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Perceptions on philanthropy

Philanthropy, Social Justice, Decolonial Philanthropy, Human Rights, Democracy…

The 10th Anniversary Seminar of the Brazilian Philanthropy Network for Social Justice – now Comuá Network – immersed us in these themes and, in two days, brought together in a single environment the references of the national and international philanthropic system. I was there.

It’s funny to observe that when I started my professional career in the social field years ago, the notion of philanthropy was linked to assistentialism, charity. The evolution in conversations, and the cultural political moments, provoke questions and reflections on the re-signification of the concept that are welcome.

Listening to the debates, I enthusiastically notice a movement that perceives the complex flow that makes philanthropy what it is. This is because, in my view, philanthropy only makes sense if it is understood as a process, which takes place only in the plural, and belongs to a territory. I’m gonna explain:

Process because it is a constant, it has to do with development, with moving forward, advancing. It receives a set of inputs (solutions to solve the most complex social problems in Brazil), processes them (tests, experiments, checks if that donation actually improved or solved the proposed challenge), and results in a set of outputs, which in fact must be one: reducing racial and social inequalities in Brazil.

Plural because it has to do with collectivity, democracy, diversity, synergy between types of knowledge, respect for those who are different, because it allows us to go beyond our ignorance, experiencing a social interdependence that does not lose its essence: the human being. The pandemic just proved that.

Territory because it has to do with belonging, with approximation, with experience. It has to do with cultural, social and spiritual issues, related to the affective space that characterizes the identity of that group and values ​​its assets. In addition to “having”, it has to do with “being”, because it is part of a transforming project from the inside out. Not reformist, from the outside in.

And that’s where things get interesting, because the phenomena that are committed to this lived philanthropy are supported by important actors in their development: the Community Foundations.

ICOM – Instituto Comunitário Grande Florianópolis, the organisation I am part of, shares this way of doing philanthropy with other members of the Comuá Network. Around here, we breathe Philanthropy and we nourish ourselves with it every day.

If you also believe in these ideas, let’s go together?

Mariana de Assis is Guardian of Relationships with Organized Civil Society at the Instituto Comunitário Grande Florianópolis (ICOM). She is also a fellow at Comuá Network’s Saberes program.

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