Educating philanthropy in Chile 

Magdalena Aninat and Steffen Bethmann

Over the last few decades, Chile has made great economic strides. However, while the GDP per capita has increased from US$4,407 in 1990 to US$22,370 in 2015, equality has not fared so well: the country has a Gini coefficient (index of income distribution) of 0.465, the worst in the OECD. Today, Chile faces ‘second generation challenges’: quality rather than access is needed, particularly in health and education. It’s time for the country to move from being one known for its economic growth to one that is recognized for its philanthropic growth and as a centre for the development of knowledge in this field. 

The groundwork has been laid. The Chilean academic sector has an outstanding position in Latin America and attracts nearly 20,000 international students every year. The opening in 2015 of the Center for Philanthropy and Social Investments (CEFIS) at Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, the leading private university in Chile, has opened up a space for researching local giving practice, and providing tools and skills to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and their families to strengthen their philanthropic practice.

Lonneke Roza and Steffen Bethmann delivering the workshop on corporate foundation governance at the Corporate Foundations Knowledge Exchange in Fountainbleau in December 2016.

Thanks to the work done at CEFIS, the picture of what Chilean philanthropy needs is already clearer. A 2015 study indicates a transition from an anonymous, Catholic influenced, ‘giving-the-cheque’ practice to a more strategic form of giving, willing to focus on achieving social change and using entrepreneurial skills for social investments.

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