Transparency Talk

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Glasspockets Find: Fostering Transparency in Mexico’s Philanthropic Sector
October 15, 2013

(Rebecca Herman is Special Projects Associate for Glasspockets at the Foundation Center-San Francisco.)

If your elected officials suggested eliminating the tax-deductibility of donations and the tax exemption of nonprofit organizations, you might be very motivated to defend the role of philanthropy in civil society. In Mexico, in the face of such a proposal, a broad coalition of organizations joined together in opposition and took aggressive steps to remedy the lack of information about Mexico’s nonprofit sector. Fondos a la Vista (“Funds at a Glance”), launched in January 2013, aims to foster a trustworthy and transparent civil society through its searchable database of more than 22,000 Mexican philanthropies.

"You can see that there have been billions of pesos—hundreds of millions of dollars—donated by donors in Mexico. I think it’s a real cure for pessimism and for cynicism about the sector."

Fondos a la Vista is an online, public resource that provides comprehensive information about domestic donors in Mexico and their philanthropic activity—including the organizations they support (las Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil, or OSCs). The platform is modeled on Foundation Directory Online and was developed by the Foundation Center in partnership with the Mexico-based Alternativas y Capacidades and the Philanthropy and Civil Society Project at ITAM (Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México).

A video explaining the mission of Fondos a la Vista and the role it can play in civil society was recently produced by Alternativas y Capacidades in conjunction with the launch of a giving portal on the U.S.-Mexico Foundation website:  

Watch the video»

Michael D. Layton, Director of the Project on Philanthropy and Civil Society at ITAM, states in the video that one of the ways in which Fondos a la Vista can be useful as a transparency tool is to counter misconceptions about the nonprofit sector, such as the idea that people don’t give in Mexico. "Looking at the data in Fondos a la Vista…you can see that there have been billions of pesos—hundreds of millions of dollars—donated by donors in Mexico. I think it’s a real cure for pessimism and for cynicism about the sector. I think it can really give a boost to the nonprofit sector and philanthropy in Mexico."

-- Rebecca Herman

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About Transparency Talk

  • Transparency Talk, the Glasspockets blog, is a platform for candid and constructive conversation about foundation transparency and accountability. In this space, Foundation Center highlights strategies, findings, and best practices on the web and in foundations–illuminating the importance of having "glass pockets."

    The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation Center.

    Questions and comments may be
    directed to:

    Janet Camarena
    Director, Transparency Initiatives
    Foundation Center

    If you are interested in being a
    guest contributor, contact:
    glasspockets@foundationcenter.org

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