated a
genuine “intellectual curiosity” in practioners and social leaders.5

Another community foundation global leader, Emmet Carson, referred to this

“intellectual curiosity” in his speech at the Symposium on a Global Movement for
Community Foundations in Berlin in 2004. Referring about the relevance of the
decision taken by CF of Canada, to address community foundations by “social
justice framework” Carson cites: “In short, a social justice framework necessarily
involves attention to issues of what, how, and who. The principle of fair and full
distribution of benefits and opportunities requires grantmakers to take into account
the nature of what they are achieving through their actions.”6

The approach from Community Foundation of Canada can illustrate how “social
justice” has been addressed in that country and can inspire other realities around
the world: “Powerful economic, social and political forces will be working against
social justice in coming years – increasing competition, new patterns of human
settlement and changing roles for government. Yet Canadians have the potential to
address the root causes of injustice through cross-community dialogue and
collaborative action. Together, they can adopt strategies for systemic change for
places, for people and for public policy. Governments will have to be part of the
process and part of the solution to social injustice. But they are not well placed to
lead the charge. The initiative will have to come from civil society […]. Charities and
foundations are likely to be the lynch-pins of these civil society efforts to mobilize
citizens to address the big issues […]”.7

Through the convening approach of Community Foundations of Canada, the

strength of a “social justice framework” to address social and local development
relevant issues is clear. Among these issues, it is possible to identify some of the
main themes of private- and corporate social investment, such as equity for race,
ethnicity and gender, social and intergenerational inclusion.

The main assumption of this paper is that there is a place for a strong community
foundation movement in Brazil; that the already existing community foundation and
community foundation-like organizations in Brazil are carrying the seeds of this
strong movement [adapting the Community Foundation concept for local, regional
and national realities]; and that it should be possible to broadly engage community
leaders and youth leaders in a systematic and systemic way to promote this in the
country. These assumptions are based on the fact that there is real interest in and

Social Capital: The Work of Community Foundations. Bertelsmann Foundation Publishers,

Gütersloh, 2001. [pp15-17].
An example of the interest of practitioners and academic researchers is the International Senior
Fellows Program at CUNY, The Graduate Center, Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society - CPCS, has
attracted fellows from several countries, interested in improving their work as leaders through the
community foundation approach.
CARSON, E. D. “The Road Not Yet Traveled: A Community Foundation Movement for Social Justice”.
Community Foundations: Symposium on a Global Movement. Berlin, Germany. December, 2004 [p.6]
[Referring to a paper written by the Centre for Voluntary Sector Research and Development for
Community Foundations of Canada‟s Project: Social Justice Grantmaking-Moving Beyond Traditional
Charitable Roles].
CFC – Community Foundations of Canada. Strategies for Social Justice: Place, People and Policy.
Prepared for Community Foundations of Canada by Judith Maxwell. September, 2006

engagement of important third sector leaders in Brazil with the concept of
community foundation and that Brazil‟s third sector movement would benefit from
such a concept, building alternatives to improve social justice issues, like social
inclusion, which is one of the most fundamental gaps in Brazilian culture, and to
which the third sector has aimed its contributions.


REALITIES: creating new circumstances

Andrés Thompson, the Kellogg Foundation Program Director for Latin America and
the Caribbean, asks if “the true community foundation would be a viable option in
the different circumstances of Latin America and the Caribbean?” By the term: “the
true community foundation” A. Thompson refers to a kind of organization that has
both “a grantmaking capacity and community responsiveness.”8

We can assume that the community foundation concept has convened leaders and
organizations around the world because of the "democratic appeal" referring to its
two main approaches, as expressed by Thompson: 1] being based on endowment,
evoking sustainability approaches and being donor-oriented 2] The other being
community-needs focused, evoking values of autonomy and accountability.9

Having analyzed initiatives, originated through partnerships and alliances in Brazil,

to promote local development in specific regions that strengthen community social
investments, Thompson questioned their sustainability and effectiveness after the
end of the project cycle , but affirmed their potential if the diversity of conditions is
considered. As he stated: “The clear conclusion is that community foundations are
not a model to be copied and replicated everywhere. Their feasibility depends on
the specific environment in which they are intended to grow and develop and, to
large extent, on the leadership capacity of the pioneer group”10.

However, if there is not “a model” to be replicated, there is a widely stated

concept: “Whether in Barcelona or Bombay, community foundations share common
features” which is the title of an interview with a Senior Advisor to the Synergos
Institute and to Advisory Committee of the World Bank Community Foundation
Initiative, Shannon St. John.

