Investing in Young People Who Can
Transform Brazil

Get to know Fundação Estudar’s work which is helping to educate
the social leaders of the future

Created in 1991 by the Brazilian investor Jorge Paulo Lemann, Fundação Estudar invests in the education of young people – with scholarly excellence – which can transform the country. The Foundation was born after the then employee Carlos Brito, now CEO of AB InBev, requested support to study abroad. The request made Lemann reflect on so many Brazilians who could go further if they had access to cutting edge knowledge. With over 28 years of activity, more than 15 million Brazilians have already been impacted by the projects that motivate study and career.

Fundação Estudar is BrazilFoundation’s largest partner in the Donor Advised program. Since 2017 it has received US$1.6 million in resources from donors who live in the United States. Tomás Leme tells of how the Foundation came here and what are the projects for the future are.

Impacted by the Fundação Estudar Leaders Program

Impacted by the classroom and online courses

Youth impacted by the internet, through the portals and NaPrá

1. How and when was Fundação Estudar founded?

Fundação Estudar, a nonprofit organization that believes that Brazil will be a better country if more young people were determined to follow an impact trajectory, came about in 1991, a year after Carlos Brito asked Jorge Paulo Lemann for support in his study abroad. This request made Lemann reflect on how many people in Brazil, especially young talents, could go further and make a difference if they had the opportunity to acquire cutting-edge knowledge.

2. What is the purpose of the foundation?

The Foundation’s mission is to develop future transformative leaders in Brazil through the dissemination of a culture of excellence and leveraging the study and careers of young students and recent university graduates by training a community of leaders, encouraging international academic experiences and supporting career decisions. Fundação Estudar believes that people with big dreams can become impactful leaders, who act with more determination, applied knowledge, empowerment and integrity, forming a network of good people that attract more good people to leave a legacy for the country.

3. Why do we need to invest in education in Brazil?

Brazil has only four universities among the world’s top 500 according to the QS World Ranking in 2016. According to the Times Higher Education publication, only two. As a result, many good people, with the potential to become an important leaders for Brazil, do not have the opportunity to acquire cutting-edge knowledge. On the other hand, many young people who get scholarships abroad do not return to Brazil. Therefore, the Foundation is concerned with the education and training of young people who can make a difference with the premise that they return to Brazil to apply their knowledge here and, therefore, impact more people.

4. What are Fundação Estudar’s core programs? Could you please include impact numbers?

Fundação Estudar works on three fronts: Practical Application, Study Abroad and Estudar Leaders.

Estudar Na Prática (Estudar in practice) is the benchmark for career development for young Brazilians. Created in 2012, the project includes courses that assist the young person during the different phases of their personal and professional life, providing support in development, preparation for the job market and career decision making. In addition, it has a portal, NaPrá, which provides free content on self-knowledge, leadership and the market. Over these past five years, there were more than 9 million distinct access hits, and 1.3 million loyal users – according to the internal metrics used for access qualification. In 2017 alone, we had 8,888 young people who participated in our classroom and online courses, over a thousand volunteers contributed actively to this and we had 375 thousand active users in the portal. On YouTube, there were more than 1.6 million views.

The Estudar Fora pillar also began in 2012 with the guidance of young high school students interested in studying abroad. The following year, the impact was expanded through a content portal which today is the largest source of information for Brazilians who wish to study abroad. is a portal that has already reached more than 12 million young people and 2.5 million loyal users throughout its existence. There you can find details on how to prepare, information on scholarships and inspiring stories from those who got there. In 2017 alone, we had 800,000 active users who returned to the content and 1.7 million views on Youtube. The Prep Estudar Fora offers individualized and free support for young people with academic excellence who wish to study abroad. In 2017 we had Brazilians accepted in 73 universities from eight different countries, with a total of 111 acceptances, of which 29 were in top schools.

Finally, the program Líderes Estudar, the former Scholarship Program, aims to awaken the potential of the most promising young people in Brazil. In all, 673 Brazilians have already received all the necessary support to accelerate their personal and professional development, as well as financial support to study at the best universities in the world.

