Turning the poverty of the favela (slum) into a museum artifact. This is how Gerando Falcões (GF) leaders define the purpose of the social organization. Calling businessmen, civil society and public authorities, Gerando Falcões raised, in just two months, BRL 52.8 million for the 100% digital campaign to fight hunger called “Corona no paredão, fome não“.
Large companies joined the initiative with massive donations, such as Accenture, which donated BRL 11 million, Bradesco bank, with BRL 3.4 million, and the investment bank XP Inc., with more than BRL 1 million. Although institutional donors account for the largest share of the total donations, Gerando Falcões managed to mobilize 96,465 donors, the vast majority of which are individuals.
Gerando Falcões’s campaign plans to distribute more than 352,000 food vouchers to needy families in 21 Brazilian states, serving 176,187 families and guaranteeing food for more than 880 thousand people. Beneficiaries receive a card on which a monthly amount is deposited for the purchase of food and hygiene items.
“The hunger massacres people in the favelas, countryside and rural areas. Our food voucher is arriving in these places. The third sector managed to reach these places earlier,” says Alex dos Santos, known as Lemaestro, Gerando Falcões’ expansion director and co-founder alongside Edu Lyra, CEO; Mayara Lyra, financial administrative director and Amanda Boliarini, multiplier of social technologies.
For the logistics to work, Gerando Falcões created a network operating system: the food vouchers are sent to its own units or to NGOs and community leaders involved, who are in charge of distributing the cards to the neediest families in each favela. The entire process follows an excellence program and is detailed in transparency reports.
According to Lemaestro, the fundraising campaign’s success is the result of the relationship of trust built by Gerando Falcões with the private sector and civil society, based on transparency, data, and results.
He says that Gerando Falcões has always considered the donors’ involvement with communities as or even more important than the money donated. “We try to connect donors with the social leaders of the communities, to bring the private initiative into the favela.”
The campaign to fight hunger shows Gerando Falcões’s social entrepreneurship formula, which adds up network and scale action, participation of civil society and private initiative, and a bit of technology. Thus, Gerando Falcões became a kind of social innovation hub focused on developing scalable solutions to reduce poverty.
Technology for scaling social transformation
Gerando Falcões began as a lecture project in public schools in São Paulo city. In 2013, the organization received the first Seed round from the PDR Institute and that’s when it started to become professional. “It was the turning point. We learned how to manage processes, work with data and raise funds. We set up a culture and sports center and a professional qualification front. That’s when we started testing technology and social business solutions,” Lemaestro says.
Gerando Falcões, which defines itself as a data-oriented social organization, adopted a management model with goals, performance indicators, management processes, career plans and employee bonuses. Today, Gerando Falcões raises funds for its projects through partnerships with network sponsors, tax incentive sponsors, social investors, supporters and individual donors.
The next step was the expansion to take the knowledge acquired so that other community leaders and social organizations can reproduce its performance and management model. Then, Gerando Falcões began to build its network of accelerated and associated NGOs, including an initial investment to fund their projects and staff. Today, Gerando Falcões is accelerating 28 NGOs and hopes to reach the end of the year with 36 in its portfolio.
“We decided to train leaders and NGOs that were already working, but did not have the tools and the knowledge to unite the private sector with the third sector to leverage their projects,” Lemaestro says.
This process gave rise to Falcons University, a training program for social leaders. Twelve modules encompass the entire Gerando Falcões entrepreneurial path and focus on subjects such as favela expertise, private sector expertise, public policies, technology, and innovation.
Since 2019, Falcons has trained 102 leaders and expects to train 540 by the end of 2023. In the end, leaders can remain in the Gerando Falcões network as an accelerated unit or as a partner unit.
Gerando Falcões’s growth strategy is focused on strengthening the partner NGOs network, on the training of community leaders and on the expansion of the social business front, to make the organization a sustainable and financially stable business. Last November Gerando Falcões launched its bazaar of donated products, of which the amount collected is donated to social projects. In April, the bazaar turned into e-commerce.
Gerando Falcões‘ most recent project, “Favela 3D – Digital, Dignified and Developed”, was launched this week in São José do Rio Preto city. This is a pilot project to turn a favela called Vila Itália, where 240 families live in precarious housing without access to treated water, into a developed community with basic infrastructure (sanitation, water and electricity).
Gerando Falcões once again resorted to networking: it called on the third sector, the private sector and the public sector to participate in the project. According to the project, the São José do Rio Preto city will regularize the land; the São Paulo’s state government will pay part of the houses and build squares for sports and leisure; Gerando Falcões coordinates the collection of donations from individuals and companies.
In addition to the transformation of the area, Favela 3D will also provide a follow-up with families and the implementation of business cooperatives and education projects, so that residents can generate income.
Gerando Falcões’s idea is to test the model in Vila Itália and then scale the solution to end the Brazilian favelas. According to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistic, the number of households in favelas has almost doubled in the country in ten years: in 2010, it was 3.22 million; by 2019, that number had jumped to 5.12 million.