St. John was asked by The Mott Foundation about what it is in the community
foundation concept that resonates so well with people whether they are in
Rustenburg, South Africa, Togliatti, Russia or London, England. St. John answered:

THOMPSON, A.. “Community Foundations in Latin America. Can the Concept be Adapted?”. In “Focus
on Sustaining Community Philanthropy: Looking for New Models”, ALLIANCE, vol.11, number 1, March
2006 [pp 41-43] []
THOMPSON, A. Idem, pp- 41-43.
THOMPSON, A. Idem p. 43 A CPCS Fellow, Fabiana Hernández-Abreu [researcher of the Local
Development Program, Latin American Center of Human Economy, Uruguay], agrees with Thompson‟s
proposition. As she declares in her paper for the 2007 CPCS Emerging Leaders International Fellows,
“Community Foundations: a vehicle to endorse and sustain development processes taking place in
Colonia Uruguay?”: “[…] it is possible to think that the community foundations‟ concept can be utilized
to endorse local development processes, and to conclude that the feasibility of a community foundation
in Colonia [Uruguay] has to be discussed and imagined among Colonia‟s community and local
development stakeholders, by taking into account the novelties this model would bring with it.” [p. 3].

”I trace it back to an innate human characteristic, which is the philanthropic
impulse. […] What is fascinating about the Community Foundation form is that
there are a number of institutions in places as diverse as Barcelona and Bombay
that have grown up with the characteristics of community foundations – such as
people within a community giving to either a common pool or to individually-named
funds. Also, it‟s people giving to an organization that is governed by a group of
people reflective of that geographic area that gives for the benefit of that
community. But these organizations I am talking about have never heard the words
„community foundation‟. They never heard about this thing started in Cleveland,
Ohio, in 1914 until someone comes along and says, „Oh, you are a community
foundation‟. But that wasn‟t how hey started. It happens whether or not people call
it a community foundation.”11

The democratic approach of community foundations directs the debate to a widely

considered, relevant factor: the reflectiveness of the board and the values

“Using what we have, to get what we need” are the convening words of Linetta
Gilbert, the Senior Program Officer of Ford Foundation for the area Community and
Resource Development. She was referring to the Alabama Black Belt Community
Foundation serving the poor rural area of the state.

As Gilbert states: “[…] Two years later, and with much struggle to respect and
embrace the potential and actual contributions of the whole community, an excited
and engaged foundation exists. Its board has African American and White leaders,
young and retired workers, a university administrator, a local blues singer, civil
right activists, elected officials, civic and corporate leaders. Their goals are to
improve educational and economic opportunities in the 11-county area to ensure an
equitable community on the long term. Everyone is encouraged to give […]. The
question we, as leaders of philanthropic institutions, have the courage to ask is: „Do
we have the courage and vision to be the glue that brings diverse people together
to work towards their shared aspirations for equity, rather than a glue that keeps
far too many people stuck in conditions that deny their dignity and deprive them
opportunity and hope‟?”12

See St. John interview with Mott Communications Officer Maggie Jaruze at the Charles Stewart Mott
Foundation. August 2008
GILBERT. L. “Are we the right sort of glue?” in “Focus on Sustaining Community Philanthropy: Looking
for New Models”, ALLIANCE, vol.11, number 1, March 2006 [pp 31-32] [].
Linetta Gilbert, in a debate with the 2008 CPCS Senior Fellows, stated: “It is important support
institutions that are value based. Strategies can change, but not the values”.
Still according to the Boards and their roles in keeping alive the values of an organization, a community
foundation in Mexico – FES, Fondo de Estrategia Social, led by Marcela de Rovsar, developed a 4 step
model based on “a mix between a community foundation and a social venture programme” where the
board members have a strong participation in the development processes of projects and are „educated‟
for their board responsibilities. In: ROVSAR, M. O. in “Focus on Sustaining Community Philanthropy:
Looking for New Models”, ALLIANCE, vol.11, number 1, March 2006 [pp 31-32]
[] and in her presentation for the 2008 CPCS Senior Fellows.


WINGS‟ 2008 Global Report for Community Foundations 13 lists at least three
separate organizations in Brazil that are promoting community philanthropy
through community foundations and/or community foundation-like organizations.
They are:

Instituto Rio, established in 1995, being the first formal investment in the theme in
Brazil, started with the technical support of Synergos and a grant from Ford
Foundation and Avina Foundation14. In 2002, with the support of the Inter-
American Foundation and with the participation of a family and their company [Vera
Pacheco Jordão e Geraldo Jordão, and their company, Editora Sextante], Instituto
Rio raised around 1 million dollars and developed an endowment worth around
US$175,000. Instituto Rio has widely integrated with its in Rio de Janeiro, “by
supporting projects, intermediating actions and capacity-building for organizations
in the west zone, with a view to becoming an effective bridge to social
investment.15” Operating close to the “pure” concept, has the challenge to raise
more than $19 million to be sustainable as a community foundation using only a
percentage of its endowment. The Inter-American Foundation, WINGS, Global Fund
for Community Foundations and Fundazione Zegna [Italy] are mainly supporting
the growth of Instituto Rio as a community foundation.

