The Impact of Philanthropy on Economic Development

According to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), private philanthropy plays a very important role in certain sectors of economic development. The following report uses global data to analyze how private foundations support development and provide recommendations for improving the use and application of these funding sources.

Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff, states that philanthropy is increasingly important in efforts to eradicate poverty and provide access to health care. However, he argues that to take advantage of its potential, there is a need to improve coordination systems, data sharing, and policy dialogue.

According to the report, in the period 2013-2015, private foundations provided only 5% of total Official Development Assistance, equivalent to 23.9 billion of dollars. This fact revealed that these private sources provided considerable support in certain sectors, especially the health sector.

The report also found that the sources of philanthropic assistance are highly concentrated, that is, they come from a small group of organizations. In the period mentioned above, the twenty largest foundations provided 81% of the total philanthropic funding. In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided nearly half of the philanthropic support for economic development (49%). Thus, nearly three-quarters of the grant originated from organizations based in the United States. After that, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates are ranked.

On the other hand, the report found that the distribution of philanthropic grants is not equitable. Only 28% of funding benefited the least developed countries while 67% benefited middle-income countries such as India, Nigeria, Mexico, China and South Africa.

With respect to these data, the report provides recommendations for improving the use and distribution of private philanthropic funding for economic development. It therefore recommends that foundations work with greater coordination with governments in countries receiving financial support, especially in the health and education sectors. On the other hand, it suggests that these governments should seek to form a favorable environment to philanthropy, in the form of adapted regulations and the establishment of a legal status to provide tax incentives to foundations. Finally, the report states that foundations should take advantage of existing platforms to improve data transparency in the area of philanthropy.

With the support of this research, the OECD is forming a Centre of Philantropy to contribute to the global demand for better data and global analysis of philanthropy.

For more information, visit .



Meet the winners of the Latin America and Caribbean Innovation Fund

In 2017 RACI was the organization chosen to co-manage the Latin America and Caribbean Innovation Fund granted by Tides Center and Innovation for Change for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Network received a total of 72 project proposals from several countries in the region, including El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Chile, Guatemala and Ecuador, among others. The countries that submitted the most proposals were Colombia, Mexico and Argentina with 17, 13 and 12 projects respectively.

From the closing date of the call for proposals, RACI evaluated all proposals under the same objective scoring system which is based on the analysis of the following categories: profile of the organization, project feasibility, project characteristics, project rigour and budget evaluation.

The themes proposed to present the projects were: “Enabling Environment” and “Transparency and Accountability”.

Based on the results of RACI’s evaluation, the winning organizations were: the Communication and Development Institute (ICD), located in Uruguay, which won the US$5,000 prize; FUNDEPS, whose headquarters are in Argentina; and the Infodevelopment Network Corporation of Ecuador, both winners of US$2500 each.

The proposals selected were diverse and innovative. In the case of ICD, the organization proposes to develop a self-assessment tool, to be executed through a web app or optimized version of a web page, adaptable to mobile devices. Through the application, the organization will be able to visualize its status in terms of accountability according to standards and good practices and in accordance with the CSO Global Accountability Standard. Thus, through access to the web app, the organization will receive basic indications of next steps and guidelines for the construction of an improvement plan. The final product of the project will be a regional public good, with free access to all civil society organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

For its part, the FUNDEPS project seeks to expand the efforts made to develop a website that provides information and good practices for citizen monitoring of infrastructure projects. It will be based on the MOCI website: Monitoreo Ciudadano: . This website was previously developed by FUNDEPS and contains cases of good monitoring practices from both Argentina and Latin America. However, the aim is to broaden the scope of the site’s functionalities to make it a collaborative platform that allows the interaction of communities and civil society organizations.

Finally, the Infodevelopment Network Corporation Foundation’s project consists of the implementation of interactive electronic modules adaptable to any public space such as: parks, shopping malls, streets; that allow citizens to connect to the Internet once they interact in a fun informative trivia about CSOs so that the citizen can be informed and linked to any current program. The aim is to improve the visibility of CSOs and the project was called “Electronic islands of social integration”.


The Omidyar network takes the floor!

To know the allies with whom we want to work or continue to internalize ourselves with about their changes and internal aspirations, is part of the process of generating sustainable alliances that in RACI we always promote. In this sense, we invite you to read about the history of the Omidyar network.

How was Omidyar born?

