Chuck Collins inherited a half million dollar trust fund from his parents but decided to give it all away, allowing him to "unflinchingly look at the growing income and wealth inequalities that have opened up over the last 30 years." This one-percenter shares his concerns about the rise of the mega donor, the limits of philanthropy to create social change, and explains why we ought to support to the only institution that's ever offered wide swaths of the population a shot at the American dream.
Silicon Valley is celebrated as a bastion of innovation. But it now suffers from one of the greatest income gaps in the country. Nonprofits are struggling to meet the demands caused by rising inequality. We explore the disconnect between the immense wealth in the valley, and why so many residents and nonprofits remain cash-strapped and in need.
A new kind of cruise gives travelers the chance to experience the culture of the Dominican Republic while volunteering in activities like planting trees, building water filters and teaching English. We speak to travel agent Julie Schear, who says she gained a lot from the cruise but journalist Jacob Kushner discovers the volunteers were not helping locals as much as they had hoped.
Midnight Basketball was a popular program to get young men from high crime areas off the streets and into gyms. But did the program live up to its promise? Author and sociologist Douglas Hartmann describes the underside of Midnight Basketball and what it says about race, criminal justice, and how it became a form of policing and containment for young African American men.
This month the charity GiveDirectly will start giving thousands of Kenyans about a month’s salary, every month, for a decade or more --- with no strings attached. GiveDirectly co-founder Paul Niehaus discusses the sustainability of this project, why he chooses to give cash to poor people abroad rather than in the US, and the role of humility in aid work.
One year after the Flint water crisis, we look at how philanthropy responded, how it can better serve its communities, and what it needs to know about Flint in the decades ahead. Isaiah Oliver of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint joins us.
In the early 2000s, prominent philanthropists saw a big problem in America: a broken school system. They set out to fix it by funding in a charter school movement on a massive scale. Megan Tompkins-Stange has looked at the initiative and has uncovered myriad concerns and problems. She discusses this and her new book Policy Patrons: Philanthropy, Education Reform and the Politics of Influence.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is proposing free tuition at in-state public colleges and universities. But many of these schools already serve a number of wealthy students, and many low-income students of color attend small, private institutions that won't benefit from Clinton's plan. We explore the important role of private colleges in educating the nation's poor with Trinity Washington University president Patricia McGuire and former Vassar College president Catharine Hill.
Global health volunteering is a growing, multibillion dollar industry. But is it effective? “It seems like an awful lot of resources to invest in something for which there’s practically no evidence of its impact,” says Lehigh Professor Judith Lasker. She discusses her new book Hoping to Help: The Promises and Pitfalls of Global Health Volunteering.
An African-American leader of one of the nation’s largest foundations speaks about racial tensions, philanthropy’s diversity problem, and why these times require philanthropists to be courageous. We talk with W.K. Kellogg Foundation CEO La June Montgomery Tabron.
Is philanthropy doing enough to address racism and inequity in the U.S.? We speak to Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant. He’s among the few philanthropic leaders who has spoken up about the shooting deaths of two black men by white police and the sniper attacks of five Dallas police officers. He says it’s a problem that philanthropy shies away from these contentious issues. “Our silence is damning,” he tells us.
Criticism of wealthy donors who give to their alma maters instead of the poor; concerns about Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s effort to get billionaires to donate more than half their wealth to charity. We speak to the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy’s Aaron Dorfman.
NPR investigative correspondent Laura Sullivan discusses why aid organizations are not completely transparent about how they spend donor dollars. “I think that the numbers aren’t pretty, and I think they know that Americans would be frustrated by them,” she tells us.
Alex Barnard spent eight years researching food waste, which included regular dives into dumpsters and foraging in trash bags of major retail chains across New York City. He chronicles his experience in the new book Freegans: Diving into the Wealth of Food Waste in America.
We talk to Barnard about why we throw out so much edible food, why food pantries are a poor solution for hungry families, and why nonprofits that distribute leftovers may actually be perpetuating food waste.
The first ever World Humanitarian Summit is underway, but one of the world’s most respected humanitarian organizations will not be there. Doctors Without Borders decided to pull out. The organization acknowledged that the gathering has “never been more needed,” but also noted that shocking violations of international humanitarian law and refugee rights continue daily. They say the summit has become a “fig leaf of good intentions." We speak to Sandrine Tiller from Doctors Without Borders UK.
Rahama Wright was working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali when she saw firsthand the challenges women faced, trying to take care of themselves and their children. So in her early twenties, she founded a company to empower women in West Africa who picked shea fruit for a living. A decade on, Shea Yeleen now employs hundreds of women in Ghana, and its products are sold in more than 100 Whole Foods stores. Wright speaks with Tiny Spark about her personal journey and why she believes giving Africans business opportunities is often a more effective way to help than traditional forms of aid.
Charline Burton and her baby hid in a bathroom for two hours as terrorists struck a beach resort in Ivory Coast. We speak to the Belgian national about her near-death experience, how she managed to keep her baby quiet, and why she plans to remain in West Africa, continuing her work against conflict and violent extremism.
We speak to Pablo Eisenberg, a long-time observer and outspoken critic of American philanthropy. “The same people get the benefits, the same people serve on boards, and the foundations have the same priorities they had a hundred years ago,” he says. In fact, Eisenberg makes the case that philanthropy is fueling, rather than alleviating, income inequality.
In the wake of this week’s terrorist bombings in Brussels and heated anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S. presidential race, we read with interest Beenish Ahmed’s NPR essay, Learning — And Unlearning — To Be An 'Ambassador' For Islam. We invited Ahmed to speak more about her experience as a Muslim in America, trying to appear nonthreatening to an increasingly anxious American public.
When it comes to promises made by social movements, human rights scholar Rebecca Hamilton has heard it all. “Share this Facebook link and you can save the life of a child in Uganda. Wear this bracelet and you can bring peace to Darfur,” she recalls. “The problem is most of the time, it’s simply not true that doing a low-cost action can be very high value to somebody somewhere else.”
MacArthur “genius” award winner Corinne Dufka was a photojournalist for Reuters, covering armed conflicts in 17 nations. But inside a hotel room in Rwanda, she had an “epiphany” that compelled her to leave photojournalism at the height of her career. Dufka discusses what drives her to champion the rights of the marginalized, whether inside a psych ward in San Francisco, at a rain-soaked refugee crossing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or in a Bosnian battlefield, where Dufka herself was severely injured by a landmine. Dufka is now a researcher for Human Rights Watch.