Arapyaú Institute

The Arapyaú Institute is a private and nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening networks for promoting sustainability in the Legal Amazon and southern Bahia. Created in 2008 by entrepreneur Guilherme Leal – shareholder of Natura&co and socio-environmental impact investor – the Arapyaú Institute mobilizes civil society, philanthropy, academia, public and private sectors in the development of systemic and scalable solutions to challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss.

In 2022, the Institute hired IDIS to conduct research that would identify best practices in governance, succession, and financial sustainability among family foundations and institutes, with the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of these topics, which are highly relevant to strengthening civil society organizations.

The research addressed aspects such as the preservation and continuity of philanthropic legacies of families and individuals, founder participation in decisions and strategic direction of family organizations, risks and opportunities of succession processes in the third sector, search for diversity and plurality in leadership bodies, among others.

Among the various findings of the research, philanthropic endowments were shown to be important instruments for reducing the dependence on resources from founders or maintainers in family organizations and diversifying the sources of income of these institutions, contributing to their financial sustainability.

Another highlight of the research was an important trend in the field of international family philanthropy: the creation of organizations with a limited time horizon, established with a specific date for closure and the purpose of providing a significant volume of resources for urgent social causes, such as climate change. Still little disseminated in Brazil, these organizations seek high impact and social transformation in the short and medium term, valuing partnership and collaboration.

“The governance of institutes and foundations is a central theme that must be discussed with quality time and grounding. IDIS plays an important role in supporting the sector with relevant content and experience. IDIS’ work helped to inform Arapyaú’s discussions by bringing practical examples and an impartial view to the process,” comments Thais Ferraz, institutional director of the Arapyaú Institute.