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm created in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam. They established Omidyar Network based on the belief that every person has the potential to make a difference. Since 2004, Omidyar has worked with organizations in Africa, Latin America, Europe, India, Southeast Asia and the United States to create opportunities for people to realize that potential, generating positive benefits for themselves, their families and their communities.

At Omidyar we believe that market forces can be a powerful engine for positive change. That’s why we invest in both for-profit companies that seek to generate social impact and non-profit organizations. As social impact investors, we offer more than financial support: we provide human capital capabilities, from board service to strategy consulting, executive training and recruitment of new talent.

We know that Omidyar works in different lines of work that seek to empower society in general, taking technology as a tool for change. Could you describe the programs?

We are focus on five areas that we believe are crucial to building prosperous, stable and open societies: digital identity, education, financial inclusion, governance and citizen participation, and property rights. Not all are currently active on all continents and within each initiative we have regional priorities. For example, in Latin America, Omidyar Network focuses on Education and Governance and Citizen Participation.

In particular, I work leading investments for the Governance and Citizen Participation initiative, in which we seek to strengthen the relationship between citizens and governments in Latin America. We focus on non-profit and for-profit opportunities and social impact in four thematic areas: civic technology, data governance, money tracking and independent media.

We believe that civic technology platforms have the power to improve the dialogue between government and citizens, increase the participation of people in decisions that affect their communities and improve the delivery of government services at all levels. In this area, we have supported organizations such as and mysociety.

In data governance, we invest in initiatives that are developing and adopting open data standards, privacy and ethics in the use of artificial intelligence. In this area, we have supported organizations such as Privacy International and the Open Data Institute.

In the money-tracking vertical we support initiatives that empower citizens, journalists and NGOs through transparency about public resource flows and the fight against corruption. In this area, we have funded organizations such as Transparency International and Global Integrity.

Finally, we invest in media organizations with sustainable business models for independent and investigative journalism. In this area, we have supported organizations such as News Deeply and Reporters without Borders.

You are currently going through a series of changes in the internal structure of the organization, what is the reason of these changes?

The Omidyar Network model has allowed us to innovate and thrive. Over the past ten years, we have expanded our operations from supporting greater transparency in U.S. government to cover a broader range of activities related to civic technology, data governance, anti-corruption, and independent media around the world. In doing so, we have invested over one billion dollars in more than 550 organizations to help create more open, just and inclusive societies.

In 2018, the Governance and Citizen Participation initiative is becoming independent from the Omidyar Network and a separate entity within the Omidyar Group. This represents a great opportunity for us to develop our mission and strategy, take more risks and have more impact.

How does this change impact the work you do or the partners with whom you are engage with?

2018 is going to be a transitional period. Our team will remain the same, as will the subjects we work with and the types of funding and support we provide to organizations. As we move towards a new independent organization, we hope to see a number of positive changes that will allow us to have an even greater impact.

In which Latin American countries are you working? What are the most responsive programs in the region?

The regional priorities of Governance and Citizen Participation focus on Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. Currently, our portfolio is primarily composed of organizations working in civic technology, open data, data verification, fact-checking and transparency. Some of our grantees in the region are Nossas, IMCO/improve your school, PODER, Instituto Igarapé, among others. To learn more about the work they do I recommend this video about Nossas and this note about Instituto Igarapé. This year we would like to support more for-profit, impact-oriented opportunities and diversify our independent media and data governance portfolios.

With what kind of actors do you usually link up with for the implementation of projects?

We work with both non-profit and for-profit organizations, focusing on the four thematic areas described above as well as with governments that support similar efforts.

Do you currently have open programs for Argentina? If so, what requirements do you prioritize when choosing your partners?

In Argentina we have a nonprofit portfolio consisting of Chequeado (independent media), Directorio Legislativo (data governance) and Wingu (civic technology). We also support ACIJ, La Nación Data, Democracia en Red and Mismática Management through the Alianza Latinoamericana de Tecnología Cívica (ALTEC), a fund administered by Omidyar Network, Avina Foundation and Avina Americas. ALTEC invests in innovative civic technology platforms and scalable technologies that can have a significant impact on promoting civic engagement as a basis for improving democracy.

We seek organizations aligned with our mission to create opportunities for people to improve their lives by using creative and entrepreneurial strategies with significant growth potential, with the ability to scale operations and develop a path to operational sustainability.

In Latin America, we believe that Argentina is a country that has shown great potential, excellent entrepreneurs, very dynamic and developing, so we are very excited to see what new opportunities we can support.

