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Investing in Brazil’s Black and Indigenous Movements Benefits Us All

Why We Invested: Instituto de Referência Negra Peregum and Instituto Ibirapitanga
Fabio Tran
Venture Partner (Representative)
Nathalie Zogbi
Principal (Representative)
Samuel Emilio
Associate (Representative)

Our commitment to reshaping systems to ensure all learners in Brazil have a chance to thrive means that pursuing approaches that address the effects of structural racism must be a priority in everything we do.

One of the few policies in place that aims to address racial inequities at a systemic level is Law 12.711/2012, also known as the Quota Law, which ensures at least 50% of the seats in public universities will be filled with public school students, following the racial distribution of the population in that state. The law has provided hundreds of thousands of Black and Indigenous students access to better education since it was passed in 2012.

The Quota Law broke a historical pattern of under-representation of Black and Indigenous people in higher education. A diploma from the country's free public universities is a significant reputational credential that opens up access to the job market and leadership positions in the private and public sector, which has been historically dominated by the white upper class in Brazil. Ten years after implementation, the Quota Law is up for review, which is an opportunity to improve it and ensure its ongoing positive impacts for students of all races and backgrounds. .

To strengthen the support for affirmative action in education, Imaginable Futures has invested in Instituto de Referência Negra Peregum (Peregum) and Instituto Ibirapitanga (Ibirapitanga), with a focus on making the case for upholding and improving the Quota Law in particular.

Our commitment to reshaping systems to ensure all learners in Brazil have a chance to thrive means that pursuing approaches that address the effects of structural racism must be a priority in everything we do.

Driving Change by Boosting Investment to Black- and Indigenous-Led Organizations

Peregum was founded in 2019 and is one of the members of the Coalizão Negra por Direitos (CNpD), translated as Black Coalition for Rights, a grand coalition of more than 200 Black organizations and collectives across the country, working together to create a shared agenda to fight against racism, the genocide of the Black population in Brazil, and to defend their rights. Peregum also offers support to Uneafro, a network of community prep courses supporting Black youth for university entrance exams and a very vocal proponent in favor of racial quotas in universities.

Brazil’s National Congress has become a significant actor in Brazil's struggle for basic human rights and education, as non-profits and social movements successfully shifted its advocacy for needed policy changes. But structural inequalities permeate Congress too, with only 25% of Congressional members who are Black, despite the fact that 56% of the country’s population is Black. And, while white-led education nonprofits and foundations have had a strong advocacy effort focused on the National Congress over the last five years, Black-led organizations have lacked sufficient resources to develop their own advocacy teams to advance their legislative agenda.

We invested in Peregum to address the underinvestment in Black-led organizations in Brazil, and ensure that Black movements are central to conversations around the Quota Law and other educational policies. By investing in Peregum, we are investing in the community voices they represent, to shape the policies that impact Black communities the most.

By investing in Peregum, we are investing in the community voices they represent, to shape the policies that impact Black communities the most.

Building Trust through Collaboration and Bold Action

Ibirapitanga is a foundation that has been investing in Black and Indigenous movements working on higher education in Brazil since its founding in 2017, including the strengthening of affirmative action policies like the Quota Law through its investments.

By collaborating with Ibirapitanga, we hope to plant the seeds for a new narrative around affirmative action to take root, one that acknowledges the positive impact of the law on society. The Quota Law has not only enriched the learning environments of public universities, but it has expanded Brazil’s understanding of how its Black population has contributed to its history, culture, economy and society.

In addition, our work with Ibirapitanga will support student activism and Black collectives at the country’s public universities. Imaginable Futures has invested in leadership development within the education system in Brazil. This investment illustrates our expanded understanding of who leads, or should lead, conversations to improve higher education.

By collaborating with Ibirapitanga, we hope to plant the seeds for a new narrative around affirmative action to take root, one that acknowledges the positive impact of the law on society.

To create the equitable future we envision for all learners, families, and communities across the country, organizations leading Brazil’s Black and Indigenous movements need more philanthropic support. That’s why we’re hopeful that investing in partners like Ibirapitanga and Peregum, which have been at the center and forefront of this fight towards an anti-racist education system, will be a key lever towards the future we imagine—a future that benefits us all.