Connecting two resources: social investments and social work


Elaine Smith and Instituto Geracao

Elaine Smith

Elaine Smith

‘We are living in a world that is different from what we dream. Recently, we reached our limit and lots of us run to the streets to complain because we cannot stand the current situation anymore. Our dissatisfaction is because of a reality that lacks health coverage, education and transportation, there is corruption, lack of security and safety, lack of justice. And for some reason we feel less vulnerable in the streets, singing, celebrating a dream for a different future than our current reality.

‘At the same time that we are not satisfied, we are overwhelmed with opportunities, people, information, and we spend the day saying “I’m very busy”, “I’m overwhelmed”, “I can’t stand not having time for myself”. And this constant flow and our attachment to stuff, projects, people, also contribute to a feeling of disconnection inside ourselves. Not only do we feel segregated from the world, but also disconnected from ourselves, as if we are living in an auto mode,  or half asleep. It becomes a paradox because by dreaming of a different world, many times we end up losing ourselves and deepening that feeling of emptiness.

It is not only about challenges in a collective world, but also about us and our connection with what has meaning, what fulfil us, and makes us happy. The piling up of different possibilities for our lives and holding this journey of search and construction only happen if what moves us is this energy, clarity, commitment, creativity, passion that emerges when we connect with whom we really are and we no longer live what we expect and what others expect from us, so we become responsible for our own lives and choices.’

This was my opening speech in the launching of the Nexus initiative in Brazil, called ‘How your fulfilment manifests in a generation legacy’, with a dinner gathering 120 people to share a dream for transformation. The Nexus network started in the US in 2011 and already works in several locations in the world because of its ability and desire for transformation. A group of nine individuals organized this meeting in Brazil on 16 August, but the intention is to build something much bigger. It is a group of people that want to be together, for the bigger good. They think beyond themselves. In return the network receives what each of them has the power to contribute. The individuals are people that  work in civil society in organizations or initiatives with different causes or themes, including human rights, environment, education, income generation, arts, sports, politics… everything.

They also include people from the main family businesses in Brazil that want to participate in this transformation. It is a group that is rich in talent, resources and ability to influence beyond the collective dreams. Together they may be able to reduce the difference that creates inequality. They don’t want just growth. They want development and a strong society. And because of that, they connect people looking to transform the future.

This network has three main goals:

1)     To link wealthy communities worldwide with social entrepreneurs, to facilitate and provide dialogue, education and the search for solutions in a collaborative way.

2)     To inspire the younger generation about the importance and the different types of philanthropy  and social investment, on a global scale

3)     To strengthen the next generation of leaders.

The first regional chapter has the intention to provide an environment where the leadership of new generation of families in Brazil and social entrepreneurs can:

1)     To talk and to think about this moment of change in the country and about the legacy that the current generation wants to leave behind;

2)     To create and strength bonds, not only to learn with experiences from each other, but also to articulate and boost the initiatives that already exist or generate new ways for practice

3)     To deep the reflection about where is the philanthropy and social investment in Brazil and think about other ways.

The agenda had a powerful content. The opening of the event had a speech by His Highness Prince Max of Liechtenstein, talking about his role as a philanthropist. He also talked about LGT Venture Philanthropy, which works in increasing the quality of life of less advantaged people, including investments in Latin America. This was followed by a conversation between two members of the same family, from two different generations, giving their views about social engagement. We also heard about a study called the Brazilian Dream – O Sonho Brasileiro, about the new generation and the future they desire.

The second and full day of work gathered over 70 people. The first inspiration came from the producers of the film Eu Maior, which focuses on self-knowledge and the search for happiness, with several teasers of the film that will be launched in November. We then had a full day of work with studies and co-creation based on a Desirable New World, which focused the discussion on creative economy, sustainable development and the future.

There were several group discussions, and the results for desirable features among social investors and professionals that work in civil society were tremendous. There are possible projects being developed in culture, new ways to do business and investments, environment, politics, philanthropy, creative economy, education, communication, networks and conscience. The outcome included a verbal commitments among people in the groups to create short-term goals that lead to longer-term goals to build the future from this collective dream.

Connecting these social investors and social entrepreneurs that together may shape a sustainable future for our world is gratifying. I am happy to be part of this.

Elaine Smith, Young Global Leader from the World Economic Forum, helps organizations in their development process, focusing on innovative approaches to social issues.

Tagged in: basic needs Brazil Collaboration Social change Social entrepreneurship Youth empowerment

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