This profile was prepared when Celso Grecco was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Celso harnesses the structure of existing financial markets to generate new avenues for social financial investment. Celso has created a Bolsa de Valores Sociais (BVS), or Social Stock Market, that operates within Brazil’s largest stock exchange, Bovespa. Celso offers investors a portfolio of certified, credible social investment opportunities. Investors measure their return in social impact, holding citizen organizations (COs) accountable through regular progress reports. All 30 organizations initially posted for investment have been fully funded, representing US$2.2 million. Celso uses the structures and tools of the existing stock exchange to channel capital to the social sector with efficiency, credibility, and transparency absent in current philanthropic avenues. By demonstrating the social impact of investments, the BVS is creating a willing culture of social investment amongst businessmen and women. Moreover, translating social investment directly into the realm of business investing eliminates the perception that philanthropy is the same as charity.