The idea to create Callia Foundation arose, 15 years ago now, during a trip I made around Latin America with the purpose of writing a book. A book that would provide an answer to a question that I kept asking myself at the time: what makes a great businessman share his wealth with others? A wealth often acquired with great effort and sacrifice.

Throughout that trip I talked to philanthropists and patrons in Spain, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, the United States… From those talks came the title of the book that I had in my mind and in my heart: The Luck of Giving. I had discovered something surprising: all the people who had shared their experiences with me had something in common. It was the feeling that they were the lucky ones because of the enormous satisfaction that giving gave them.

That trip also revealed another conclusion about the Ibero-American way of being. While in the United States, an entrepreneur who starts his professional activity in a garage can become one of the richest businessmen in the world and dedicate the rest of his life to eradicate polio is seen as a hero, in Latin America he arouses suspicions. 

When the patronage laws finally come into effect, bringing us in line with Anglo-Saxon world standars, these won’t be significant unless a cultural transformation hasn’t occured in our societies, one that recognises and identifies the figure of those who share their wealth with others as a source of personal fulfilment.

I once wrote that ‘art is an activity only for the brave’. I want to reiterate this in this letter, convinced that few adventures and discoveries are as worthwhile as the encounter with the other. It is upon this encounter, I believe, that the foundations of philanthropy and patronage are built, which have written and continue to write, with capital letters, the best chapters in the diverse history of what we have come to call the human being.

Carmen Reviriego

President Callia Foundation