Alternative Social Investment Models: A Conversation with Mexican Philanthropies

Dalberg, in collaboration with Cemefi, Ensamble, and AIIMx (The Impact Investing Alliance for Mexico), hosted a working session at Casa Cemefi in Mexico City (CDMX) on May 8, 2024.

Discussions at the event centered on supporting local philanthropic organizations’ progress towards systemic change to navigate the complex landscape of alternative models of social investment.

“We are at a crucial moment for the philanthropic sector in Mexico— What brought us here will not take us where we need to go and we must act with more urgency, flexibility, innovation, and with an eye to scale. This involves shifting from charitable giving to viewing philanthropy as catalyst for systemic change,”

—Fabiola Salman, Partner, Dalberg Advisors. 

Building New Models

The session attracted a diverse set of participants from corporate and private foundations, civil society organizations, and key entities from the Mexican philanthropic sector such Comunalia, FUNSALUD, and Grupo Posadas. It signaled a shift towards more participatory and inclusive models of philanthropy, where stakeholders collaborate as equals, valuing diverse perspectives and promoting inclusivity.

Key insights from participants at the event collectively underscored the need for a nuanced and flexible approach to social investment in Mexico, as it relates to the following:

Diverse Applicability of Models

“It’s important not to think that one model is applicable to everything and to problematize other models — no model is a panacea, and we need to consider in which cases they can work.”

Need for Coordination and Dialogue

“A stronger sector that is able to address the range of needs will require coordination and dialogue to align our resources and capabilities in a complementary way.”

Challenges and Opportunities for Corporate Foundations

“The corporate foundations face challenges in leading models with higher risk, but there are opportunities to drive change.”

The session concluded with three actionable messages:

  1. Intentional Giving: Be aware and intentional about how you give. Although no single social investment model is inherently better than another, understanding and purposefully choosing your approach is crucial.
  2. Fostering Diversity: Contribute to a diverse range of social investment models within the Mexican philanthropic ecosystem. Diversity can foster resilience and greater overall impact.
  3. Addressing Barriers: Identify and address existing barriers to adopting innovative investment models in Mexico. Active participation in ongoing conversations is essential to overcome these challenges.

Please contact Fabiola Salman, Marcos Paya, or Karen Rodriguez if you wish to participate in ongoing discussions and partnerships.

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