Generating Opportunities, Shared Prosperity for SocietyBy Gabriela Mastache | Fri, 06/12/2020 - 17:35
Q: What is Fundación Azteca’s role within Grupo Salinas?
A: Fundación Azteca has been the main social actor of Grupo Salinas, though the group has also other social initiatives such as Ciudad de Las Ideas, Caminos de la Libertad and Kybernus. The foundation’s purpose comes from Ricardo Salinas’s purpose of generating “inclusive prosperity.” This belief is embedded in the DNA of the group and basically means creating prosperity for everyone where our group operates. This concept has foundations on three pillars: economic, environmental and social value.
Q: What is the role of the Mexican business sector in the creation of inclusive prosperity?
A: In Mexico, although there is great potential, there is still a significant lag in terms of business participation in the social sector, while businesses in more advanced economies participate more actively. Grupo Salinas, being aware of the opportunity that exists within the private sector to generate inclusive prosperity, launched its Advisory Councils to create relationships with the most important local business leaders in different regions of the country and promote inclusive prosperity, while supporting social participation. We are aware that the government cannot solve Mexico’s biggest problems by itself and that is why Fundación Azteca partners with other foundations, civil societies, the private sector and governments to produce better results and a much larger impact. We all have to work together and take responsibility to change the way we do things in this country.
Q: Given the participation of Fundación Azteca in different arenas, what are the most pressing challenges you usually face?
A: The most important challenge we foresee in the future is how to contribute to a social awakening in which citizens and businessmen take responsibility for the future of our country. Therefore, generating consciousness and participation in society is key to expect and demand better government, create positive environments in the community and, ultimately, generate the impact we would like to see.
One of our social programs, Red Social Azteca, is a network conformed by more than 2,000 organizations that aim to transform the country through their everyday operations. These organizations tend to be local, highly motivated and focused on solving local issues. We need to support these organizations and help them increase their effectiveness through training, tools and best practices. For instance, we host every year the Summit of Social Entrepreneurship with the help of the British Council and a French association to deliver workshops where social entrepreneurs learn how to generate projects that could allow them to be economically sustainable and also providing their causes with more resources. Social organizations usually have a hard time meeting their economic expenses; if they can generate sustainable productive projects in parallel, they would be able to fulfill their objectives easier.
Of the various initiatives in which Fundación Azteca engages directly, the main challenge we perceive is in the education sector. Plantel Azteca, which has been an effort of over 20 years, addresses this issue. It is a school for low-income children with high performance, educated specifically to strengthen their talents, including developing leadership skills. We believe that by supporting talented youths, they will become the entrepreneurs, business owners and responsible leaders of tomorrow. The promise of this model is tremendous since it is replicable with state government alliances.
Q: What strategies can be put in place to increase donations and promote private sector’s participation with foundations?
A: In Mexico, we need more tools that allow and encourage donations. For two years in a row, the organizations and members of the Red Social Azteca have signed and delivered legal initiatives to grant tax breaks designed to encourage companies to donate more. Unfortunately, these initiatives have not been turned for approval but we will keep trying as this is a great area of opportunity.
The US, for example, has a strong donation culture, which is supported by the taxation system as an immediate tax deduction and at a greater percentage. In Mexico, if you personally donate, you receive a tax refund. Our proposal is that tax authorities allow automatic deductions for all donations and that all companies could donate 0.05 percent of their profit to organizations authorized by the SHCP. This way, you generate incentives.
Q: After more than 20 years, what have been Fundación Azteca’s most relevant achievements?
A: The Orquesta Esperanza Azteca program has supported more than 30,000 children over its 10-year history. Through learning music, these children build confidence, increase their focus and learn the value of discipline and teamwork and are kept away from drugs. This project is an example of how great results and transformation can be obtained through working hand in hand with the private sector and government.
Another project we are proud is Plantel Azteca. In 20 years, 12,000 students have graduated from this program. One of our students, coming from an underprivileged background, is the second Mexican to study a dual masters’ degree in Harvard. He is proof that with the appropriate support, talented individuals can accomplish their goals and dreams.
Limpiemos México has recovered more than 250,000 tons of solid waste over 10 years. Red Social Azteca has over two thousand affiliates. Movimientos Azteca has promoted projects from different civil organizations and has helped them to collect more than MX$2.5 billion (US$103.7 million). An example of the achievements through Movimiento Azteca is support for the Red Cross, with whom we participate every year. Thanks to this effort, the Red Cross has received money to purchase more than 1,500 ambulances. Through the help of TV Azteca, we provide a wide platform to communicate these needs and obtain donations and support.
Fundación Azteca is the social foundation of Grupo Salinas. With a 23-year track record, the foundation supports multiple programs in areas such as culture and education, environmental conservation and capacity building and networking for NGOs