Business in the Community: the Role of Corporations in Supporting Community Philanthropy in Brazil

Helena Monteiro, Senior Fellow, International Fellows Program ~ 2006


Abstract: Helena Monteiro examines the ways that corporations can utilize their extensive resources to strategically match community needs for the benefit of all involved. She focuses her study on corporate collaboration with Community Philanthropy Organizations in Brazil


Community Philanthropy Organizations (CPOs) are independent non-governmental nonprofit organizations designed to convene, connect and facilitate collaboration across sectors. As conveners and brokers, CPOs work to create a culture of local philanthropy, facilitate local development and sustainable social change.  Ms. Monteiro explains that CPOs function in Brazil as quasi-community foundations (without the grantmaking component). 


CPOs offer an enormous opportunity for corporate philanthropy because they:

  • offer broad knowledge and expertise on community issues and opportunities;
  • promote and facilitate social support networks and intersectoral collaboration;
  • are an autonomous and independent player in the community; and
  • offer accountability.


The challenges posed by business-nonprofit collaboration are based in part on stereotypes about the will of business and the ability of civil society organizations to address social problems. By working together to develop strategic alliances, both partners can address local needs while contributing to the development of Brazil’s nonprofit sector.  This entails developing CPO-business relationships that go beyond donations and/or grants. Ms. Monteiro emphasizes the benefit of helping corporations develop a cohesive philanthropic strategy, and lists a variety of mechanisms for corporate giving, including cash contributions in the form of grants and donations, employee volunteerism, technical skills and technology.



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