Philanthropic leadership for the 21st century: Visions from EGADE Action Week

A conference and panel with philanthropy leaders and experts took place at EGADE Business School in Monterrey.


As part of the second edition of EGADE Action Week, philanthropy leaders and experts gathered on May 14 in Monterrey to discuss the future and transformation of philanthropic initiatives in the 21st century.

Melissa Berman, recognized internationally for her leadership in philanthropy, delivered the keynote address, which was followed by a panel discussion with prominent sector specialists.

In his welcome message, broadcast live from Budapest, Hungary, Horacio Arredondo, dean of EGADE Business School - Tecnológico de Monterrey, stressed the importance of this event as a vital space to inspire leaders and promote the adoption of responsible business practices that will generate a positive, sustainable impact on society and the environment.

“Our EGADE Action Week is part of our strategy to invite the community, inside and outside the classroom, to participate, generating learning and collaboration opportunities from a variety of perspectives,” the Dean said, underscoring the transformational and impact mission of the week of activities.  


In her keynote address, “Philanthropic Leadership for the 21st Century,” Berman explored the contemporary landscape of global philanthropy, highlighting the opportunities and challenges for leadership in this sector.

“There is a lack of trust. So the challenge for philanthropic leadership in the 21st century is to build the trust that will allow philanthropy to fulfill its potential,” she commented.

The former CEO and founding president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors explained that 80% of donations are centered on just 15% of organizations. Many donors prefer to invest in entities with well-established reputations to minimize risks and protect their own image. She believes that this trend limits the potential of the philanthropy sector.

She also discussed how emerging trends, such as the increase in global awareness and reach, the use of new tools and approaches, and a deeper commitment by donors, are remodeling philanthropy.  

Berman emphasized how philanthropic leadership can foster systemic change by creating more knowledge resources, improving communication between sectors, and strengthening NGOs.

She also highlighted the pivotal role of university centers in fomenting rigorous and independent research, connecting scholars from different fields, and serving as a reliable bridge between theory and practice.


The panel “New Trends in Strategic Social-Impact Philanthropy in Latin America” enjoyed the participation of Lorena Guillé-Laris, director of FEMSA Foundation; Magdalena Aninat, director of the Enterprise and Society Center at the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (UAI) Business School; and Rodrigo Villar, associate researcher at the UAI CIESC and CEFIS. Luciana Manfredi, a research professor at EGADE Business School, served as the moderator.

Aninat explained how universities in Latin America can support philanthropy through research and informed dialogue, thereby driving collaboration and trust within civil society.

For his part, Villar complemented this vision with examples of how knowledge production in universities can shape and acknowledge the third sector, thus promoting a culture of active, committed philanthropy.

Based on her experience at the FEMSA Foundation, Guillé-Laris focused on the cruciality of collaboration between academia, civil society, and the private sector in achieving long-term philanthropic goals. She highlighted the importance of combining immediate, tangible actions with far-reaching, evidence-based, and science-based strategies to address systemic problems.

Manfredi closed the panel by highlighting the need for collaboration and inclusion to tackle complex social challenges, stressing that “modern philanthropy must be agile, informed and collaborative, working hand in hand with each and every sector to drive real and sustainable change in society.”

The panel’s collective vision reflects a renewed commitment to philanthropy that not only contributes financially but also actively participates in building solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time.

The event concluded with a call to action for philanthropy leaders to use innovative and collaborative approaches to build a fairer, more equitable future, emphasizing the need for collaboration and adaptation to the contemporary challenges of global philanthropy.

The second edition of EGADE Action Week started on May 13 and ended on May 17, offering a variety of activities in Monterrey, Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Querétaro, with the purpose of inspiring and preparing business leaders and the community to embrace sustainability as a fundamental pillar in the development of successful businesses.

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