ICom – Instituto Comunitário Grande Florianópolis, in Santa Catarina, has proved

to be a successful adaptation of the community foundation-concept. Established in
2005, it started operating its public activities in 200616 and has attracted resources
from global partners [Avina Foundation, Kellogg Foundation], but also local, from
companies, families and individuals. ICom integrates diverse social actors in its
programs, having created a “Board of Investors.” They developed two major
activities: a Community Social Investment Fund, which raises funds from local
funders to support social entrepreneurship among youth [with the technical support
of Ashoka]; and Projeto Fortalecer, to provide technical support to local NGO
leaders. ICom also developed a methodology launched in 2001 by Community
Foundations of Canada [Toronto Community Foundation] called “Vital Signs”17.
According to the WINGS 2008 Community Foundation Global Status Report,
“Endowment funds are a new concept in Brazil and many donors still resist the idea
of „immobilizing‟ resources in face of pressing social needs. ICom is working to
introduce the concept of sustainability, and demonstrate the need for long term

WINGS – Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support. 2008 Community Foundation Global
Status Report., September 2008. Researched and written by: Eleanor W. Sacks.
WINGS – Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support, Idem, p.82.
Vital Signs methodology has a high potential to raise significant data referred to community local
development, to share the information with community integrating all sectors, including local
government and generating a positive relation with community. ICom launched its first Vital Signs
report: Sinais Vitais, Florianópolis. Check-up Anual da Cidade, Relatório 2007 and it is the first
time a report like this is developed for a Brazilian city. For more information about Vital Signs see:;

social investment through different strategies” 18. A “Permanent Fund” has reached,
by now, the amount of US$ 13,823 or 4.05% of the total income in 2007.

IDIS – Institute for the Development of Social Investment19 which, since 1999,
started to develop a Community Philanthropy Organization [CPO] with the support
of Kellogg Foundation and the Inter-American Foundation. A CPO does not make
grants itself but establishes social nets to “identify community priorities and acts as
a broker and catalyst for bringing together community and individual resources in
conjunction with government money to tackle priority needs in their communities”.
Although, according to the community foundation Global Report, IDIS, through its
main leader, Marcos Kisil, has identified in a research paper that “the potential for
the development of community foundations has increased greatly in Brazil”, IDIS
believes that a “more supportive environment for philanthropy could be brought
about by studies and research which demonstrate the primary importance of
individual giving for community needs. Also, lobbying in the Congress for
community foundation-type organizations is a must”20.

The 2008 WINGS Global Report recognizes that interest in community foundations
has been growing for some time in Brazil. Besides the structured cases mentioned
in the report and, certainly, at least two more initial experiences among others, are
already starting and/or are contributing to the community foundation debate in

Fundação Tide Setubal, a family-foundation led by Maria Alice Setubal, which

develops projects in the region of São Miguel in the East Zone of São Paulo,
engaging the surrounding community directly and actively. The objective is to
“contribute to local development in a sustainable way, through the strengthening of
institutions and the empowerment of community”21.

Fundação Comunitária Baixada Maranhense22, an organization generated by an

integrated pool of projects coordinated by the social organization CIP Jovem
Cidadão – Formação, Centro de Apoio à Educação Básica, in Northeast Brazil. Led
by Regina Cabral, it is developing a plan, with strategic support from Kellogg
Foundation, to, among other objectives, support productive small projects and to
strengthen their capacity to generate social development, through two kinds of
funds: a permanent community fund and a fund to support projects. The group is
presently organizing a seminar to generate a debate about community foundation
and the possibilities as well as juridical constraints for the legal bases for Instituto
Comunitário Baixada Maranhense.

Other experiences could be mentioned, in this case agreeing with Shannon St.
John, as previously mentioned, that they would not be formally recognized as a

WINGS – Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support. 2008 Community Foundation Global
Status Report., September 2008. p.90.
WINGS – Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support. 2008 Community Foundation Global
Status Report., September 2008 p.95. To find out more about individual donors and philanthropic
attitudes of individuals in Brazil, see: SCHLITHLER, C.; KISIL, M.; OTANI CORREIA, T. Descobrindo
o Investidor Social Local. IDIS – Instituto para o Desenvolvimento do Investimento Social, SP,
Fundação Tide Setúbal. Relatório de Atividades 2007 – Participação Comunitária e
Qualidade de Vida. Atuação da Fundação Tide Setúbal.

typical “community foundation” being more “community philanthropy” [“community
social investment”] cases, but with a strong potential to organize and distribute
strategic funds for their community. Just because they do not know the name
“community foundation” does not mean that they don‟t carry the seeds of good
from and for their communities.

