Fernando do Amaral Nogueira, Mario Aquino Alves, Patricia Maria Emerenciano de Mendonça
October 6, 2015
The aim of this paper is to describe and analyze the presence of US philanthropy in Brazil with regards to the field of human rights from 2003 to 2012, using data from the Foundation Center on 1896 grants totaling $336M. Human rights NGOs are especially important in Brazil. Despite recent growth and development, it is a country that still faces many social, political and human rights challenges. But the local field is still largely dependent on international funding, and US foundations play a traditional and vital role in this scenario, thus it is important to understand recent changes on American foundations priorities. The numbers indicate that the US investment in Brazil is concentrated in few areas (environment and human rights account for 50% of the amount invested), and these priorities are clearly different from those in the Brazilian philanthropic agenda (more focused on education, income generation, youth and community development). When we focus on human rights, we must underline that the investment in human rights by American foundations is quite notable. Not only is Brazil the country in which there were more investments in this topic in the last 10 years, but human rights is also the second field of priority in the country, right after Environment. When examining the collected data, there are four large patterns emerging: dependence on big donors, relevance of the strategy of “many small grants”, incipient grants in advocacy and possible existence of thematic niches. Of all these issues, the main challenge is that the field is very dependent on a few very large donors: Ford Foundation, Kellogg Foundation and the Global Fund for Women account for over 65% of the grants and 89% of the amount in US dollars. The Kellogg Foundation has already left Brazil to concentrate on other geographic priorities; should the Ford Foundation take a similar decision, the field of human rights in Brazil might even collapse, since Brazilian donors do not yet demonstrate enthusiasm for the subject.