December 2005 saw the legal establishment of the Brazil Human Rights Fund to support small NGOs and people working in human rights protection and promotion in Brazil. The Fund is an initiative created by four leaders of Brazil’s social sector: Abdias do Nascimento, Rose Marie Muraro, Dom Pedro Casaldáglia and Margarida Genevois. Initial funding has been provided by the Ford Foundation, to the tune of U$3 million, and the four founders.
Other potential Brazilian donors are being consulted with a view to providing matching funds. The Natura Foundation is supporting a pro bono consultancy on investment plans. The Fund’s aim is to reach an initial endowment of US$5 million, and up to U$20 million in the next decade.
In this first decade, the Fund has the specific objectives of stimulating social justice philanthropy – through endowment-building, donor services and a philanthropic campaign – and building a grantmaking track record in the human rights field. It will provide institutional grants for small, innovative human rights organizations and leadership development grants for human rights activists.
Why is the Fund needed? Though small NGOs are at the forefront of human rights work in Brazil – monitoring and reporting abuses; assisting in reform and improvement of security and policing policies; providing direct services to vulnerable sectors of their communities; and promoting citizen education in human rights – support for them is scarce and most of it comes from overseas. Indigenous social investment tends to be directed solely at charitable causes such as children’s assistance programmes, education and sports. There is a need to create an identity for social justice philanthropy which will enable development of a rights-based approach, and the new Fund can play a pioneering role in doing this.
For more information
Contact Sergio Haddad