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September: Transforming Philanthropy Month

A diverse, multifaceted movement aiming to promote greater visibility to the agendas and practices of community and social justice philanthropy in Brazil
By Graciela Hopstein
In September 2022, the Comuá Network organized the Philanthropy, Social Justice, Civil Society and Democracy Seminar to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Around it, the Network managed to mobilize 220 participants, who attended the seminar in São Paulo during the two days of debates, 360 people online, 110 organizations, 50 speakers, in addition to 35 institutional supporters and 6 funders who sponsored the event directly.
During those 21 hours of activities, Comuá, its members and partners debated and reflected on a variety of topics, such as decolonizing philanthropy, building trust and creating new arrangements, to reach new horizons that ultimately change the existing power dynamics and foster initiatives to build a less inequitable society (in terms of access to rights) and recognize political minorities.
Audience at the Seminar organized by the Comuá Network in September 2022
In light of the success of last year’s seminar, and to build on the power of the debates held in 2022, the Comuá Network will initiate, as from the year 2023, always in the month of September, the Transforming Philanthropy Month, conceived as a fixed event on the national philanthropy calendar (similar to the Month of Black Philanthropy, in the month of August). By proposing a series of diverse debates and reflections, this event aims to afford visibility to the initiatives, actions, practices, experiences and knowledge driving the agendas of community and social justice philanthropy in Brazil.
The Transforming Philanthropy Month comes about as a movement, a wave involving numerous actors and dynamics. To this end, independent and community foundations, private foundations, donors, networks, national and international associations and civil society actors that are committed to these agendas will be mobilized, to show their capabilities in promoting constructive actions for change through donations that drive transformation in the field of access to rights and the strengthening of Brazilian democracy.
The event’s program will include several activities in multiple formats (in person and online), such as debates, roundtables, publication releases, cultural expressions, which can be held in various locations around the country: territories, communities, cities, biomes, where the organizations operate, along with the participating public.
As such, the program intends to promote and create awareness within the philanthropic ecosystem and Brazilian society of the problems and challenges associated with community development, inequities in the access to rights, and human rights violations, recognizing the role of philanthropy as an actor capable of contributing to the creation of solutions and driving systemic change.
The Comuá Network will mobilize multiple actors and coordinate the activities proposed by them. It will combine the various initiatives into a collective program, facilitating their dissemination, but also relying on the collaboration of all the partners involved. We want to act collectively, and to do so, we must articulate and work together, to show the impact of the agendas and actions on the territories, thereby affording visibility to the systemic change we seek.
Clearly, the movement that the Comuá Network plans to start with the Transforming Philanthropy Month is aligned with #ShiftThePower, as it adopts a long-term perspective for the promotion of change: “we want a future that is negotiated, participatory and widely appropriated by the people. A future that is developed according to values ​​and processes based on the generosity of a movement, rather than on the success or failure of one institution when compared to others.”[MR1] [1]
Raising people’s voices, exploring multiple points of view and forms of self-development, rejecting the colonial perspective, is a movement that has been taking shape and expanding in many parts of the world, and growing increasingly networked. The time has come for Brazilian philanthropy to become strongly integrated into this framework and contribute, more and more, to real social transformation through the strengthening of civil society, seen as a strategic action for the consolidation of democracy in Brazil.
Based on these starting points, we emphasize, once again, that the Transforming Philanthropy Month intends not only to mobilize multiple actors and diversified agendas within the field of philanthropy, but to promote an authentically plural movement, a collective action that is capable of finding new paths, building new realities and spaces, and contributing to the establishment of an authentic movement of disruption and change.
[1] Manifesto for Change Free translation into Portuguese.
Graciela Hopstein is the executive director of the Comuá Network.


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