For 27 years, the Fundação Estudar scholarship program has aimed to awaken the potential of the most promising young people in Brazil. In all, 673 Brazilians have already been selected, each with a relevant story and trajectory to tell. Some of them are:

Ralf Toenjes, 26 years old. With support from Fundação Estudar, he studied Economics with a dual degree in Administration, at Insper, and Law, at USP. Founder of Renovatio, Ralf has an ambitious goal: to change the vision of a million people by 2021 through the donation of glasses. The starting point was a partnership with the German inventor Martin Aufmuth, with whom Ralf created OneDollarGlasses, technology that allows the production of extremely resistant and inexpensive grade glasses. Over 10 thousand people have already been impacted by the project and, by learning their stories, Ralf discovered another problem: 85% of Brazilian municipalities do not have ophthalmologists and almost 20% of the population needs to wear glasses and do not know it. He realized then that he could contribute to the underprivileged population and developed a bus equipped with two complete eye clinics that can handle more than 200 people a day.

Giovanna Lemos was selected for Prep Estudar Fora in 2017. In 2016, her senior year of high school, she was accepted at Emory and Rochester Universities and the University of British Columbia, in addition to passing into medicine program at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. Despite her achievements, she chose not to enroll in any of the options and followed her dream of studying neuroscience abroad, pursuing a career in research. She risked taking a gap year, where she was able to develop and explore several areas of research. Prep Estudar Fora, with its mentors and the tremendous emotional support provided by students and the Fundação Estudar community, made a difference in the second round of selection. The result was an acceptance by the school of her dreams, Johns Hopkins University. In 2018, Giovanna was also selected for the Foundation Scholarship program and is now a member of the Líderes Estudar network.

Giovanna Fundação Estudar BrazilFoundation Donor Advised Doação Recomendada

Lemos Ribeiro

6. Fundação Estudar is in the process of building a endowment fund. How is fundraising being done for this fund?

For some time, the Fundação Estudar has had an endowment fund and since its creation we continue to focus on its growth. One of the annual actions taken is to invest the surplus of each year into the fund. However, it is only in 2017 that we began to look at this as important way of achieving the organization’s financial sustainability. We do not yet have a team focused exclusively on fundraising for the Endowment, but more and more we are publicizing the possibility to our donor network. Funding for this fund looks to each donor to adopt one or more scholarships with the proceeds of the donation. In this way, the dream is that in the future this endowment fund will bear the cost of all the scholarships that Fundação Estudar provides.

7. Last year Fundação Estudar held its first fundraising event in the United States. How was the experience?

Since 2015, Fundação Estudar has increased its effort in attracting resources to the organization because of the growth of our other work fronts and our founders’ desire that more people be members of our challenge. In 2017 we saw the opportunity, with the help of former scholars and supporters living in New York, to hold an event to spread our impact and results, create a new network of supporters, and capture resources beyond our national territory.

The event was held with the support and participation of our fellow number zero, Carlos Brito, CEO of AB InBev, who was the speaker for the evening. We gathered about 60 people to talk about the challenges of the organization and to disseminate a Culture of Excellence, named after the book that tells the story of Fundação Estudar, launched the same year.

8. What are the plans to engage more collaborators in the United States?

We plan to continue to return to the United States to raise funds and engage more collaborators. In 2018 we held a second event with a larger audience and the participation of another speaker who is a great inspiration for our network, Alex Behring, 3G Capital, who in addition to donating his time to the organization, after learning more about our directors, the solid management structure and our track record of results, also became a donor.

In addition to events, we will begin to create structures to have representatives in the United States, allowing the connection of our donors who live in the country with the supported young people who study at the best universities, so that they can connect with the Fundação Estudar network of leaders.

9. How has the partnership with BrazilFoundation been?

BrazilFoundation is a long-standing partner and facilitator of our fundraising abroad. Through the Donor Advised Program, we have been able to provide security for our donors residing in the United States and ensure that they receive tax benefits, which encourages and stimulates support for Fundação Estudar.

Another important aspect of the partnership is the knowledge that the organization has about the holding events and the fund-raising scene in the country. We were able to rely on a series of conversations and mentoring that have been of great help to our team.

10. Dreaming about the future: what could be done for Brazil with more resources?

Our country faces the problem of little diversity in the role models of national leadership that serve as inspiration for young Brazilians, most of them are in sports or entertainment. To change the Brazilian reality, we need more impactful leaders in all areas, such as science, academia, engineering, public management, research, among others. Thus, the more resources invested in education, the more good people will have the opportunity to acquire cutting-edge knowledge and make significant changes around here.


Want to support Fundação Estudar? Make a donation through BrazilFoundation’s Donor Advised Program at: