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The scarcity of CSOs is explained in great measure by the top-down nature of Latin American societies. Spain, Portugal and France exported their hierarchical social structures and centralized governments to their colonies. The indigenous peoples were already used to such systems: like the Europeans, the Incas and Aztecs were no democrats. For any social service, the colonists and colonized looked not to themselves and their neighbors, but upwards, to the Church or the state.
Furthermore, Latin Americans have been poor, and poor people have neither the time nor the resources to create civil society organizations. A middle class with disposable income was minuscule in colonial times and grew only slowly since then. Indeed, Latin America was the most "unequal" region of the world until 2012, when the distribution of income in China became the most skewed on the planet.
Hierarchical institutions and poverty contributed to Latin American countries being "low-trust" societies in which people are especially wary of associating with, let alone investing or giving money to those outside of their extended family. Charity begins at home. If you had few resources, they were taken up by your children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, cousins, second cousins, third cousins, et al. If you had great resources, you might share them with outsiders, but only under your terms and conditions: your relatives ran your family foundation's school or soup kitchen.
The tendencies toward dependence and distrust, two strong currents in Latin American culture, explain why it is difficult to raise money within the region for civil society. It is not a question of selfishness. Latin Americans' generosity has traditionally been directed much more to family than to outsiders, except in the case of disasters, when their outpouring of money and work has been extraordinary.
By: Maria Nardell, onPhilanthropy, 11/29/06
... First of all, it is a challenge to develop a method of benchmarking second-grade reading improvements and translating that output (e.g., the number of students who pass a reading diagnostic test) into terms equivalent to the given input (e.g., volunteer time). Second, even if such a formula were devised, Thompson observed, how would one compare the impact of education programs in places as diverse as Vermont and India?
Most companies rely upon their nonprofit partners for the statistics to measure social impact. As with corporate giving programs, however, there is no single standard by which nonprofits gather, analyze or present that data, and so Thompson would question a company that states it has exact data detailing the impact of its giving. ...
According to Farron, “You can look at social return in a couple of ways.” One way is non-monetary. That is, social change is measured by quantity times quality, allowing for “customizable social units of outcome,” such as the number of lives saved by a vaccine or the number of people educated through a scholarship program. The other way is to think about social return in a monetary sense. The socio-economic value of corporate giving investments can consist of the money society saves or the increased number of people contributing toward the tax base. Some companies also measure the market value of their investments, although Farron points out that most companies don’t accurately determine the percentage of goods and services actually being used. (For example, brand-new donated computers sitting in an organization’s closet don’t do anyone any good.) ...
Interview By: Kathleen Brennan, 10/11/06
Jerold Panas is author of The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards: A 59-Minute Guide to Assuring Your Organization’s Success. The book is available at www.emersonandchurch.com.
...If you had to single out, say, the top two habits that would carry an organization the furthest, what would they be?
Hmm, that’s a difficult question.
I’d say, first, you don’t allow a mission deficit.
It’s pretty easy for an organization to balance its budget. It can keep cutting expenses, services, staff, maintenance, and by doing this, maybe save enough money to operate in the black.
The problem is, when a board slashes and slashes, it creates a mission deficit. The organization no longer has a real purpose. And that’s far worse than a financial deficit.
The second key habit I’d mention is, board members must be advocates for the organization. Roaring advocates. Burning in their bones for the work you do.
If they’re not, they probably should be home tending their garden....
By GUY CHAZAN, WSJ, October 19, 2006; Page A6
MOSCOW -- Hundreds of foreign human-rights groups and other organizations operating in Russia may have to suspend operations because they are entangled in red tape from a controversial new law.
A law passed earlier this year required all such outside organizations to reregister with the government. The law vastly increased state supervision of outside groups, and was condemned by several Western leaders as a threat to Russia's embryonic civil society.
Now many are caught in Russia's bureaucracy. While 175 foreign nongovernmental organizations submitted documentation on time, only 87 had their applications processed by the target date, said a spokesman for Russia's Federal Registration Service, or FRS. That represents a fraction of the 400-plus such groups active in Russia.
(Aug. 7, 2006) Buoyed by the establishment of new foundations, a slowly growing economy and support for relief efforts for the Southeast Asia tsunami and Gulf Coast hurricanes, giving by U.S. foundations increased to an estimated $33.8 billion in 2005, according to a new report.
