Who We Are

Avina is a Latin American foundation that identifies opportunities to achieve systemic change relevant for sustainable development, by connecting and empowering people and institutions in shared agendas for action. The organization creates and supports collaborative processes that produce effective cooperation among entrepreneurs, companies, civil society organizations, academia and governmental institutions so together they can contribute to advancing the common good.  Through its activities, Avina builds conditions capable of influencing decision makers and generating the changes necessary for a sustainable Latin America.


Objectives 2013-2017

Avina’s main objective is to contribute to concrete and relevant changes that lead to more sustainable development in Latin America.


We believe two types of changes will be key in the region:


    1. Placing value on public goods, that is, what belongs to all of us as citizens, since we believe that, as the number of public goods rises, inequality diminishes.
    2. The transition toward a new economy that preserves natural wealth and contributes to social progress.


To reach this impact objective, Avina will invest in four institutional assets:


  • Social Capital: the capacity to bring together a critical mass of allies and different actors on the ground with the potential to have an impact on public policy and influence society.
  • Operational Excellence: the capacity for analysis, institutional coordination and management that empowers the team to create favorable conditions for change.
  • Intellectual Capital: the capacity to transform the lessons learned by Avina into a methodology for value creation that strengthens its actions and guides team training.
  • Communication: the capacity to craft narratives and messages that have resonance inside and outside the region and add concrete value to the agendas for change in Latin America.


These challenges reflect Avina’s commitment to constantly learn, adapt and develop new institutional capacity in order to increase its contribution to the opportunities for impact prioritized by Avina and its allies.



Avina is based on four ethical principles that define the organization’s precepts, its work philosophy and its actions:


  • The full realization of the human being, in a context of individual, social, and environmental harmony, as the central focus of sustainable development.
  • Human dignity expressed as the exercise of democracy, equity of opportunities, freedom with responsibility, honesty, and solidarity.
  • Modesty, which must guide our actions, encouraging us to celebrate the contributions of others in the process of building together a better world for each and every person.
  • Continuous innovation, which allows us to be increasingly effective and productive.



Avina was founded in 1994 by the Swiss entrepreneur Stephan Schmidheiny, who inspired the vision and values that guide the organization. Avina is maintained by VIVA, a trust created by Stephan Schmidheiny to further sustainable development through alliances between successful and responsible businesses and philanthropic organizations that promote leadership and innovation.

Mission: Impact sustainable development from Latin America by creating favorable conditions for diverse actors to join forces in contributing to the common good.


Photo: Carlos March