Marcos Flávio Azzi

Ashoka Fellow
São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Fellow Since 2010


This profile was prepared when Marcos Flávio Azzi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Deeply concerned about income disparities in Brazil, Marcos Flávio is pioneering the field of strategic philanthropy while building bridges between wealthy people and citizen organizations (COs). Skillfully using his banking expertise, Marcos Flávio is combining financial market and management tools, with social impact measurements to build a strategic social investment model with the direct involvement of investors.

The Azzi Institute is creating a culture of accountability, preventing potential investors from supporting corrupt organizations and mitigating risk and uncertainty by helping investors identify and monitor successful projects that tackle social causes of interest to them. Although there are similar models in the world—i.e. the Institute for Philanthropy in England or WISE in Switzerland—the Azzi Institute differentiates itself by moving beyond philanthropy education and investor network building. Marcos Flávio’s approach is transforming traditional family legacy investments into strategic, impactful philanthropy. The Azzi Institute’s greatest contribution has been to bring principles of social investment to family-owned business managements (family councils), thus helping them build long-term investment commitments. Investors are now using a percentage of their patrimony to determine the size of their initial investments and gradually increase that percentage over time to build a legacy for their families. As a result COs are gaining access to previously untapped resources and are constantly challenged by the Azzi Institute to strengthen their organizational capacity and become increasingly financially sound and transparent.

As a result, these new types of investors are contributing to the development of Brazil’s citizen sector while fostering new social values for future generations. Barely two years after its launch, the institute has already built a portfolio of more than 600 social investors and 100 registered organizations. In 2009, 25 organizations received more than R$1M (US$556,000). Within the next five years Marcos Flávio plans to have grown this investment pool to R$10M (US$5.56M) and by 2012 he plans to spread the institute to Rio de Janeiro and other major Brazilian capitals.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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