I am not suggesting, obviously, that all community based- or grassroots

organizations will work as a community philanthropy organization or in accordance
with the community foundation concept. Just imagine what Brazil potentially has in
terms of community philanthropy or community social investments, considering
their needs and capabilities to operate funds and be responsive to the community
needs and opportunities, since a “social justice framework”. This potential is more
or less hidden from our eyes which are often looking for structured models or which
are seeing only part of the potential of community social investments. As this paper
is proposing, there is a place for a strong community foundation movement in
Brazil; the already existing community foundation and community foundation-like
organizations in Brazil are carrying the seeds of this strong movement and it should
be possible to broadly engage community leaders and youth leaders, in a
systematic and systemic way, to promote this in the country.

One case is UNAS in the neighborhood of Heliópolis. UNAS is the Union of Groups,
Associations and Societies of the Residents of Heliópolis and São João Clímaco, in
São Paulo. Since its foundation in the 1970‟s, it works to organize the residents of
Heliópolis and to improve the quality of life for the population in the region. Their
actions are focused on matters like the right to housing and currently they also
work on education, sports, leisure, technology and professional education 23. UNAS
are located in the second biggest slum of Latin America, lead by a group of persons
from the community who raise money as well as human and political resources to
broadly address community needs. They are developing their potential to work
independently, as they were pretty much connected to political parties‟ interests in
the past. They did become more and more independent after the social
partnerships with Action Aid, which improved their quality and community
leadership capacity.

Also in São Mateus, East Periphery Zone, a group of 4 organizations and their 7
nucleons aimed at youth, have directed efforts to establish partnerships with each
other, and alliances with local corporate and public sectors to improve their
participation in the community, with an inter-generational perspective. They
created the São Mateus Social Responsibility Network - Youngsters in First Place.
This network was supported by Associação Caminhando Juntos – ACJ [the previous
name of United Way in Brazil]. One of the strategies of the Superintendent of
Projects was to invite and engage volunteers [from ACJ-UWB-associated
companies] with some of the skills needed for the specific project. They constituted
a specific Board for the project and were consulted to give suggestions and to
participate in the decisions of the local group. Together with the Superintendent of
Projects, the Board of the project and the São Mateus representatives, including
youth, had the possibility to educate the Board of the Organization about a more
“community driven” investment in projects.

23 This presentation of UNAS is part of ACJ-United Way Brazil 2007 Annual Report
and was translated by its Board Chair, Mark Vogt and his working team at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The main action by the São Mateus Social Responsibility Network, in 2007, was the
planning and production of FOCO - Annual Fair of Opportunities and Connections for
Youth. Among its local partners, there are: business organizations: Rotary and CDL
- Clube dos Lojistas [Shop owners‟ Club]; companies: SOS, IBRAM, Gê Assessoria;
government: Municipal District Office; State Secretariat of Social Assistance and
Development; State Secretariat of Work; State Coordination of Youth; SENAI
(National Service of Industrial Education); SEBRAE (Brazilian Micro and Small
Business Support Service); coordinators and youngsters from the social
organizations: Ação Comunitária, Ação Social, Associação Pe. Moreira, Centro
Social, Obra Social, Sociedade Instruções e Socorros, Bloco Amizade, Cemais; and
ACJ-United Way Brasil.

One of the manifestations of the community leadership of the group can be

recognized by the words of one of the São Mateus group, Flariston Francisco da
Silva: “Every social, educational, corporate investment or public action should be
concerned in generating human, social or economic development, with
environmental protection, generating autonomy and eliminating dependence. We
have to appreciate and learn how to work with the concept of integrated and
sustainable local development, where every citizen and every community is called,
encouraged, motivated and qualified to identify their main problems and potentials,
and plan, initiating change processes optimizing what is at hand and consolidating

The São Mateus group will have to work, however, to establish a structured base if
they wish to start a community foundation or want to become a community social
investment fund aimed at local development. Some of their structure can be
represented by the “critical factors” for the success of a community foundation that
were identified by Kathleen McCarthy 25: 1] entrepreneurial director(s); 2] donors
to tide the institution over its early years; 3] a local giving base; 4] projects that
resonate with the community; 5] an existing culture of philanthropy [or community
social investment]; 6] backstopping resources [umbrella organizations]; 7] buy-in
from constituents; 8] participation of associations like Rotary clubs and Chambers
of Commerce to broaden its base of supporters.

