After months of meticulous planning, we worked tirelessly to ensure that the second edition of the Impact Minds Conference: Standing Together was an exceptional event in every way, surpassing even the outstanding previous version. The warm welcome of nearly 600 people, of whom 250 were Brazilians, who received us in Rio de Janeiro with open arms, parallels the symbology of the imposing Christ the Redeemer, an iconic monument of Rio de Janeiro. The first few days, despite unusual weather, with persistent rains and the sun just peeking out, nothing could undermine the determination and enthusiasm of the impact minds, who came together with an unwavering willingness to be united in this extraordinary event that generated new connections and opened new opportunities to invest in our region.
Continuing the tradition of our first conference, we took a deep dive into a rich diversity of contexts and realities in and around Rio de Janeiro. Ten unique learning experiences took us on a journey that ranged from dire situations to moments of inspiration. At each meeting, we discover amazing stories from the past that gave birth to this city and nation to the new business practices of the new generations of Brazilians. We extend a cordial greeting to the teams that made possible the visits to Banco da Providêcia, Spectaculu, BNDES, Fiocruz, Sinal do Vale, Instituto Terra de Preservação Ambiental, Agua do Rio, Cidade do Samba, Little Africa, and Quilombo Cafundá Astrogilda.
Every significant event must have its starting point, and the Impact Minds: Standing Together Conference was no exception. The opening cocktail party at the Museu do Amanhã, a truly wonderful place, served as the perfect setting for the connections to flourish amid an atmosphere full of joy and enthusiasm. It was a show in which Latinos led the celebration with their contagious energy and unwavering passion and managed to inspire those who came from faraway lands with the unique joy that characterizes our region. This inaugural experience was more than just a celebration; It was an open invitation to forge deep bonds and bonds between all Impact Minds, regardless of their geographical origin.
Weaving connections and transforming the future: Our commitment to inclusion and empowerment
The start of our days of panels, workshops, sharing collectives, and inspirational conversations reflected our deep commitment to positioning people at the center of impact. From mobilizing capital in an increasingly interconnected world, inspired by the success of our sister networks like EVPA, AVPN, AVPA, and now with the GAIN platform, to tackling fundamental issues like racial inclusion, gender diversity, and women empowerment.
«It is necessary to open spaces and places to black, indigenous, and impoverished people who represent their communities, who represent diversity, to seek them out, including them, and supporting them in their work.»Tom Mendes, Brazilian Identities Institute
The panels and discussions transcended the surface, exploring issues of equity and social justice in critical areas such as mental health, combating racism, and reducing social inequality. Individual responsibility was also highlighted, with a call to recognize our role in today’s challenges and to actively engage in finding solutions.
At the same time, with the presence of the Presidents of the Latin American Development Bank and the Brazilian Development Bank, Sergio Diaz-Granados and Aloizio Mercandante, we were able to highlight the fundamental role they play in the impact ecosystem, providing catalytic capital resources, facilitating financial innovation and collaboration with philanthropic and private actors. Working in an articulated way, these organizations can potentially mobilize private resources through blended finance structures for the same purpose. Their greater willingness to take risks and work with longer terms allows them to reduce the risk and cost to private investors, maximizing the amount of resources contributing to generating more significant positive social and environmental impact.
On the other hand, we highlight the exceptional conversation on the role of women in the impact ecosystem, exploring various practices and perspectives from across the region. This talk was highly enriching and essential to continue redefining and recognizing women’s immense commitment in multiple contexts and settings.
As part of the closure of this first day of panels, the Women’s Empowerment Award was presented, granted by the Bayer Foundation, to five exceptional leaders who, with their creativity, initiative, and tireless dedication, are making significant contributions to social change through its startups. Listening to these inspiring women was an absolute delight, and we were overjoyed to see how such fantastic, high-impact ideas have the power to transform entire communities. This recognition celebrates their achievements and reminds us of the importance of supporting and empowering women in their quest for a better and more equitable world.
