The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society Welcomes Young Grantmakers from Brazil, Kenya, and NYC

October 4, 2012 | CUNY Graduate Center

Four new members of the Emerging International Leaders and U.S. Diversity Fellows Program have joined the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (CPCS) for the fall semester. They bring with them an impressive array of skills and knowledge and a clear sense of purpose.

In addition to writing research papers, these young grantmakers and social entrepreneurs will participate in seminars on U.S. and international voluntary-sector activities; learn about the work of key agencies through assigned readings and site visits; and meet with representatives of leading nonprofit organizations and scholars in the field, including the distinguished political theorist Dr. Benjamin Barber, who recently joined the center as Senior Research Scholar. The focus of this year’s program is on community foundations and how they can play a transformative role by implementing innovative business models and fast-developing digital technology to support an equitable and civil society.

Akira Barclay, from Brooklyn, New York, has grant experience with the New York Women’s Foundation, “a cross-cultural alliance of women catalyzing partnerships and leveraging human and financial capital to achieve sustained economic security and justice for women and girls”; Barclay is studying the role of community foundations in Black collective philanthropy, specifically in the growing philanthropic trend of giving circles.

Henrique Conca Bussacos, a young Brazilian entrepreneur, cofounded Tekoha and the Hub São Paulo, successful social enterprises that promote sustainability. Concomitantly, he is working with Instituto Comunitário Grande Florianópolis, a community foundation, to foster opportunities for cooperation between social businesses and local nonprofits. This fall at CPCS, he is investigating strategies that can help community foundations engage middle-class citizens and small businesses in community issues.

Francesca Aguiar Filippelli of Forest Hills, New York, is a development coordinator with BrazilFoundation, whose stated mission is “to generate and invest resources in civil society organizations that are developing and transforming social realities in Brazil”; Filippelli is doing research on best practices for establishing, managing, and cultivating donors to support an endowment.

Kenyan Lynnette Gacheri Micheni has three years of experience with the Kenya Community Development Foundation, a public foundation that supports communities, promotes sustainable development, encourages local resource mobilization, and helps communities “utilize resources that they have.” Especially interested in youth development, she is exploring strategies for sustainable projects led by young people, particularly those in the postconflict northeastern region in Kenya, and the potential advantage of community foundations over conventional NGOs. She applied for the CPCS program, she said, because the United States has a reputation for supporting extensive work in the area of philanthropy and community foundations, an area in which “Africa is still at . . . an ‘adolescent stage,’” she explained; and because CPCS, too, has a fine reputation, “thanks to the previous fellows who are doing amazing things in the community foundations within their home countries.”

Since its inception twenty-three years ago, the Center’s International Fellows Program has sponsored 166 fellows from fifty-seven countries as well as from communities of color under-represented in the U.S. grantmaking sector. These CPCS alumni now contribute to a vibrant international network of researchers and practitioners in the field of philanthropy and civil society. Their efforts have led to the establishment of a variety of new organizations and new programs—from social funds and community foundations in Mexico, Uruguay, Egypt, South Africa, and Turkey to network and service organizations in Poland and Russia; from philanthropic centers in India and Ukraine to a master’s degree program in nonprofit management in South Korea. They also bring their learning and passion about civil society organizations to bear on their work with government and the business sector.

Support for the 2012 Emerging International Leaders and U.S. Diversity Fellows Program comes from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the BrazilFoundation, ICom—Instituto Comunitário Grande Florianópolis, and Kenya Community Development Foundation. CPCS also received general program support this year from the Pine Tree Foundation of New York, the Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation, and individual donors.

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