Philanthropic Institutions: A key for CSOs in Latin America

In recent years, Latin America faced several challenges, such as the rising levels of inequality and poverty, corruption at an institutional level, and the appearance of movements against human rights. In addition, according to the CIVICUS Monitor, half of the population of the region lives in places where freedom is restricted and it is also one of the most dangerous regions for human rights defenders. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) also have, in several cases, restrictions coming from the State, limits the access to obtain financial and material resources.

A new study by CIVICUS and Innpactia demonstrates that donors are not investing in a resilient and sustainable Civil Society. The study, Access to resources for civil society organizations in Latin America: facts and challenges, analyzed more than 6,500 calls for resource proposals for Latin America’s development. Another finding was that donor investment in the critical and unique roles of civil society is quite low because there is a limited supply of exclusive resources for the sector and high competition under unfavorable conditions, so there is no stable support available and there is low funding for political and social influence, human rights and the protection of democracy.

Finally, the study showed that most proposals were coming from philanthropic institutions. This proves that philanthropy offers resources in a less concentrated way, which could be a step to ensure that smaller groups are able to access these opportunities through smaller grants.

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