GIFE: When business and philanthropy align 

GIFE has just released the English version of an important publication, originally launched in 2016, throwing light on an emerging trend in Brazil: the alignment between business and philanthropy. Since its emergence in the 1990s, the philanthropic sector in Brazil has developed with very close links to the movement for corporate social responsibility.

In recent years, many companies have been redefining their relationships with the foundations they have established, seeking to improve their business practices by benefiting from the social capital and experience of the foundations while delivering greater social impact by mobilizing the business’ own levers.

While this alignment brings the potential of moving the company itself – and not only its philanthropic money – towards a greater contribution to the common good, it also blurs the margin between public and private interests, as there is always an expectation that this alignment will benefit both the company and society alike.

This shift is taking place across different economic sectors and corporate foundations. At the same time, it has not been a homogeneous process. There are different models of alignment producing diverse consequences for both business and philanthropy. In addition, the risks and opportunities associated with the various types of alignment vary, depending on the purposes and drivers behind this process.

Alignment between private social investment and business was based on an empirical research including over 20 in-depth interviews with foundation and company executives and a series of workshops.

As these relations evolve, it is increasingly important to ensure that whatever arrangements are made, the aim should be to secure the greatest contribution to the public good.

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