Brazil’s CASA Communities initiative brings philanthropy to the local level


Emily Hurley


CASA, a regional grassroots grantmaker, has developed a community initiative to support local groups in Brazil. The CASA Communities project embraces the idea of community philanthropy and its focus on amplifying the voices of local people, organisations and communities.

In 2017, the Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF), which supports community philanthropy worldwide, provided a grant for the initiative, including workshops on community philanthropy.

The workshops for its Brazilian partners focus on specific strategies to encourage local power through ‘self-organization and asset mobilization’, according to the GFCF’s website.

The process has been documented by CASA so that community philanthropy gains momentum in Brazil and elsewhere.

Community philanthropy combines asset development, community strengthening and trust so that the focus is on community, as opposed to conversations about wealth or institutions.

The workshops teach the importance of resources and power at the local level, offering an alternative to top-down development approaches, according to the website.

Despite the presence of community foundations in Brazil, the concept is not as well known among other audiences.

CASA plans to continue its grantmaking across six South American countries with the support of the Inter-American Foundation. The GFCF has also made recent grants in Mexico, Mongolia, Zambia and Germany.

For more on community philanthropy, see the Alliance 2016 December issue guest edited by Jenny Hodgson, the executive director for the GFCF.

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