Interviews with philanthropy professionals in Brazil 2018-2019


Interviews were conducted with a series of professionals working in the Brazilian foundation philanthropy sector, including philanthropists, foundation staff and philanthropy advisors. The interviews focused on changes in the Brazilian philanthropy sector over the last decade (2009-2019). In particular, they explored two aspects of Brazilian philanthropic practice during this period. First, the emergence of impact investing, in which philanthropists invest in social businesses in the pursuit of both social impact and financial return. Secondly, the interviews examined the persistence over the last decade of low levels of direct grant-making by Brazilian philanthropists to civil society organisations (CSOs). Despite the efforts of many philanthropic intermediaries in Brazil over recent years, philanthropists in this country still prefer to operate their own philanthropic programmes rather than fund CSOs. The interviews in this dataset explore the relationship between the rise in impact investing among Brazilian philanthropists and the sector’s continued resistance to grant-making. My PhD research project explored the work of philanthropic foundations and trusts in Britain and Brazil, and the ambitions and objectives of their wealthy founders. It focused on the growth of 'philanthrocapitalism', a recent trend pioneered by globally renowned philanthropists such as Bill Gates, Bill Clinton and George Soros, which attempts to make philanthropy more 'businesslike' and strategic. I explored the intersections between this global philanthropic trend and localised relationships between wealth elites and third sector organisations, which have shifted in accordance with the changing political landscapes of both countries over recent decades. In parallel, my project explored the role played by philanthropy in the creation of 'socially responsible' identities of wealth, and the building of historical narratives of corporate social responsibility within family businesses. Finally, my research examined the work of philanthropy advisors in Brazil and the UK, in promoting philanthropy as a strategic tool for social change. During the fellowship, this doctoral project will be developed through further research on the emerging practice of impact investing among philanthropic investors and development agencies in Brazil and the UK. Impact investing sees capital investment into social businesses and Bottom of the Pyramid schemes (creating products and services for the poor), in pursuit of both financial return and social impact. I will examine how impact investors use metrics and indicators to measure social impact, and thus demonstrate their achievement of social alongside financial goals. In parallel, I will investigate how impact investing fosters collaboration between private sector and state actors and how this collaboration shapes development policymaking and practice in Brazil and the UK. This further research will expand my prior focus on philanthropic foundations operating largely autonomously in the social sphere, by examining how the global development agenda is increasingly shaped by new forms of public private partnership. My PhD and this further research on impact investing both seek to contribute to topical debate on the social role of the corporate and financial sectors. The global financial crisis of 2007-2008 saw much public loss of trust in these sectors, and the emergence of a renewed debate on corporate social responsibility in a context of widening global inequalities. Within these debates, discussion is taking place on the possibilities offered by social enterprise and Bottom of the Pyramid business initiatives; corporate models designed specifically to incorporate both financial and social objectives in their purpose. Impact investing thus emerges as the ideal operational model for an investment market designed to both finance these initiatives and seek the achievement of social and development objectives through them. My enquiry into philanthropy and impact investing in Brazil and the UK aims to contribute to these debates on the social role of the private sector in diverse localities around the globe.

The methodology employed during this research project was qualitative and ethnographic, including semi-structured interviews and participant observation during events, seminars and workshops in the philanthropy and impact investing sectors in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The dataset deposited here comprises seven transcripts of semi-structured interviews conducted with philanthropy foundation staff and philanthropy advisors (working in philanthropy intermediary organisations) in Brazil. These individuals were selected to represent a range of different foundations and intermediary organisations active within Brazil’s small philanthropy sector. During my fieldwork, I also employed the ‘snowball’ technique in order to access research participants, in which one participant facilitates contact between the researcher and the next research participant (and so on). Interviewees in the data sample also include individuals (and organisations) included in the research conducted for my doctoral project some years earlier, as well as new contacts in the field. The interviews in this dataset lasted between 30 and 90 minutes, with most interviews lasting around one hour.

Metadata Access
Creator Sklair, J, University of Cambridge
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2020
Funding Reference Economic and Social Research Council
Rights Jessica Sklair, University of Cambridge; The Data Collection is available for download to users registered with the UK Data Service. All requests are subject to the permission of the data owner or his/her nominee. Please email the contact person for this data collection to request permission to access the data, explaining your reason for wanting access to the data, then contact our Access Helpdesk. Commercial use of the data is not allowed.
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Text
Discipline Social Sciences
Spatial Coverage São Paulo, Brazil; Brazil