Amália Souza

Amália is Co-Founder and Senior Advisor of CASA Socio-Environmental Fund, with the mission to promote environmental conservation and sustainability, democracy and social justice by supporting and strengthening the capacities and initiatives of civil society in South America. CASA gives grants to bona-fide community groups for their social justice and environmental protection efforts that use a systemic approach. Amália regularly speaks at international conferences about the important impacts and results of giving small grants to grassroots groups in building a sustainable planet.

Amália has worked with NGOs and the international philanthropic community since the mid-1980s. Her professional experience includes work with national and international indigenous peoples organizations, different facets of the international environmental movement, and most recently working with environmental activists in South America and Africa to replicate CASA’s activist fund model.  Her main interest has always been in catalyzing the best strategies to finance community based organizations protecting the planet’s broad biomes and ecosystems.. She is Chair of the Board of NUPEF-ICT Studies and Research Institute, and Steering Committee member of the Human Rights Funders Network, sits in the Advisory Board of The Ocean Foundation.  Amalia maintains close collaboration with Edge Funders Alliance, being an alumna of the Global Engagement Lab’s first cohort.  In 2017 she was shortlisted among 7 global leaders for the Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize.   She is also a co-founder of the Brazilian Philanthropy Network for Social Justice.

Between 2000-2004, before founding CASA, she was the Brazil Advisory Board Coordinator for Global Greengrants Fund, and between 94-99, she was Member Services and Development Director for the APC-Association for Progressive Communications.

More recently, she has been advocating for more recognition of the role of Global South funds in the wider international philanthropy field, as well as encouraging and modeling more collaboration among foundations and donors  in order to amplify the results of social justice grantmaking. She has done sporadic consulting with the AVEDA Corporation, evaluating, at different periods, their 25+ years of partnership with an Amazonian Indian tribe.

Amália lives in a rural community in the Atlantic Forest coastal mountains of São Paulo, Brazil. A lifetime project is to bring to her own community a sense of the global urgencies, and to transform that knowledge into actions toward local sustainability, including food security, watershed conservation, and resiliency and adaptation in times of climate change.

She has also brought Joanna Macy’s “Work that Reconnects” to Brazil, produced and revised the translation of her book Coming Back to Life (2004,), and organized Joanna’s first trip to Brazil in 2005. She is a trained facilitator of these experiential workshops founded on principals of systems thinking, eco-psychology, and deep ecology.

One of the most important tools in Amalia’s life work is her singing. She believes that to elevate humanity’s consciousness in order to revert our destructive actions in this planet, we need to vibrate our energy at a much higher level, and that music and other ludic methods of creativity, and the expression of love in its purest form, can finally take us there.

Featured works:

Connecting the dots after the annual EDGE Funders conference: December 2011.

How Global South funds are evolving the field of international philanthropy:


July 1, 2020: A New Era for Philanthropy?
May 20, 2020: Local socio-environmental funds – Exporting social technology to preserve life
2018: How Global South funds are evolving the field of international philanthropy