The Institute

Instituto Ibirapitanga is dedicated to defending civil liberties and strengthening democracy in Brazil. Since 2017, it supports initiatives through its two programs:

Food systems
Racial equity

Ibirapitanga funds organizations, movements and collectives within Brazilian civil society that seek to bring about positive structural transformations in the country. Ibirapitanga values the autonomy and institutional capacity of the organizations it supports, seeking to build relationships based on trust and allowing for flexibility and openness to experimentation.

Instituto Ibirapitanga gives priority to initiatives that dialogue with its areas of focus, selecting them through direct identification (letter of invitation), specific calls for proposals or by evaluating proposals received in letters of intent.

Filmmaker Walter Salles founded Instituto Ibirapitanga, whose resources come from the earnings of an endowment fund.

Ibirapitanga, Piso and Marcgrav (1648)

Ibirapitanga is a tupi-guarani word for the pau-brasil tree. Ybirá means wood or tree and pitanga means red, a reference to the tree’s heartwood, which was used to dye fabric.

For its qualities and identity, the ibirapitanga tree carries the marks of the construction of Brazil.

As the writer Eduardo Bueno explains in the epilogue of Pau-Brasil (2002), it is the “most perfect and most relevant metaphor for Brazil’s natural resources; the botanical symbol of the usurpation of our citizenship and of our own omission throughout the process.”