Some of these “critical factors” the São Mateus Group already has, or are
potentially present there, but they should indeed be considered in its complexity by
the group.

I believe that UNAS and São Mateus group carry the seed of a community
foundation. In previous discussions among their leaders, they also would like to
learn more about how to improve their knowledge about community investments
and building autonomy and sustainability for their community and youth projects.

The references to these “grassroots” experiences have the objective to exemplify

both WINGS‟ and Shannon St. John‟s statement about the vitality of the concept

ACJ-United Way Brazil 2007 Annual Report, coordinated by Jaqueline de Camargo,
Superintendent of Projects.
Kathleen McCarthy is the Director of CPCS – Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at The
Graduate Center, CUNY. The mentioned “critical factors” were listed by her during a learning session
with the 2008 Senior Fellows.

around the world and, in this case, in Brazil, as maybe several practitioners and
social entrepreneurs can recognize.


In June 2008, there was a meeting at ICom, Florianópolis, with a global

representation of community foundations. Besides ICom‟s staff and board
members, there were present: the GIFE General Secretary and Chair of WINGS,
Fernando Rossetti and the Coordinator of Affinity Groups of GIFE, Cinthia Sento Sé;
the group connected to Fundação Comunitária Baixada Maranhense; the main
leader of IDIS, Marcos Kisil; the Executive Director of Mexican Community
Foundation Frontera Norte, Karen Yarza.

The central presence of Monica Patten, Director of Community Foundations of

Canada was quite helpful to the community foundation debate in Brazil: besides
being a convener for the agenda of community foundations and social community
investments, she strongly agreed with the proposition that there was a need to
work collaboratively, thus improving contexts where there is still no established
culture of philanthropy aimed at community strategic investments.

Another meeting was meaningful for the purpose of this paper. In the context of my
learning process at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society of the CUNY
Graduate Center Senior Fellowship and as a Kellogg grantee, during the CFC 2008
Conference in Montreal in November 2008, I invited the attending group of the
Brazilian representatives to meet on this topic. In this meeting, 4 persons were
present: representing ICom [Lucia Dellagnelo]; IDIS [Tatiana Akabane van Eyll];
GIFE [Cinthia Sento Sé, the coordinator of the Affinity Groups]; and myself. There
was a good understanding among the group about how to strengthen the concept
of community foundations and community philanthropy in Brazil. Lucia Dellagnelo
spoke about her efforts to leverage community foundation concepts in our country,
with the support of Global Fund. She shared with the group the importance of an
approach on how to better explore and create a culture of giving in Brazil,
considering mainly the legal constraints and lack of support via tax incentives in
this area . All persons gathered recognized the present moment as important for
Brazil with reference to community social investments and how strategic it would be
for an organization in the country to be the base for a systematic approach to a
dialogue in the country.

In this case I would like to present a successful and possibly inspirational case
given by Barbara Leopold26 during her orientation for the CPCS Program to identify
successful cases of the implementation of a systematic dialogue for the
strengthening of the concept of community foundation and focusing on the
following question:

How to contribute to a more systematic and systemic dialogue about community

foundation in Brazil, as circumscribed in the equation: social investment and social

Barbara Leopold is the coordinator of the CPCS – Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
International Fellows Programs.

justice? How to improve a collective and shared learning about community
foundations and community social investment in Brazil?

The model case is illustrated by TUSEV [Third Sector Foundation of Turkey]. A

seminar was organized by them in 2006 with the following objectives: [1] Discuss
the viability of the community foundation practice and its adaptation in the Turkish
context [2] Introduce the community foundation practice and its various
applications across the world.

It was a one-day Seminar, with one-to-one approaches taking place before the
Seminar. They invited 70 national and international participants from every sector.
The following are the aspects considered at the debate: governance for
transparency and accountability; standards and criteria for allocating funds to
NGOs; gaining the trust from donors; tax incentives and legal structures; locality:
national or local?; how community foundations can make funds more accessible to
NGOs?; competition for donors?; in what ways are community foundations different
from or similar to existing practices?

TUSEV Seminar Recommendations can be summarized as follows: “learning by

doing” [Ellis Center]; pilot program [World Bank] in a place with good balance of
wealth and a good degree of “right” partners; clarifying legitimacy and taxation
[Synergos];not preventing innovations, clarification on “principles and values”, and
having a similar meeting in prospect locations for community foundations [Mott];
community foundation for “community development” [UNDP Turkey]; community
foundation as a mechanism one gives through and not gives to [T. Philanthropic
Fund and PwC Turkey]; look at existing community level organizations [CAF
Russia]; local commitment as a crucial factor [WINGS].

