At the Lemann Foundation, part of our mission is to equip Brazil’s leaders with the tools and opportunities they need to drive social change in both the short and long term. In the shorter term, the Foundation provides people with opportunities to study and research at some of the world’s most acclaimed educational institutions. In the long term, it aims to increase the attractiveness of the public sector by partnering with government agencies to create a structured and qualified people management model.
Our efforts to unleash the power of both the current and rising generations of Brazil’s leaders play out two fronts:
To drive immediate improvements to Brazil’s leadership infrastructure, we have collaborated with some of the world’s most storied colleges and universities to create scholarships and research fellowships for young, civic-minded Brazilians.
Some of Brazil’s brightest future leaders are currently completing Lemann Fellowships at Columbia University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Oxford, the University of Southern California, and Yale University.
In an effort to promote racial equality — an essential component of addressing Brazil’s staggering economic inequality — the Lemann Foundation has partnered with EducationUSA and Voxy to create Ponte de Talentos, a program that helps low-income Afro-Brazilian and indigenous students pursue postgraduate degrees in the United States. We also offer full scholarships for Afro-Brazilian postgraduate students through partnerships with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Baobá Fund. And in the newest phase of our longstanding global partnership with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Brazilians from underprivileged backgrounds accepted to the university will have 100 percent of their tuition and living expenses covered. The young leaders study subjects such as education, public health, and public administration so they can return to Brazil equipped with the skills to drive meaningful social change at scale.
Through these programs and public sector knowledge exchange programs like the Education Talent Network and the Health Talent Network, we have supported over 700 young Brazilian leaders, including more than 100 who currently work in the public sector and seven who were elected to statewide or national office in 2018.
In the longer term, our sights are set on forging policies that formalize and professionalize the public sector to attract a critical mass of changemakers. We are working to increase the appeal of a career in Brazil’s public sector and the quality of the services it delivers by partnering with government agencies. Together, we are creating a structured and qualified people management model to bolster the government’s ability to deliver high-quality public services equitably and reliably.
Identifying and recruiting qualified public servants requires four things:
1) establishing objective selection criteria for government jobs
2) delineating the types of skills needed in various areas
3) creating clear development plans for public sector career paths, and
4) implementing an evaluation process built around key competencies.
In 2017, the Lemann Foundation began organizing meetings with people management experts in various public sector backgrounds to discuss these imperatives. Over the last few years, we have taken many of these stakeholders — including a number of Brazilian governors — on trips to Yale University, University of Oxford, and Singapore to learn about crafting and implementing new selection models for key public sector positions.
Thanks in large part to the collective advocacy of the alliance between the Lemann Foundation, Fundação Brava, Instituto Humanize, and Instituto República, 40 government authorities in Brazil have made a commitment to work together to develop a people management model that will advance this agenda. Eight state governments are already implementing more structured processes for attracting, selecting, and developing public sector talent, mirroring successful efforts in Australia, Chile, and the United Kingdom.