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Tiny Spark

We investigate philanthropy, nonprofits and for-profit social good initiatives. In-depth interviews and shoe leather reporting from across the globe. Send us your tips. www.tinyspark.org
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Tiny Spark
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Now displaying: August, 2012
Aug 20, 2012
TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie, says there are millions of children around the world who are in need of shoes. He's based his entire business model on this premise. His for-profit company has enjoyed handsome gains by getting consumers to buy into his idea. In our story, we question whether Blake's assumption is accurate and if it is, whether giving children free shoes is the best solution. "It starts with a solution that we, or the donor, or the giver, thinks is appropriate," Laura Freschi of New York University tells us. "That is, 'We would like to give people shoes,' which, in my opinion, is backwards because the way it should really start is with the person receiving to say, 'Well, what is your priority? What is it that you need?'" We also look at TOMS' Giving Partners; non-profits the company works with to distribute its shoes to children around the globe. As I started to compile a spreadsheet on TOMS Giving Partners, I was surprised to see the number of Christian Evangelical groups that kept cropping up. This got us looking into Blake Mycoskie's particular brand of Christian faith and how it may be informing the groups his company partners with and how they distribute TOMS shoes.
Aug 15, 2012
When an earthquake struck Haiti, medical volunteers from around the globe flew in to try and help. Many arrived having worked in crisis zones before, others had received training in disaster medicine. But it appears that a number of well-intentioned medical volunteers arrived in Haiti having never worked outside their home countries. They had no training in disaster medicine nor experience working in so-called "low resource" settings. This caused problems. In our next installment of Tiny Spark, we look at the challenges medical volunteers faced in Haiti, the repercussions of poor medical decisions, and what the medical community is doing now to promote disaster training so that volunteers are better prepared the next time crisis strikes.
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