Philanthropy scholars in Mexico: objectivity in a climate of mistrust 

Jacqueline Butcher and Michael Layton

Basic, trustworthy information about the scale, scope and shape of a nation’s non-profit and philanthropic sector is indispensable not only to producing empirically based public policies and private interventions, but also to supporting the effort to generate greater understanding and trust in philanthropy. This is especially true in Mexico, where the sector is underdeveloped and policymakers and the public in general are highly sceptical of philanthropy. By helping to furnish such information, scholars have provided significant leadership on both of these issues. 

If we go back to 2000, there were basically three sources of data on philanthropy in Mexico: the membership list of the Mexican Centre for Philanthropy (Cemefi), the nation’s oldest support organization; the list of tax-exempt organizations provided by Mexico’s Tax Administration Service (SAT); and Johns Hopkins University’s comparative study, Global Civil Society, undertaken by Lester Salamon and local collaborators.

Today, Mexico has a wide range of data and analyses, and the research centres and academic institutions have been instrumental in helping to change this picture.

Mexico City at dusk.

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Challenges ahead in funding the study of philanthropy 

Charles Keidan