Brazil: An Evolving Impact Ecosystem – Honoring the Legacy and Shaping the Future
The total immersion of Brazil in the impact ecosystem led us to a profound reflection on the challenges and opportunities in this country, full of diversity and cultural richness. We recognized the need to address areas where there is still a long way to go, with a particular focus on the vital role of women and Afro-Brazilian communities in creating meaningful change. During our discussions, we remember and honor those no longer with us, such as the heartfelt tribute that the attendees as a whole paid to Bernadete Pacífico, a quilombola leader from Bahia, whose tragic murder on August 17 shocked everyone.
These legacies, like that of Pacífico, are inspirational beacons that light the way for current and future generations, urging us to continue building the foundations of social impact in a country that harbors the tremendous potential for positive change. As we move forward, we remember and learn from those who came before us, pledging to carry on their legacy with determination and resilience, with the firm conviction that a brighter future is possible for Brazil and the entire world.
Foster social change for positive impact
On the third day of our conference, we witnessed an essential conversation in collaboration with the CEO of the Skoll Foundation, Don Gips, and Paula Moreno, founder and president of Manos Visibles, where the critical role of private and public investors in the impetus for social change. Moreno and Gips shared valuable experiences and perspectives to make a positive impact in our communities.
In addition, in collaboration with the IDB LAB and Coca-Cola Latin America, we had the privilege of presenting to the Latimpacto community and the attendees of Impact Minds: Standing Together the exciting Green Catalytic Fund. This innovative initiative aims to significantly impact early-stage solutions related to decarbonization and the search for carbon neutrality (net zero). Although this fund has a regional focus, it pays special attention to the Amazon, recognizing the critical importance of this region for our area and the entire planet. This initiative demonstrates the commitment of Latimpacto and its partners’ commitment to protecting our environment and promoting a more sustainable future.
Another of the big points on the day’s agenda was giving rise to the voices of the Pan-Amazonian communities, which turned out to be an essential moment of reflection on the importance of empowering indigenous communities and peasant peoples in the Amazon, as well as protecting this region as an invaluable meeting point and coexistence between human beings, other living beings and nature.
The urgency of designing strategies that support these communities’ quality of life and territorial management was highlighted, especially in the face of threats such as deforestation, forest fires, cattle ranching, and the lack of local opportunities and infrastructure. Multilingual communication and education emerged as fundamental pillars to empower these communities, ensuring their active participation and rights in decisions affecting their territory. It was emphasized that the impact of local work in the Amazon transcends borders and that the preservation and care of this region continues to be a global responsibility.
Ultimately, the need to protect and empower indigenous and local communities in the Amazon was reaffirmed as a cornerstone to ensure a sustainable and equitable future for all its inhabitants.
“It is important to understand what we are fighting for, as our work will be local but the impacts will be global”.Angela Mendes, Comité Chico Mendes
Together for positive global change! The call of Latin America
Under a regional approach with a global projection, the conference culminated masterly with the inspiring words of Natalye Paquin, Director of the Rockefeller Foundation, who provided an exemplary closure to three days of enriching dialogue. In her speech, Natalye highlighted the prevailing challenges that require immediate action to change our world, underscoring the critical role that all of Latin America plays in this process.
She urged us to strengthen initiatives like the ones we were forging during the conference. She expressed her deep appreciation to the members, team, and board of Latimpacto for providing the space that allowed this event. Her message reminded us that together, with a unified commitment, we have the power and responsibility to drive meaningful and positive change on our planet.
We express our deepest gratitude to Brazil, to the associate members of Latimpacto in this country, and to the production and organization team of the event, whose hard work made it possible to bring together more than 580 Impact Minds during these inspiring three days. We value and celebrate the collaboration and spirit of unity that filled every moment of the Conference.
As of now, we are preparing with enthusiasm for our third Conference: «Impact Minds: Standing Together» in Oaxaca, which will take place from September 9-11, 2024. We look forward to another event full of learning, connection, and action for positive social impact in our region and beyond.
This Conference is a milestone. The Latimpacto team does not stop and will continue to do its best, even more motivated, with all the support received, to mobilize more capital toward impact.