University of São Paulo: Amigos da Poli Heritage Fund turns ten years old and continues to grow


Amigos da Poli Heritage Fund is ten years old and is an example of the importance of heritage funds for universities. The idea began in 2009, when a group of former students who were returning from an MBA (Master in Business Administration) used American endowments as a base and thought they could transport this idea to Brazil. From there, the project began to be structured until it became something concrete in 2012, being launched with R$ 4.6 million, raised from donations.

Endowment funds are more common in other countries. Harvard University, for example, has an estimated fund of US$37.6 billion. “In the beginning, they were also small and they grew until they reached these billions. We started a story as one of the first here in Brazil to launch this type of initiative and several others have already emerged that looked at us and thought they could do it too. Over these ten years, we have helped more than 50 institutions to structure theirs”, comments the president of the Amigos da Poli Heritage Fund, Tiago Michele Ziruolo.

Currently, the Amigos da Poli Fund has assets of around R$ 43 million. Ziruolo explains how it works: “You have an asset, it is not touched, it is invested and its income is used to invest in projects and generate impact through it. In this way, it is guaranteed that this heritage will only grow over the years and perpetuate itself, always generating an impact”.

With this amount, the president of the fund describes that Amigos da Poli manages to invest approximately R$ 1.3 million per year in USP. The resources are invested through public notices, open to professors, students and employees. In the public notices, they can present their projects and, based on a careful evaluation, the best ideas are selected to receive resources.

Impact areas
Four major categories guide investments: projects that revolutionize teaching didactics and introduce new methodologies at school, scientific research and innovation, extension groups and study centers and, finally, startups .

Another area of ​​activity of the fund is the career center. “It was a project that worked very well in recent years, creating a bridge between the academy and the job market”, points out Ziruolo. It is a place to develop programs that place the student in a series of trainings, experiences, workshops and events, as well as internship programs.

The president reports that each year the Amigos da Poli Heritage Fund benefits around 600 students. Over the years, more than 10,000 students have been impacted through these programs. In addition, 214 projects were financed through these public notices and more than R$ 5 million has already been invested in the USP Polytechnic School. Ziruolo points out: “It is money that was essential to support a series of ideas that would not have happened without this resource”.

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