International and Brazilian Partners Announce a Fund for Marielle Franco

SÃO PAULO—In honor of the late Marielle Franco, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the Ibirapitanga Institute have announced an initiative to foster and support black women who aspire to political leadership in Brazil.

With a donation of $3 million to the Baobá Fund, an institution dedicated to the struggle for racial equality in Brazil, the initiative draws on the councilwoman’s work to broaden the voice of black women and their access to power in Brazil.

“Marielle showed that a black, bisexual woman from the favelas could hold and exercise power. Her brutal murder was an attempt to negate this truth. Announcing to the world that Brazil will produce new Marielles is crucial,” said Pedro Abramovay, director of the Open Society Foundations’ Latin America Program. “This fund ensures that black women from the favelas will occupy spaces of power and that there is no going back to the days when this was seen as impossible.”

The Baobá Fund was founded in 2011 in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which provides matching funds for every donation. In this case, the matching funds are on a scale of two to one for international donations and three to one for Brazilian investments, reaching $10 million. With the donation from the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the Ibirapitanga Institute—alongside the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s matching donations—the fund can now increase its reach and investment potential.

“This initiative shows the importance of elevating black women in Brazilian society. Marielle embodied not only the changes we wish for, but also the ones we know we are able to realize,” said Átila Roque, director of the Ford Foundation’s Brazil office.

The initiative was announced during the 10th GIFE Congress, an annual event that gathers social investors from all over Brazil. “We want to show the world of Brazilian philanthropy how important it is to support the most vulnerable people in our society, the people who most need change,” said Andre Degenszajn, CEO of the Ibirapitanga Institute.