It is relevant to highlight the fact that one year after the seminar promoted by
TUSEV, a community foundation was established and registered in Turkey27.



As it has been explored by community foundation literature, and by this paper, one
of the pillars of the community foundation concept is the autonomy of communities
[since an endowment is built using a community‟s own resources/management].
The obvious advantage to supporting the autonomy of the social groups which are
leading and engaged in the promotion of the betterment of community, is that
other sources of financial resources do not always stimulate autonomy, these,
being, many times more connected to the donors point of view than to the
community perspective.

However, the issue “building autonomy” by “building an endowment” will have to

be adapted to cultural and legal frameworks, since in countries like Brazil there are
no relevant and well-structured tax incentives, making it difficult to raise money for
social purposes and for social strategic goals. It is imperative that umbrella

TUSEV. Community Foundations and Turkey: Summary of Conference and Working Group. 6-7
October 2006, Istanbul, Turkey.

organizations seeking to strengthen community foundations start a coordinated
effort to influence the legal framework.

In addition to the challenges of building sustainability and autonomy through the

constitution of endowments, the issue of “being inclusive” is a challenge as well. I
would like, also, to refer to important actors who should be considered and included
in the consultations and convening processes about community foundations in

Grass-roots leaders, as previously mentioned, and youth representatives have been

much more the “receivers” of investments, than partners in social change. In the
case of youth, there is a tendency for private social investments in Brazil to support
projects for them to start an early productive life, providing them with skills to
enter the work market. However, it is even more important that policies on youth,
such as those supported by the World Bank, “be directed to expanding
opportunities for developing the human capital of youngsters and their capacities as
decision-making agents, and also offer second chances to manage consequences of
bad outcomes that occur early in life”28.

Youth should be more seriously considered by social private investments and social
community investments as a source of social change.

It is important to mention that in Brazil a few organizations already have

incorporated this approach. Some Initiatives aimed at youth and social
entrepreneurship, like Ashoka [GMM] and IYF - International Youth Foundation
[IAM], for example, have been supporting projects to empower and include youth
as social change makers. These also include initiatives of GIFE members, which
have invested in youth, and their participation in the GIFE Affinity Group on youth
[GAJ]. Part of this group is represented by Institutes and other GIFE associated
members who have been developing relevant work in Brazil with youth as a field of
social investment and social development.

GIFE/GAJ has a seat on the Second National Youth Council (CONJUVE). Its
representative, Rui Mesquita Cordeiro, comes from the activist and intellectual
youth movement and he is Program Associate for Latin America and the Caribbean
Region at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Two examples will illustrate for Brazil, and for community foundations globally, the
opportunity for youth to be seriously engaged as actors who are “part of the
solution of social problems” and are included in decision-making processes.

First of all, it is important to mention the place and space youth occupied at the
2008 Community Foundations of Canada Conference29. Their presence was
amazing, not only as artists, singers and dancers, but also as being part of the
invited reflectors during this 3-day conference. But what particularly demonstrates
the effectiveness of their presence at the Community Foundations of Canada

World Development Report 2007: Development and the Next Generation, World Bank. 2006.
CFC – Community Foundations of Canada 2008 Conference. November 7-9, Montreal, CA.

Conference, were some sessions driven by youth and the presentation of a project
with strong presence of youngsters in its development in Vancouver 30.

There are several references about the engagement of youth in community

foundation literature. The Mott Foundation publication, The Balancing Act, highlights
the issue:

“A worldwide movement is developing that may help ensure the future of effective
grantmaking– involvement of young people as decionmakers and, in some cases,
fundraisers. The Youth in Philanthropy movement in the U.S. in the YouthBank
Programs that are emerging in Northern Ireland, Russia and Bosnia, give raise to
the hope that future generations will be sophisticated and effective grantmakers.

“The Mozaik Community Foundation in Sarajevo, Bosnia, has teamed with the
Community Foundation for Northern Ireland [CFNI] to scale up development of
YouthBanks in that country. Mozaik has secured local support from five municipal
governments for the local YouthBanks, and more than 50 young people are being
trained as grantmakers. Prior to this project, CFNI worked with the Community
Foundation Tuzla [also in Bosnia] to establish a successful YouthBank in that city.

“Not only are young people becoming involved in philanthropy, but also they are
ahead of most of their elders in terms of their global interests.

“Exchanges between YouthBank in Russia and Northern Ireland have taken place,
as have exchanges between the Youth Advisory Committee in Berks County,
Pennsylvania, and Togliatti, Russia.

“This is but the beginning of the international movement of Youth in Philanthropy

and bodes well for its future”31.

