Once a mostly corporate undertaking, philanthropy in Brazil is growing to include more family foundations. Since 2008, the total of family organizations has more than doubled, going from 7 per cent of all foundations in 2008 to 17 per cent in 2015.
Two recent research studies reveal further information on these foundations. The Censo GIFE – a Brazilian industry-standard poll on philanthropy conducted every two years in order to better understand foundation priorities – shows that the average annual giving of family organizations is currently R$5.7 million, roughly US$1.2 million. The other study, ‘Portraits of family philanthropy in Brazil’, was conducted by GIFE, Brazil’s Group of Institutes, Foundations and Private Enterprises. It reports that while families only donate a small part of their wealth, they are very active in mobilizing contacts and using influence to obtain results – a kind of achievement that is particularly difficult to measure.
The same study finds that most of the organizations surveyed opt to execute their own projects or make donations, while only 26 per cent are grantmakers. According to the interviewees, the advantages of family foundations include flexibility, willingness to innovate, openness to experimentation and risk taking. They are also positively perceived as being more personal and human in character than their corporate counterparts.
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