Continuity and Change in Latin America and Spain
Edited by Paloma Fernández Pérez and Andrea Lluch
Chapter 3: The origins of modern family foundations in Spanish-speaking countries: a preliminary study
This chapter examines the rise of organized family philanthropy in Venezuela, Spain and Mexico during the second half of the twentieth century. It focuses on the crucial role played by local business groups and North American foundations and the enduring networks established by leading entrepreneurial and philanthropic families across and beyond these three countries. Since the end of the 1970s, the relevance and visibility of large family firms and entrepreneurial families have increased significantly worldwide. Specialized consultants, professors, institutes and lobbies have contributed very effectively to professionalize and institutionalize family business, create a favourable atmosphere for family capitalism and consolidate family business studies as a new academic field (Fernández Pérez and Puig-Raposo, 2013; Puig, 2015). This movement has extended quickly and efficiently from the United States, where it originated, to the rest of the world, adapting to very different legal, political and economic cultures, and taking on very diverse forms. One of the most interesting effects of this process is the proliferation and growing social impact of foundations linked to or controlled by family firms and entrepreneurial families all over the world. Family foundations are not easy to research, as they have evolved within very diverse traditions and legal frameworks, rarely disclose relevant quantitative information and often overlap with related phenomena such as the third sector and corporate social responsibility.
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