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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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Now displaying: 2015
Dec 21, 2015
U.S. laws allow billions of dollars in charitable assets to sit in bank accounts and private foundations. Ray Madoff says it’s time to change those laws so that charitiable dollars are put to work tackling society's most pressing problems.
Dec 16, 2015
Next time on Tiny Spark: The case for releasing billions of dollars in charitable assets now sitting in banks and private foundations.
Dec 8, 2015
In the final segment of Tiny Spark's Guide to Good Giving, Columbia University professor Doug White says before giving to charity, donors should ask key questions of certain people there.
Dec 1, 2015
How do you vet solicitors calling on behalf of big name charities? Should we rate charities based on overhead costs? Why is it important to give year-round and not just this holiday? In Part Two of Tiny Spark's Guide to Good Giving, we hear from The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s editor Stacy Palmer.
Nov 23, 2015
We explore effective altruism, which urges donors to stretch their charitable dollars as far as possible by giving to the world's extreme poor. But aren't families living in our local homeless shelters equally deserving? We dive into the local versus global debate with Charlie Bresler of the nonprofit The Life You Can Save, which guides donors on fighting extreme poverty.
Nov 12, 2015
Think people in developing nations are worse off than ever? Steven Radelet says it isn't so. “The biggest misperception is that people are stuck in poverty. That might have been true up until 25 years ago, but the situation has dramatically changed since then.” Radlet's new book details the promising news in the fight to end extreme poverty across the globe.
Oct 16, 2015
Would you consider giving most of your money to charity? Donate your kidney to a stranger? New Yorker staff writer Larissa MacFarquhar talks extreme altruists.
Oct 7, 2015
Quick update to let you know what we're up to.
Sep 16, 2015
Anthropologist Amy Brown gives a behind-the-scenes look at the sometimes troubling ways a NYC public school markets its low-income students of color to donors.
Sep 2, 2015
Author and anthropologist Amy Brown goes inside a NYC public school and emerges with tough questions about marketing, race and philanthropy.
Aug 13, 2015
A Yale and Harvard-trained computer scientist worked for Microsoft in India for several years, trying to see how tech could improve the lives of the world's poor. His conclusion? Computers and smart phones will never solve the world’s problems. This former tech evangelist offers some old school ideas for helping us have greater impact.
Jul 30, 2015
American communities are still reeling and healing from recent gun violence, including the June mass shooting at a church in Charleston, S.C., and the gang violence that killed 10 people over July 4th weekend in Chicago. But our guests say there is something we can do about gun violence. To get there, we have to stop looking at the problem through a victim/perpetrator lens and begin tackling it at its root, like an infectious disease.
Jul 9, 2015
Ugandan-born writer and entrepreneur TMS Ruge challenges the current model of aid intervention. “Just because you're doing something for the poor doesn't mean you're doing it right.”
Jul 7, 2015
We hear your advice on a moral dilemma involving aid work, plus your reactions to John Paulson's $400M gift to Harvard.
Jun 29, 2015
Politico reporter Ken Vogel discovered that the Clinton Foundation has collected as much as $11.7 million in speaker fees from nonprofits. Some argue that celebrity appearances create buzz and more donations for nonprofits, but critics say the high price tags don’t produce worthwhile, measurable returns. Do big-name speakers add value to a charity's bottom line or are they just an “empty calorie high?”
Jun 16, 2015
A listener poses a moral dilemma regarding aid work; another weighs in on whether the business mindset can improve philanthropy.
Jun 11, 2015
Billionaire John Paulson recently gave $400 million to Harvard University. Critics say the money could have done more good elsewhere. Should large donations be scrutinized and debated? Or should we all just be thankful that Paulson is parting with $400 million at all?
Jun 4, 2015
How do you figure out exactly what people suffer and die from in every part of the world? Christopher Murray decided to try. His resulting Global Burden of Disease initiative ended up causing controversy among aid groups and large institutions like the World Bank and the United Nations.
May 22, 2015
Billions of aid dollars were devoted to reconstructing post-earthquake Haiti and fighting Ebola in West Africa. Economist Vijaya Ramachandran and journalist Amy Maxmen tried to track that spending. They found more questions and a lack of transparency.
May 13, 2015
Graduation season is here, but not all high school seniors are taking the direct route to college. In recent years, some 350 seniors have chosen to put higher education on hold for Global Citizen Year, which offers them year-long apprenticeships in Africa and Latin America. Founder Abby Falik says for most kids in America, college needs to wait.
May 6, 2015
Abby Falik says high school graduates should immerse themselves in year-long apprenticeships abroad before going to college; Falik's Global Citizen Year is their ticket.
Apr 30, 2015
Nepal continues to mourn the thousands who died after a massive earthquake. A global relief effort is now underway to assist more than a million people in need food assistance and other forms of relief. Our guest, Brian Tucker, says responding to crises in this way is shortsighted, costly and poor policy.
Apr 30, 2015
Seismologist Brian Tucker says we need to do more than help the victims of natural disasters; we need to prepare vulnerable communities before disaster strikes.
Apr 22, 2015
The Center for Effective Philanthropy's Phil Buchanan says nonprofits should push back when the business world says it has the answers to our big social problems.
Apr 22, 2015
“Folks sometimes forget that philanthropy is addressing the very problems that have defied market solutions or in some cases are the result of market failure," says Phil Buchanan, President of the Center for Effective Philanthropy. But sometimes that is overlooked or underestimated by the start-up world, according to Buchanan. “There's way too much ignorance about the sector," Buchanan tells us. "Particularly given what an important role it has played in this country, and the fact that our nonprofit sector, with all its flaws and all its faults, and all the ways it could be better, is the envy of the world."
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