Gilberto Dimenstein and Community Empowerment in Brazil (B)
Gilberto Dimenstein, a well-known Brazilian journalist, created a new model called Catraca Livre in 2011 that connected residents of Sao Paulo with untapped resources by aggregating information into a centralized online platform. As an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard, Dimenstein developed Catraca Livre to fulfill the goal of fostering community empowerment. From 2011 to 2019, Catraca Livre grew to become a major news site in Brazil, serving over 50 million users over 8 digital channels. Catraca Livre expanded its scope to focus on digital campaigns, which combatted issues like sexual assault and fake news. Catraca Livre also scaled as an organization by achieving financial independence and no longer relying on funding from foundation, moving into a new headquarters, and adding an in-house technology team. After stepping down as CEO of Catraca Livre in May 2017, Dimenstein founded a new venture, ReciproCidade, which leverages the resources of Catraca Livre to stimulate creative community projects to further its social impact. This case shows how Dimenstein scaled Catraca Livre to have greater reach throughout Brazil through the use of digital technologies and offers a model for community empowerment and advocacy globally through a digital platform.