Through his work together with members of the youth movement, Rui Mesquita
Cordeiro demonstrates that “youth actually wants to take more part in the
discussion spaces and political debate in Brazil, and moreover, wants to discuss
public policy not only for the youth, but also policy aimed at the Brazilian society as
a whole”32.

Referring to his “responsibility of having been recently (April 23, 2008) chosen to
represent the group de Afinidade de Juventude (Youth Affinity Group) (GAJ) of the
group de Institutos, Fundações e Empresas (Group of Institutes, Foundations and
Company) (GIFE), at Conselho Nacional de Juventude (Counselor in the Second

For more information, see: Youth Vital Signs []. “Youth Vital Signs is a
youth-driven project, that gives fresh voice to the experience and knowledge of Vancouver youth aged
15-24. In: Vancouver’s Youth Report Card, presented during a specific CFC Conference Youth
Session, coordinated by Barbara McMillan, the Director of Regional Strategies for Community
Foundations of Canada. According to this project it looked like clear that there is a potential to address
“social justice” issues and to favor inter-sector and inter-generational partnership for “local
REYNOLDS, D., The Balancing Act, The Roles of a Community Foundation, Edited by Charles
Stewart MOTT Foundation, Set. 2008 [Highlights].
MESQUITA, R.C. “Political Impressions about the 1st Participatory Youth Conference for Public
Policies in Brazil” In:

National Youth Counsel) (CONJUVE)” Rui Cordeiro lists the voted priorities which
clearly show the potential connection between youth and social justice movements.

Since CONJUVE does not reflect a specific geographic area, but the whole nation, it
is made up of meaningful communities that reflect, if not geography, communities
of identities. The purpose of referring to this movement here is to indicate the
vitality of a segment of population which represents almost 50 million persons
(between the ages of 15 and 30) who should be increasingly included in decision-
making processes.

“…With 634 votes, racial equality was number 1 among all the priorities at the 2008
Youth National Conference. The most important discussion-points in such
meeting[s] were related to strengthening of racial justice policies for new black
youth generations. [..] The message is clear: let us all open our eyes to the theme
of Racial Justice!

[…] “Similarly, but not less importantly than such 22 top priorities, another cross
theme that is more connected to the Legislative Power than to the Executive Power
echoed unanimously in all the National Conference, and among all the different
youth groups: that the National Congress should discuss and approve the Proposal
for Constitutional Amendment 138/03, also known as the Youth PEC. [My
comment: This project has been recently approved in its first phase].

“[…] After all, young people do not only want to voice their opinions on public
policies relating just to young people, but also on those relating to society as a
whole. And the reason for this lies precisely in the fact that the current
generations of young people are not merely inheriting from the previous generation
the problems and a responsibility of policies for young people, or for society as a
whole, since the new generation always completely takes on the role of the
previous one, and not just sections of it”33.

Approaches which will build bridges among the sectors, generations and diverse
social groups could really bring some answers the country [and Social Responsibility
Movement] are looking for, to overcome some of its greatest challenges of being
one of the most unequal countries in the world: rich in natural resources, a growing
economy, but with race and gender deficits clearly reflected in the most important
indices such as education, health and distribution of wealth.


ACTION-LEARNING PROCESSES: ways to make it happen;
some recommendations

Finally, considering the previous analysis of the TUSEV case, following the
recommendations and main tendencies already in process to implement the concept
of community foundations in Brazil and integrating some of my previous
experiences, I can identify four potential steps that refer to a methodology that has
been successfully used to favor learning processes among persons and
organizations in development contexts34.

The methodological steps reflect, in the context of this paper, a technical approach
to the three main assumptions the paper underscores: [1] there is a place for a
community foundation movement in Brazil; [2] the already existing community
foundations and community foundation-like organizations [or community social
investments] in Brazil are carrying the seeds of this strong movement, adapting
the community foundation concept for local, regional and national realities; and

This methodology was applied by Instituto Fonte and Nucleo Maturi in the context of workshops to
promote “Interchange of Knowledge” among social organizations in the Program organized by ACJ-
United Way in Brazil. It reflects the Action-Learning process, according to the CDRA – Centre for
Developmental Practice []. The diagram indicated was selected from: Action Learning, a
Developmental Approach to Change. Adapted from Action Learning for Development: use your
experience to improve your effectiveness, by James Taylor, Dirk Marais and Allan Kaplan.

[3] it is important, as we move forward, to broadly engage, in a systematic and
systemic way, community leaders and youth leaders to promote the concept in the

It is evident for any social manager that there is not only one way to reach a good
or expected result. The recommendation of the “action learning” methodology to
structure a systematic process to implement the concept of community foundation
in Brazil comes from some previous successful experiences with learning processes
that I have had the opportunity to organize35.