Foundation Yearbook 2006, produced by the New York-based Foundation Center, shows a foundation sector that continues to recover from the economic downtown of several years ago. Foundation giving has now risen by more than 5 percent over the past two years (5.5 percent in 2005 and 5.1 percent in 2004). However, despite these gains, inflation-adjusted giving continues to fall below the record level reached in 2001.
The report estimates that, accounting for inflation, foundation giving in 2006 will likely be “modest.”
PDVSA's social focus sets it apart from most oil companies, which try to maximize output and profits. Even most state-run oil companies, which tend to have bloated payrolls, try to mimic private-sector efficiency and focus entirely on the oil business. PDVSA's shift recalls the role that Mexico's state firm Pemex played for decades in trying to spur economic development by providing jobs and building roads.
Such attention to economic development, however, gives the company less time and money to devote to its oil business. It spent just $60 million on exploration in 2004, compared with $174 million in 2001, according to the company's recently published 2004 financial results. That's bad news for Venezuela, where current wells are so old that their output falls at an average rate of 23% a year, forcing the company to drill new wells just to keep production steady....
The spending goes down well with Yóselin Escobar, a 33-year-old teacher and member of the local education committee, who is trying to convince the oil company to pay a monthly stipend to stay-at-home mothers who look after the children of other working moms. "Thanks to our president, the oil company helps us," she says. "I'm voting for [Chávez] until I die."
[Wall St. Journal, Aug. 1, 2006] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115439037350022856.html
... This debate over charity and philanthropy is crucial for America’s foundations. A new and perhaps surprising figure entered the debate in January, when Pope Benedict XVI issued his first encyclical, Deus caritas est (“God is love”), and insisted that there is no substitute for charity—for the direct, personal involvement of individuals and communities in the lives of those who are suffering, those in need of material or educational assistance, or those simply needing the consolation of human contact. Deus caritas est is not, to be sure, a broadside aimed from one side at another in the philanthropy wars. It has things to say, however, that deserve reflection by all concerned, because they challenge us to re-examine our understanding of modern philanthropy...
CIUDAD DEL VATICANO/MÉXICO D.F., jueves, 13 julio 2006 (ZENIT.org-El Observador).- México es el país de América Latina que más ayuda económicamente a la labor de la Iglesia universal.
De acuerdo con el informe económico presentado esta semana por la Prefectura de Asuntos Económicos de la Santa Sede –que preside el cardenal Sergio Sebastiani--, la aportación mexicana se sitúa detrás de la de los Estados Unidos, Italia, Alemania, Francia, España, Irlanda, Canadá y Corea, y por encima de la de Austria.
El país azteca ocupa la novena posición tanto en la aportación al «Óbolo de San Pedro» --para sostener la misión apostólica y caritativa del Papa--, como en la que prevé el canon 1271 del Código de Derecho Canónico que refleja la aportación de los obispos en la colecta realizada en sus respectivas diócesis para sostener, en la medida de sus posibilidades, a la Iglesia en su misión universal.
Fuentes eclesiásticas mexicanas consultadas, mostraron su alegría ante esta noticia --difundida por la agencia informativa «Notimex»—, pues en años anteriores, el país, que cuenta con cerca de 90 millones de católicos, no ocupaba lugares destacados en la ayuda a la labor de la Iglesia.
Sin duda las cinco visitas que realizó durante su pontificado Juan Pablo II a México han motivado a los fieles a redoblar su aportación económica al Vaticano, hasta volverla la novena del mundo, según destacó el cardenal Sebastiani.
Concurso del programa de pequeñas donaciones del Banco Mundial Bajo el nombre de "Promoviendo la Transparencia", el Banco Mundial abre la última fecha para el concurso de proyectos que cuenta con 90.000 dólares para financiar iniciativas de organizaciones de la sociedad civil de Argentina, Paraguay y Uruguay que presenten ideas innovadoras y fomenten la participación y el compromiso de la sociedad para promover la transparencia y la responsabilidad social.
Fondo del BID anuncia programa de apoyo a investigación sobre remesas Llamado a concurso para disertaciones doctorales, tesis de maestría y trabajos académicos El Fondo Multilateral de Inversiones anunció un programa para alentar la investigación académica sobre el potencial de desarrollo de las remesas. La competencia está abierta a autores de disertaciones doctorales y tesis de maestrías en universidades de los 47 países miembros del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo.