Some philanthropy program details

Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions about our emerging philanthropy program.

1. AIC and regranters

The AIC seeks to improve capillarity between circles of private wealth and groups working for Amazon conservation and sustainability.  While some donors in our network support NGOs directly, others want to support well structured regranters.  Instead of bundling financial resources ourselves to directly support NGOs, the AIC partners with and supports regranters to facilitate grantmaking, providing donors with advice, metrics, and impact reports.  There are multiple regranters working in the region and they specialize by expertise, issue focus, language, and more.

2. Engaging philanthropic families

We have engaged many philanthropic families that have a demonstrated interest in supporting the Amazon.  In line with most philanthropic affinity groups, we embrace a non-solicitation policy.  Instead of making direct fundraising requests, we host events, support donor site visits, and other activities to expose this community of potential donors to the Amazon’s philanthropic needs.  We also survey donors to develop greater intelligence about their current philanthropy, their priority interests, their grant sizes, their preferred methods of communication, and more.  For many donors, the Amazon is a brand new priority and philanthropic decision-making is a long term process.  

3. Definition of matching funds

The AIC is working to identify and assess predetermined philanthropic deployments from professional philanthropy.  We work to position these grantmakers as mentors to help mobilize new matching funds from families that are new to the Amazon.  What characterizes matching funds?  Some donors want to match foundation grants in a one-to-one fashion in support of NGOs that have been vetted.  Other donors, instead, simply want to provide funds for matching strategies, where the grantees are different, but goals are similar.  While we do give visibility to theses processes, highlighting needs and gaps where appropriate, we are not prescriptive about donor matching.  Each donor has the freedom to choose his or her priorities.

4. Donor enrollment and personal development

Many of the largest philanthropic gifts do not come just from new data, but more from new relationships. Consequently, in order to scale new Amazon philanthropy, we work to foster the development of quality relationships between donors and Amazonians.  Toward this end, we organize activities to help donors engage in personal development experiences that foster the appreciation of nature, reverence for Amazonian changemakers, peer-to-peer exchange, and quality relationships with Amazonian communities and cultures.

5. Non-Solicitation

Most successful donor affinity programs have non-solicitation policies.  They prioritize learning, community development, and relationships over transactions.  Toward this end the AIC maintains a non-solicitation policy for many of its donor engagement activities, but also creates opt-in programs aimed specifically at fostering philanthropic transactions.

6. Conflict of interest prevention

The AIC operates with core support from a small, global, independent group of donors from outside of South America, giving it the ability to offer unbiased philanthropic networking and advisory support, unencumbered by local politics.

7. The structure of philanthropy, the culture of giving, and decolonizing wealth

The AIC recognizes that a lot needs to be done to improve and professionalize the philanthropic sector in South America.  The local culture of philanthropy is limited.  Community foundations are not yet at scale.  Power dynamics between grantmakers and grantees are seldom acknowledged and addressed.  The list of structural challenges is long. As a global philanthropic learning-and-collaboration platform, we see it as our responsibility to help overcome these obstacles, but not to lead the process.  Consequently, we partner with numerous donor institutions to help move the philanthropic-ecosystem forward, where possible.

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