The corporate foundation sector in Colombia is young and relatively thriving, according to a recent study funded in part by two of those foundations, Fundacion Promigas and Fundacion DIS. Sector 2½, so called because it falls between the second or private sector and the third, non-profit sector, numbers some 121 foundations in Colombia, the bulk of which are of relatively recent origin – 68.9 per cent have been founded since 1990 and 43.3 per cent since 2000.
The study, Fundaciones empresariales en Colombia: un mundo diverso y dinamico, finds a group of organizations both interested and active in working with others and which enjoys good relations with other sectors. Over 80 per cent said they worked through public-private partnerships and 62.2 per cent through partnerships with other foundations. All characterized their relations with government, other foundations, NGOs and academia as good. In terms of their operation, by far the biggest area is education (80 per cent), followed by community development (64 per cent) and the environment (43.3 per cent). On the question of activity, the favourite answer was capacity building (87.8 per cent) and setting up pilot schemes to test their wider replicability in the public sphere (76.7 per cent). Strikingly, only one foundation described its purpose as meeting basic needs. Generally speaking, the business is the principal funder of the foundation (76.9 per cent of them receive half or more of their funding this way), but not the only one – some 13.3 per cent don’t receive funding either from the business from which they take their name or from the family which owns the business. Nearly two-thirds operate in areas where the company has a strong presence.
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