This methodology has permitted me to contribute to learning processes that include

the perspectives and knowledge of persons, who are not only part of the
leadership, but also the persons who are simply beneficiaries of or general
stakeholders in the projects. Because stakeholders at all levels are heard and
engaged in the decision making processes, contributions to the final solutions are
equally systemic and effective.

In practical and concrete terms, the recommendations of this paper, following the
4-step action-learning methodology, are:

[1] Action [Demand for Social Justice and community social investment]: Which
significant things are already in place /concretized – such as, important community
foundation initiatives that have started and have connected global, offering space
to new experiences to emerge as part of solution for the demand for social justice?
The community foundation and community foundation-like experiences in Brazil
already operating and the ones which are starting up should be better known by
Third Sector community. Both GIFE and ICom meetings which reunited national and
global organizations and leaders in 2008, and the consultation developed by Lucia
Dellagnelo, ICom leader and Global Fund grantee, were important milestones and
reflect a multiregional and diverse scope of experiences in Brazil. The dissemination
of their proposals, involving youth groups and perspectives, by means of articles,
documents and communications will be highly fruitful, making clear to the third
sector community, the connection among these experiences and of all of them to
the two most relevant bases in the concept of community foundation: social justice
and social local development.

[2] Reflection [Social entrepreneur immersion; youth social-entrepreneurs

engagement; peer learning and knowledge exchange; affinity groups]. Umbrella-
organizations like GIFE which connect private social investors and is affiliated to
WINGS; foundations and agencies which fund and support community foundations
and community social investment initiatives like Kellogg Foundation; Synergos;
Avina; Ford Foundation; Mott Foundation and World Bank through Global
Fund/WINGS; organizations that catalyze others, such as IDIS; community
foundation and community foundation-like organizations and, starting community
foundation- and community social investments initiatives, such as the previously
mentioned [Instituto Comunitário Baixada Maranhense, supported by Kellogg
Foundation; and Fundação Tide Setubal]. Community foundation centers aimed at
practioners knowledge, such as the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, an

I refer to the learning programs I have had the opportunity to develop at MacArthur Foundation and at
ACJ – United Way in Brazil

Affinity Group, for example, could improve mechanisms for working collaboratively
to complement competencies and to improve opportunities in the field.

Some guide questions for this step: Do we know of any other experiences that are
useful here? How are they building trust for potential donors? How and who should
be broadly, but significantly, engaged? What do we share/ have in common, that
can be implemented and complemented if we were put together? What are the
means to allocate resources? Who, which organizations and/or groups are
potentially connected to our experience? Which of them could better represent and
reflect the movement in Brazil? In what ways are Brazil‟s community foundations
different/similar to existing practices in the sector? What/which contributions do
other significant actors in the field bring to the enterprise of strengthening
community foundation in Brazil? What legal structures could be better focused to
benefit community foundation and community social investments in Brazil in the

3. Learning: [Seminar]: Organizations and connected youth previously engaged in

the process to strengthen community foundation and community foundation-like
movement in Brazil and other organizations, practioners and social entrepreneurs
from countries where community foundations and social justice and local social
development have been a coherent experience, should be part of a seminar. They
should, then, engage other identified relevant actors which eventually would not
been involved yet, as decision makers [like youth and community- based leaders],
in questions such as: what other theories/experiences can help us to deepen these
learning? What kind of community foundation concept should be adapted for
Brazilian social, cultural, economic and legal contexts?

Such a Seminar would much probably look for some consensus about community
foundations in Brazil.

4. Planning: [Strategic Plan: “so, what does it mean in practice? “ ] Completing the
action-learning cycle, a new group and sub-groups formed after the experience of
social-entrepreneurs immersion; peer learning and interchange of knowledge;
affinity groups and seminar, being reflective on the diversity of third sector
organizations and movements aimed at social justice and social local development,
would develop a strategic action plan.


A strategic action plan, developed by a reflective group of representatives of

community foundation and community foundation-like initiatives in Brazil, with the
contribution of global, regional and community social investments leaders, including
youth representatives, will be the guide for a systemic and autonomous process to
improve community foundation concept in Brazil. It will reflect the belief of an
“innate human characteristic, which is the philanthropic [or community social
investment] impulse”36 , aimed at building community capacity to face the
challenges and the opportunities for social inclusion, with inter-generational, inter-
sector, multi-racial and social development perspectives. This is the main objective
of social leaders, but it also is what companies and corporate social responsibility
might look for and, what governments are about.

See p. 8, the referred statement of Shannon Saint-John.