Centuries of religious traditions, cultural norms, political histories, and economic conditions have shaped today's environment for private giving and social investment in Latin America. While the region's wealthy individuals have a long history of charitable giving, the relatively recent emergence of stable democracies, steady economic growth, and accumulation of personal wealth have provided a foundation for accelerated philanthropic activity. At the same time, cutbacks in government services, acute inequalities, and persistent poverty in some countries have underscored the need for private social investment to help address social and economic development.
This study describes the philanthropic environment and illuminates the important and inspirational social investments of wealthy individuals in six Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. It provides new insight into both the soul and practice of philanthropy in the region, and, optimistically, will help to encourage others to invest private philanthropic capital for the common public good.