Could you facilitate a contact from the region for consultations?

If you have any questions about Omidyar’s work on Governance and Citizen Participation, please write to .


4 days left before the RACI membership process is closed!

You still have time. The first steps in the membership process are short and simple. Read the note and find out how to join the Network as a new member.

The first step, before you start filling out any forms, is to research the work of RACI. Browse our website, meet the 130 organizations that accompany us, connect with them and ask them to share their experiences, look for us on social networks and see all the activities we do. Read about the projects in which we are involved, the strategic actors with whom we build bridges and, above all, the work we have been doing every day for the past ten years to strengthen argentine civil society.

The next step is to dialogue with your organization so that everyone is aware of the intentions of applying to the membership process. Remember that the agreement with the Network must be signed by the Executive Director or a member of the Administrative Council.

Once these steps are completed, your organization is ready to begin the process! Visit . There we will ask you to fill in the form with some simple information about your NGO and you will also have to send a letter of intent signed by the members of the Executive Council or the organization’s board of directors, stating the reasons why you want to become members of RACI. The letter should contain the logo of the organization and should be sent to . Both the form and the letter of intent must be completed by May 31st at 6pm.

After May, the RACI Executive Committee will analyze each application, and if your NGO meets all the requirements we will be contacting you in June to start the second stage of the process.

Watch this tutorial video on how to access the membership form and if you have any questions, please contact us at . We are counting on you to continue building the network.


Be part of Pulso Cívico – Argentina

As part of RACI’s ongoing collaboration to strengthen the Civil Society, this year the Network launching the “Pulso Cívico – Survey of Argentine Civil Society Leaders and Referees”, which aims to carry out a diagnostic study of the current state of Civil Society.

Pulso Cívico is an investigation project based on a quarterly survey carried out over a period of 12 months, with the intention of gathering reliable and comparative information about the perception on the actual state of civil society. This survey aims to analyze several variables such as the enabling space, transparency and the class of difficulties faced by organizations, in addition to the conditions in which leaders and referents of the sector perform.

This project was originally launched in 2016 by the World Alliance for Citizen Participation (CIVICUS) and replicated in more than twenty countries. On that occasion, RACI was the Network in charge of carrying out the study in Argentina.

The purpose of this study is to be able to access the perceptions of the leaders and references of the third sector, allowing the identification of the main trends in Civil Society. Through this survey, it will be possible to map both the main difficulties and threats to which organizations are exposed, as well as the main tools and potentialities that each one has.

If you work in a Civil Society organization and would like to participate, please complete the survey here.


Find out how the Foundation for Agrocultural Development (FUDA) works

This month, as part of our goal to learn more about the valuable work our partners are doing, we took a few minutes to interview FUDA’s Executive Director, Lucas Carneiro.

FUDA became a member of RACI in 2016, after meeting the Network at a workshop in the province of Misiones. His goal was to join in to “weave new networks that allow FUDA, first learn, take safe steps and improve the work of the organization.”

Thanks to the experience they have gained over the years, sharing concerns and challenges with the Network’s partners, they have been able to strengthen the work they carry out daily in several municipalities of the province of Misiones.

FUDA’s mission is to promote, rank and develop sustainable agricultural and agroindustrial activity in municipalities such as Eldorado, Posadas, San Vicente, San Pedro, Aristobulo del Valle, Leandro N. Alem, and Dos de Mayo. For this, they have a program of young rural entrepreneurs and sustainable agricultural development. The objective is to provide tools to reduce rural migration, especially among young people, who are the target population that occupies almost 40% of Misiones.  Another of their programs is sustainable urban agriculture, which seeks to strengthen social development in vulnerable areas of these municipalities.

Lucas appreciates the opportunity that RACI offers him to meet new allies and organizations in order to grow as an institution. He also recognizes that it is a very rich space to strengthen the work plan of FUDA.  Thus, he said that “being at RACI opened up opportunities for us, and especially indoors, because we were able to take new steps, starting from organizing ourselves as a team, seeing our strengths and weaknesses and moving forward on a work plan, which even led to changing our initial brand with a new logo. We understood that being part of the Network requires constant commitments and challenges and we needed to live up to them”. He added that “RACI also allows us to provide information, from monthly meetings and announcements; information that at least from our place, in Misiones, is sometimes not available, and being on the Web makes a difference.”

We thank Lucas and the entire FUDA team for giving us some of their time. To learn more about FUDA’s work, please visit its website: .