On September 17th Financial Times hosted BrazilFoundation and guests in New York for a panel discussion on “Women, Philanthropy and Social Change”. The talk featured 3 of the XII Gala New York honorees, as well as representatives fromFinancial Times and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women.

Noa Meyer, Managing Director and Global Head of 10,000 Women, Goldman Sachs, opened the talk, stating that the opportunity for economic growth is vast through programs that support women entrepreneurs. She also focused her talk on a measurement system in which Goldman Sachs uses to evaluate its global success supporting women leaders. “We noticed that by investing in women revenue increased fivefold and income doubled… it also has a multiplier effect in the community” she explained. Meyer then introduced the first 10,000 Women participant in Brazil, Gircilene Gilca de Castro, who founded Alimex Soluções em Alimentação Ltda. Since completing 10,000 Women, Castro’s business revenue has increased by 900% and she has hired over 40 new employees, most of which are women.

Next, Anália Timbó (Founder of Vidanca) Maria de Lourdes Braz (Founder of Casa de Santa Ana) and Brigitte Louchez(Coordinator of Barraca da Amizade), gave remarks on the challenges they face as women leaders in Brazil. All three women areBrazilFoundation grantees, and honorees at the XII Gala New York. The three women faced many struggles and overcame significant obstacles upon starting their projects, having difficulty obtaining funding, “Here in Brazil people give you a lot of excuses for not helping, ‘There aren’t enough resources. There isn’t a way’ we hear”, said Lourdes. Although their projects have been established for years, the women have faced difficulties in maintaining support for their operations, “Having institutional sustainability is a dream for all of us. The three of us have all been recognized for our work, and our projects have received awards. However, all of us have also been close to closing our doors in the past 1-2 years.”, noted Timbó. Despite these challenges, all women continue to lead their projects with spirit, “I have two kids. And my dream is to make Brazil better for them”, said Louchez.

Managing Editor at Financial Times, Gillian Tett, closed the event with remarks on the importance of investing in women, and about how women’s involvement in the economy or lack thereof must be taken into consideration when analyzing the state of an economy, “If we can get women to be engaged and to contribute, then we are better off all around. I think we all know that”, she stated.

Stay tuned in the next few weeks for developments on the BrazilFoundation Women for Women Project, an initiative launched this week to raise money for projects that promote opportunity for women. The project has already raised more than US $15,000 towards its goal of funding 10 projects in the coming year.

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Noa Meyer of Goldman Sachs

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Analia Timbo of Vidanca speaks

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Brigitte Louchez

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John Moncure, BrazilFoundation honorees, Gircilene, beneficiary of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, and Patricia Lobaccaro

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Leona Forman and Gircilene

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Gillian Tett of Financial Times

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