Hispanic Countries All View Philanthropy Differently

April 18, 2017       THE NONPROFIT TIMES      

It is normal to view people from roughly similar backgrounds in the same light, for example viewing all people from Spanish-speaking (or even Portuguese-speaking countries) as the same. In her book “Diversity and Philanthropy,” Lilya Wagner illuminates several distinctions about Hispanic countries. For example:

  • Spain. Spain has a centuries-old tradition of voluntary organizations, most of them directly or indirectly connected to the Catholic Church. Foundations are a recent development, but today Spain is one of the European Union countries with the greatest number of foundations.
  • Mexico. Philanthropy has a broad tradition, but that can mean any private, voluntary, nonprofit work performed for the public good. This goes beyond traditional aspects and seeks to promote organized participation/voluntary citizen participation.
  • Colombia. Nonprofits, to some extent, grew not out of societal need but financial need: laundering money. Colombia has been trying to shift this, but the country is also geographically diverse and dividing. It will take time.
  • Peru. Philanthropy has a cooperative approach. It is not the rich helping the poor but rather people helping each other. Peruvians are the 10th largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, 69.3 percent of them foreign-born, compared to 38.1 percent of all Hispanics.
  • Brazil. Skepticism and distrust of civil society organizations have grown, partly because of vast problems in terms of inequality and a lack of understanding of the role of NGOs.