Philanthropy, understood as the voluntary act of sharing our wealth, time, or other social services with others for social and human purposes, is an old and common practice in the great cultures of the world. However, the institutionalization of donations is recent and, therefore, little studied by academia.
Earlier this year, the presidents of Universidad del Pacífico and Harvard University signed an agreement for our researchers to participate in the Global Philanthropy Report. This initiative of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard will be the first mapping and analysis of the philanthropic institutional situation worldwide in the twenty-first century. Teams of researchers and donor associations from twenty countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and North and South America participate in this report.
This mapping of philanthropy will generate a knowledge base in terms of the volume, scope, and practice of donations made by companies, families, and individuals in each country, in order to understand the differences and similarities, identify the best practices, and encourage their institutionalization.
As part of this initiative, Universidad del Pacífico organized a group of researchers from five countries in Latin America (Peru, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico) that will provide national case studies to the Global Philanthropy Report. Leading researchers from Universidad del Pacífico participating in this project are professors Matthew Bird, from the Graduate School and Vicente Leon, Vice Dean of Finance.
Latin American workshop
To start the way to the Global Philanthropy Report, which will take place on June 30 and July 1, our university organized a workshop to coordinate with counterpart researchers of our region entitled New Philanthropy in Latin America, with support from the Inter-American Foundation (IAF). Matthew Bird and Vicente León led the translation and publication of a survey that will serve to collect data on foundations and other donors in each country and help with the development of other sources and methods of analysis to complete this tool.
Among the attendees, and representing Argentina, was Mario Roitter. He is a researcher at Universidad de San Andrés and Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad (CEDES), who is also considered an outstanding reference in the region on issues of philanthropy and nonprofit organizations, fields in which he has collaborated on several projects with Universidad del Pacífico. Michael Layton, leader of the Mexican study, also attended the workshop. He is an affiliated researcher at the Alternativas y Capacidades Association, and Director of the ITAM (Project on Philanthropy and Civil Society.
María Magdalena Aninat attended as the leader of the Chilean study. She’s the Director of the Center for Philanthropy and Social Investment at Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, an institution that conducted the first study on donations of Chilean economic groups. Finally, the leader of the Colombian study was Carolina Suárez, Executive Director of the Asociación de Fundaciones Empresariales de Colombia (AFE), which brings together major donors from that country.
In the workshop, where Cynthia Sanborn, our Research Vice President, also participated, researchers found common experiences and challenges regarding legal and tax frameworks for a philanthropic culture in these countries. This group of researchers will not only provide contributions to the Global Philanthropy Report, but is also preparing a deeper study on the progress and challenges for the modernization of philanthropy in the region.